STONEY CREEK WINS BATTLE OF ONTARIO
By: Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – Nine days ago the Sudbury Lady Wolves defeated the Stoney Creek Sabres for the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association championship.
On Tuesday night the Sabres exacted a little revenge.
Alexa Vasko’s (St. Catharines, Ont.) shorthanded goal with 26 seconds left in the second proved to be the difference, as the host team improved to 3-0 at this year’s Esso Cup, joining the Weyburn Gold Wings atop the leaderboard.
Emily Calligan (Hannon, Ont.) had the other Stoney Creek goal.
Karli Shell (Lively, Ont.) scored the lone marker for Sudbury.
Hannah Miller (Georgetown, Ont.) picked up her second win of the tournament. Stephanie Pascal (Val Caron, Ont.) took the loss.
After Olympic champions Becky Kellar and Laura Fortino (herself a former Sabre) helped drop the ceremonial first puck, the teams took to the ice and set a blistering pace for the first 10 minutes.
You couldn’t help but feel that Sudbury felt extra motivated tonight. A tweet – #redemption – sent out by defenseman Sarah Jarome (Stoney Creek, Ont.) earlier in the day hinted as much.
“We knew we had to get on them and we didn’t want to lose to them ever again,” Vasko confirmed after the game.
Stoney Creek would get on the board first.
With the ice still wet for the start of the second period, Stoney Creek brought the fans not still in line at the concession stands to their feet. With her teammates creating traffic in front of the crease, Kayla Vespa (Stoney Creek, Ont.) threw the puck on net. Callligan pounced on the loose puck.
It would take eight minutes for Sudbury to equalize. After winning the face-off back to Kennedy Lanktree (Mindemoya, Ont.), Shell drove to the net and positioned herself perfectly for the rebound on the point shot.
The Lady Wolves continued to create the best scoring chances, twice being turned away by the crossbar in the second half of the period. When Sabres captain Mallory Young (Caistor Centre, Ont.) was called for tripping with 63 seconds to go in the second, it looked like Sudbury had the extra advantage it needed.
Instead, it was Vasko picking up a deflected clearing attempt by the Sabres’ penalty kill, driving in alone and beating Pascal high.
Stoney Creek came close to adding an insurance marker in the third, when Claire Merrick (Oakville, Ont.) beat Pascal from the slot. However, the goal was waved off and Victoria Klimek (Orangeville, Ont.) sent to the penalty box for goalie interference.
With the win the host team once again sent its fans home happy. And the crowd’s vocal support hasn’t gone unnoticed by the players.
“We can see and hear them cheering,” said Vasko, “and it’s just awesome to have that behind us to carry us through this journey.”