SARNIA, ON – The Toronto Aeros, representing the Team Ontario as the host team, took home the Abby Hoffman Cup as the 2005 Esso Women’s National Hockey Champions by defeating the Brampton Thunder (Team Ontario) 2-1 in Sunday’s gold medal game. The win marks the second consecutive year that the Aeros have won the Esso Women’s National Hockey Championship, and marks the Aeros third Esso Championship in the past six years.
Team Quebec beat Team BC 4-2 on Sunday afternoon to capture the bronze medal at the 2005 Esso Nationals.
Sunday’s Gold medal game was played before a vocal crowd of 2,990, and was broadcast LIVE coast-to-coast on Hockey Canada’s official broadcaster TSN/RDS.
After almost two periods of scoreless play, Thunder forward Vicky Sunohara, a member of Canada’s National Women’s team, scored a power-play goal to put the Thunder up 1-0 after two periods. But the third period was all Toronto Aeros in scoring.
Jennifer Botterill, also a member of Canada’s National Women’s team, scored the winning goal of the game for the Aeros with 1:14 remaining in the game. Botterill received a pass from Aeros teammate Sommer West who was behind the Thunder net on the forecheck, and then put the puck past Thunder goaltender Lisa Moreland. Heather Logan scored the Aeros other goal. Both of the Toronto Aeros goals were scored shorthanded.
Moreland and Aeros goaltender Sami Jo Small each made 20 saves. Small was named player of the game for the Aeros, and Sunohara was Brampton’s player of the game.
The Aeros took the long way to the gold medal game at the 2005 Esso Nationals, finishing third in pool A. The Aeros then defeated Team New Brunswick in the quarterfinals by a convincing 4-0 score and handled Team BC 4-0 in Saturday’s semi-final to reach today’s gold medal game. Cheryl Pounder, the 2005 Tournament MVP and current National Women’s Team player, was a leader throughout the tournament for the Toronto Aeros.
The Thunder breezed through round robin play with a perfect 5-0-0 record, outscoring their opponents 36-5 going into Sunday’s gold medal game. Jayna Hefford, who was named Top Forward of the event, was strong throughout the tournament and led all scorers with 10 goals and 10 assists in six games. Teammate and fellow National Team member Vicky Sunohara was equally as explosive and finished the tournament with 15 points.
Earlier in the day, Team Quebec beat Team BC 4-2, to win the bronze medal. Down 2-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the third period, Quebec exploded for three straight unanswered goals to secure the victory. Team BC’s Jennifer Price, the Tournament’s Top Goaltender for the second straight year, was outstanding once again, stopping 57 of 61 shots for Team BC in the bronze medal game and was named BC’s Player of the game. Quebec was led by standout defenceman Angela Ruggiero who scored two of Quebec’s three goals in the final 10 minutes. Ruggiero, the Top Defenseman at the 2005 Esso Women’s Nationals, was named Quebec’s player of the game.