CALGARY -- Jennifer Botterill and Alison Ramsley scored goals in 12-second span of the third period on Saturday to lift Alberta to a 2-1 victory over Quebec and a berth in the gold-medal game of the 1998 Esso Women's National Championship.
Botterill deflected a shot from the blueline by Kelly Bechard into the net during an Alberta power play, and Ramsley scored off the ensuing centre-ice face-off. This marks the first time that the Calgary Oval X-Treme, the provincial champion, will represent Alberta in the final game of the women's National Championship. An Alberta-based team -- the Edmonton Chimos -- won the 1997 Esso Women's Nationals.
Ontario, which hasn't won the tournament since 1993, advanced to Sunday's final with a 3-0 victory over the Host Team, the defending champion Chimos. Team Quebec will play the Chimos on Sunday at 1:30 MST in the bronze medal game that will determine third and fourth places.
Amanda Benoit, a 20-year-old centre from Welland, provided the only goal Ontario would against the Chimos need when she scored at 2:52 of the opening period. Benoit also fed Cassie Campbell, who scored a crucial insurance goal just six seconds into the third period of a tight-checking game. Veteran defenceman Geraldine Heaney completed the scoring when she slid the puck the length of the ice into a vacated Chimos' net with just two seconds remaining in the game. The Chimos had pulled their goaltender for a sixth attacker.
The Quebec-Alberta game was another closely contested game. Through the first two periods, Caroline Ouellette of Montreal had scored the only goal in the game, played in front of about 500 spectators at Father David Bauer Arena.
For the Chimos, the playoff game was their fifth in less than 48 hours, as the tournament format had the clubs playing twice each on Thursday and Friday in round-robin play. Ontario and Quebec received quarterfinal byes for finishing first in their respective pools, but the Chimos had to play a morning game on Saturday to qualify for the semifinal matchup.
The Chimos, led by Judy Diduck's goal and two assists, had advanced to play Ontario by defeating Saskatchewan 5-1.
As with the Chimos, Team Alberta, represented by the Calgary Oval X-Treme team, had to qualify for the semifinal, doing so by knocking off New Brunswick 6-2 in a quarterfinal game. Dana Antal paced Alberta in that game, with a pair of goals , while Alison Ramsley, Nicole Beare, Hayley Wickenheiser and Lynda Robinson added singles.
Saskatchewan will play New Brunswick on Sunday to determine fifth and sixth place in the tournament.
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