AYRES, MERRICK LEAD SABRES TO OPENING WIN
By Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – In a word: dominant.
Stephanie Ayers (Burlington, Ont.) and Claire Merrick (Oakville, Ont.) each scored twice and 16 players found their way onto the score sheet as the Stoney Creek Sabres overwhelmed the Moncton Rockets 8-1on Sunday night.
Theresa Woodland (Hamilton, Ont.), Jessica Brown (Ancaster, Ont.), Victoria Klimek (Orangeville, Ont.) and Sarah Nelles (St. Anns, Ont.) also scored for the Sabres.
Amanda Butterfield (Grimsby, Ont.) and Natasha Costello (Guelph, Ont.) added two assists a piece.
Hayley Hallihan (Miramichi, N.B.) scored the lone goal for Moncton.
Moncton was on its heels right from puck drop, as the faster Sabres continually swarmed the Rockets’ net. Alexa Vasko (St. Catharines, Ont.) found Merrick out front from behind the net eight minutes in. Almost five minutes later, Emily Calligan (Hannon, Ont.) put the puck on Woodland’s tape, where it was flicked into the back of the net. Ninety seconds later Brown poked the puck out of a scramble into the back of the net.
Klimek buried the rebound off of Summer Belanco’s (Brantford, Ont.) point shot to cap the scoring in the first.
So just how dominant were the host Sabres in the opening frame? The Rockets didn’t register its first shot on net until the game was almost 18 minutes old.
Faith Steeves (Peticodiac, N.B.) stepped out of the penalty box and broke in alone on Sabres keeper Hannah Miller (Georgetown, Ont.). Despite being inactive for most of the first, Miller stoned Steeves with a right pad save.
It was much of the same in the second. Only by the grace of the goal post did Stoney Creek not go up five in the opening minutes, as Klimek found only iron on a breakaway.
Moncton finally got on the board four minutes in on the power play. Hallihan fought off her defender and sent a beautiful backhand top corner over Miller’s outstretched glove.
The four-goal lead was restored less than two minutes later, when Ayers netted her first on a wrist shot from the slot.
Nelles, a member of the Bantam Sabres playing only her second game with the Midget team, took a pass from Summer Belanco and scored her first goal with the big club to make it 6-1.
“It was a rush,” said Nelles. “I’m glad Jesse (Bellamy) saw me. I give credit to Jesse and Claire (Merrick for setting things up).”
Ayres and Merrick each scored their second goals of the night in the third to round out the scoring.
Miller was solid when called upon, stopping 13 of 14 shots she faced.
Brianne Waterman (Memramcook, N.B.) and Jordan Carrier (Moncton, N.B.) combined to stop 42 of 50 shots for Moncton.