HOST SABRES SHUT OUT PHANTOM
By Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – In a matchup between the last two Esso Cup hosts, it was this year’s home team coming out on top Monday night.
Amanda Butterfield (Grimsby, Ont.), Natasha Costello (Guelph, Ont.) and Victoria Klimek (Orangeville, Ont.) each had a goal and an assist to pace the Stoney Creek Sabres to a 3-0 win over the Fraser Valley Phantom.
Serena D’Angelo (Stoney Creek, Ont.) made 18 saves to earn the shutout in her first Esso Cup start.
After a decisive opening night win over the Moncton Rockets, the Sabres expected a tougher fight against the Phantom, who were looking to rebound from a tough late-game loss to the Edmonton Thunder on Sunday.
The Sabres are the fastest team here, but early on the Phantom were up to the challenge of keeping up. The team just wasn’t able to generate enough quality scoring chances, and playing any time shorthanded didn’t help the cause.
Stoney Creek opened the scoring on the power play seven minutes into the first. With the Phantom penalty kill giving her plenty of space, Butterfield took a few strides in from the blue line and fired a wrist shot that beat goalie Valencia Yordanov (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) clean.
Stoney Creek doubled its lead five minutes into the second on another player advantage. The power plan unit cycled the puck down low before working it around the zone. Stephanie Ayers (Burlington, Ont.) fired a shot that was redirected in front by Costello. It was the five-foot forward’s second marker of the tournament.
“I don’t look at it as everyone is bigger than me,” she said. “I just say that I’m their size. I don’t really care how small I am; I’ll push through everyone to show that I’m able to play at their level, too.”
Good hand-eye coordination also helps negate any size disadvantage. It’s a skill Costello has honed on the road outside her house.
“My dad passes to me from behind the net and I’ll just keep tipping them from corner to corner,” she said.
Klimek sealed the deal late in the third. Her attempted pass to Claire Merrick (Oakville, Ont.) went off Phantom forward Courtney Vorster (Richmond, B.C.) and past a helpless Yordanov.
Yordanov was solid in the Fraser Valley net, making 28 saves in her second hard-luck loss of the tournament.