LADY WOLVES CAPTURE BRONZE MEDAL
by Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – After playing more than 80 games and travelling to every corner of the province, the Lady Wolves return to Sudbury as bronze medalists at the 2014 Esso Cup.
Sydney Walker (Val Caron, Ont.) and Victoria Pitawanakwat (Manitowaning, Ont.) each had a goal and an assist for the Lady Wolves. Karli Shell (Lively, Ont.) also scored for Sudbury.
Stephanie Pascal (Val Caron, Ont.) made 23 saves in the win.
“It was our goal to get to the Esso Cup, and to get a bronze medal is a great accomplishment for us,” said Pitawanakwat, who scored the game-winner with seven minutes remaining in the third.
Pitawanakwat won a scramble behind the net and brought the puck out front. The puck left her stick, went off defender Mallory Young’s (Caistor Centre, Ont.) skate and in.
“I don’t usually celebrate goals, but I had to celebrate that one,” said Pitawanakwat.
Jesse Bellamy (St. Catharines, Ont.) and Stephanie Ayres (Burlington, Ont.) scored for Stoney Creek. Hannah Miller (Georgetown, Ont.) stopped 23 of 26 shots in net.
This was the third high-stakes meeting in less than three weeks between the two teams, with each winning once. The winner of Round 3 would get both bragging rights for the summer and a bronze medal.
Despite disappointing setbacks in the semifinals, neither side had trouble getting up for this one.
“We were watching the (Stoney Creek and Edmonton) game last night,” said Pitawanakwat, “and when we found out we’d be playing Stoney Creek we were pumped. It’s just a rivalry that’s been there for us and always a fun game for us.”
Stoney Creek struck first, 7:19 into the first, when Bellamy scored her first of the tournament. After driving to the net and being denied by Pascal on the forehand, Bellamy backhanded the rebound around the diving goalie.
Coming out of the first intermission, the Lady Wolves wasted little time getting on the board. Jenna Gough (Capreol, Ont.) drove toward the net, then flicked a pass to a trailing Walker, who one-timed the puck from the top of the crease.
Shell’s eight goal of the Esso Cup gave Sudbury the lead 13 minutes later.
As the second period wore on it appeared the Sabres were running on fumes. The relentless pace and pressure that had been present earlier in the week was missing. Part of that can be credited to the Lady Wolves, whose familiarity with the Sabres helped neutralize its weapons.
Stoney Creek momentarily pulled even in the third when Ayers’ shot from just inside the blue line went off Pascal’s glove and in.
But 1:36 later, Sudbury retook a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.