SASKATOON WINS BATTLE OF SASKATCHEWAN
Weyburn, Sask. – Anna Leschyshyn (Saskatoon, Sask.) and Abby Shirley (Deslisle, Sask.) scored the goals and Emma Johnson (Saskatoon, Sask.) earned the shutout as the Saskatoon Stars beat the Weyburn Gold Wings in the Battle of Saskatchewan Sunday night at the 2016 Esso Cup.
A near-capacity crowd at Crescent Point Place, the Gold Wings’ home rink, came to watch the latest chapter written by the two teams.
With less than a minute to play in the second, Leschyshyn’s shot as she moved through the slot was stopped by Chantal Burke (Saskatoon, Sask.), but she dove for the rebound and put it past the goaltender’s outstretched glove.
Shirley iced it with just over three minutes to play in the third. Grace Shirley (Saskatoon, Sask.) drove to the net, her shot stopped by Burke but redirected to Abby Shirley, who put home the rebound.
Weyburn came into the night looking for a little payback. Just over a month ago the Stars put a hold on the Gold Wings’ season, taking them out in four games in the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League semifinals. Other than a five-goal Saskatoon win in Game 1, the series was as tight as could be, with each team winning a game in double overtime and the Stars clinching with a 2-0 win.
The playoffs simply built on a trend that developed during the regular season. When the teams meet, goals are hard to come by. They combined for 12 goals in four games, with the Stars taking the regular season series 3-1.
In the early going, plenty of scoring appeared to be a possibility, with two Saskatoon turnovers in the first five minutes leading to quality chances, which Johnson turned aside. But after a closely played opening period, the Stars controlled more of the play and registered twice as many shots on net than the Gold Wings over the final 40 minutes.
Burke made 38 saves in the loss, many of the highlight-reel variety, to keep her outshot team close until the end.
Saskatoon is back on the ice Monday afternoon (3:30 p.m. MT) to take on another opening day winner, the Express du Richelieu. Weyburn closes out the day against Brantford (7 p.m. MT), in a battle between two teams looking to avoid 0-2 starts.