GOLD WINGS SNEAK BY ROCKETS
by Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – Madison Colbow (Estevan, Sask.), Whitney Thorp (Regina, Sask.) and Bailee Bourassa (Weyburn, Sask.) scored the goals, Jane Kish (Weyburn, Sask.) supplied the big saves and the Weyburn Gold Wings defeated the Moncton Rockets 3-2 on Thursday afternoon at the Esso Cup.
The win improved Weyburn’s record to 4-1, good for second place among the six teams.
Hayley Hallihan (Miramichi, N.B.) and Samantha Woodworth (Hillsborough, N.B.) scored for Moncton, which fell to 1-4 and out of the playoff picture. Brianne Waterman (Memramcook, N.B.) turned aside 20 shots for the Rockets.
Coming into the day’s middle match-up, Moncton knew it needed to earn at least a point to have any chance at playing past today. And it got the start it needed.
Just over eight minutes in, Hallihan’s shot from in close hit Kish high, then continued in the air before falling behind Kish and in.
Weyburn pulled even two minutes later, when Colbow sent a rocket from the hash marks over Waterman’s far shoulder.
Thorp’s low slap shot from the face-off circle found the low post at 14:45.
Penalty trouble by the Gold Wings provided the Rockets an opening in the second. Given 30 seconds of five-on-three time, Moncton took only 10 seconds to pull even. Faith Steeves’ (Peticodiac, N.B.) centering pass from the goal line went off Woodworth and in.
Again, though, Weyburn responded quickly to a Moncton marker.
Bourassa scored her team-leading fourth goal by dragging the puck away from her defender and beating Waterman with a backhand.
Moncton was able to create few scoring chances the rest of the way.
“I think we kept them to the outside well,” Thorp said. “And Jane stood on her head for us. She’s always got our back when we don’t get them to the outside.”
Moncton’s best chance at tying things up – and securing that important point – came with eight minutes to play, when Caitlin Dempsey (Heward, Sask.) was sent off for four minutes for head contact.
Weyburn didn’t make it easy on itself in closing out the win, as Cassidy Pirlot (Wauchope, Sask.) got called for boarding with Dempsey still in the box.
Weyburn now plays Sudbury in the semifinals on Friday. Thorpe says that the players know that four wins in five games – including an earlier 2-1 win over the Lady Wolves – guarantees them nothing.