MORDEN, Man. – Arielle Gagné capitalized on a power play early in the first period and added an assist in the third to lead the Harfangs du Triolet to a 4-1 victory over the Durham West Lightning in the opening game of the 2017 Esso Cup on Sunday afternoon.
The Harfangs came out with all the momentum, forcing a penalty just 2:34 into the opening frame. Laurie Dumont and Melianne Reynolds worked the puck around to Gagné, who beat Lightning goaltender Victoria Kelaiditis for a 1-0 lead. Kelaiditis held off the Harfangs for the rest of the period though, making 17 saves in the first.
In the second period, the teams exchanged odd-man rushes in the opening minute, but both Kelaiditis and Triolet netminder Mélyann Daigneault stood tall in net.
Durham West increased its pace in the middle frame, which resulted in a Kate Gallant goal at 11:14. The Lightning carried the puck out of the corner into the crease, where Gallant was able to stuff it past Daigneault to even the game at 1-1.
But just over a minute later, the Harfangs regained the lead courtesy of Chloé Gendreau. The quick response slowed the Lightning and the score would stay at 2-1 heading into the third.
The intermission proved to be more beneficial for Triolet, which added an insurance marker 3:56 into the third; Jade Pomerleau-Daigle was on the doorstep and jammed a loose puck past Kelaiditis for a 3-1 lead.
Just minutes later, Chavonne Truter had a chance to get the Lightning back within one, but ran out of room on a partial break, allowing Daigneault to easily smother the puck. Brianna Brooks and Sarah Brooks came at Daigneault next on a two-on-one, but the Harfangs goaltender played the shooter the whole way, giving them nothing to work with.
Nelly Lapointe added a fourth goal for Triolet with just 1:27 left in the third period, to cap the scoring.
Triolet will look to continue its winning ways in a 12 p.m. CT match-up Monday against the Atlantic Region champion Mid-Isle Wildcats, while Durham West will try to get into the win column when it meets the Prince Albert Bears at 3:30 p.m. CT.