North Bay Ice Boltz shut out hosts Fraser Valley Phantom for trip to semi-finals
by Lucas Scott
In a tightly contested battle to conclude preliminary play, one goal proved enough as the North Bay Ice Boltz (Ontario) held the Fraser Valley Phantom (Host) off the score sheet in a 1-0 victory to claim the tournament’s last semifinal berth Thursday night at Bill Copeland Sports Centre.
A final minute push by the home squad saw Samantha Schwarz (Abbotsford, B.C.) break in through four North Bay skaters, only to be denied by the lightning-quick glove hand of Ice Boltz goalkeeper Sabrina Picard (Hearst, Ont.), the exclamation point in her 20 save shutout.
“The girls in front of me were back-checking hard, but I knew I had to make that save, almost a game-winning save,” Picard said after posting her second shutout of the tourney. “We’re going into (the semifinals) with confidence, with nothing (scored) against us in the last game.”
North Bay would score what would hold up as the winner near the 13-minute mark of the second, as Taylor Murphy (Corbeil, Ont.) took it in alone on an odd-man rush, moving left-to-right and tucking the puck in around the outstretched pad of Laticia Castillo (Surrey, B.C.).
“I had room … so I just held it and then went across, and the whole net opened up, and when it went in I thought, ‘finally!’ ” said Murphy, who was denied on an earlier break by Castillo.
The Phantom goalie made 24 saves, many of them spectacular in nature, and was rightly named host team player of the game.
Fraser Valley played its finest game of the tournament Thursday, generating a number of grade A chances, throwing everything they had at the Ontario net. The host team’s valiant effort is something that captain Hailey Smyl (Chilliwack, B.C.) and her teammates take away from the 2013 Esso Cup as a point of pride.
“I think we played our hearts out; we left it all on the ice, so there are no regrets,” Smyl said after the game of her team’s tournament run. “It was an amazing experience.”
While the hosts will now be watching from the stands, North Bay enters Friday’s semifinals as underdogs in the fourth seed.
Despite averaging just over two goals per game, Murphy likes her team’s chances against any opponent.
“We’re a team that no matter what we face, we’re going to come back hard; we never give up,” Murphy said. “At provincials, we were down two goals in the third and came back and won. We’re a team that when it comes down to it, we’ll get the job done, no matter what.”
North Bay draws top-ranked Edmonton (Pacific) in the late game Friday at 6 p.m. PT. The undefeated Edmonton Thunder skated to a dramatic shootout win in the first encounter of the two teams earlier this week.
You can follow the action on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/HC_EssoCup , watch online for free at www.hockeycanda.fasthockey.com, or even better, get yourself a rink-side seat at the Bill Copeland Sports Centre in Burnaby.
|Game Information/Renseignements sur le match|
|Game #/No. de match||15
|Arena/Aréna||Bill Copeland Sports Centre
|Date||Thurs. Apr. 25, 2013
||Time/Heure||7:30 p.m. PT
|Goals & Penalties/Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période
00:41 HST Jodi Gentile (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
10:19 HST Hailey Smyl (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
16:30 ONT Taylor McManus (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
|Second Period/Deuxième période
12:54 ONT Taylor Murphy (Corie Jacobson, Toni Maisonneuve)
08:34 HST Katie Zelmer (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
|Third Period/Troisième période
02:35 ONT Sarah Verbeek (Slashing/Coup de bâton)
06:34 HST Danika Carter (Tripping/Faire trébucher)
10:28 ONT Toni Maisonneuve (Interference/Obstruction)
|Goaltenders/Gardiennes de but|
|Shots on Goal/Tirs au but||1||2||3||Total|
|Players of the Game/Joueurse du match|