HEALEY’S HIGHLIGHT REEL GOAL WINS IT FOR THUNDER
By Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – It took almost 56 minutes for the first – and only – goal of the game, but it was well worth the wait.
Jessica Healey (Edmonton, Alta.) skated from her own zone, through the neutral zone and around a team of defenders until the Edmonton Thunder defenceman found herself behind the Fraser Valley Phantom net. After fighting her way through another set of defenders and reaching the left goal line, she was finally tripped up.
On her way to the ice she swung at the puck and beat Fraser Valley goalie Valencia Yardonov (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) short side.
Down, but definitely not out.
“I just skated behind the net and kind of threw it on net,” said Healey, shrugging. “I guess it went in.”
Healey wasn’t trying to score on the rush, but just to prolong play in the offensive zone long enough for her changing teammates to catch up.
While the score sheet said the goal was unassisted, Healey disagrees.
“Rex [Alix Reiter (Edmonton, Alta.)] chipped it to me, and I got to give a plug to her.”
The Thunder and Phantom were the highest scoring teams in their respective leagues this season. The lack of goals in the first was not from lack of good chances. Amy Boucher (Edmonton, Alta.) hit the post at one end. At the other end, only the quick reflexes of Tracie Kikuchi (Edmonton, Alta.) kept the puck from going any farther than the goal line, as Phantom players swarmed the net. Fraser Valley had two good chances late, but Michelle Toor (Burnaby, B.C.) and Shannon Morris-Reade (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) both sent open shots over the net.
In the second 20, it was Edmonton creating the better scoring chances. First, forward Nicole Gorda (Edmonton, Alta.) shot wide from point blank range. A few minutes later, linemate Alexandra Poznikoff (Edmonton, Alta.) skated through a trio of defenders, but couldn’t beat the fourth one, goalie Valencia Yordanov (Port Coquitlam, B.C.).
Edmonton goalie Tracie Kikuchi (Edmonton, Alta.) made 34 saves for the win.
Yordanov turned aside 31 shots in the Fraser Valley net.