POWER PLAY POWERS ICE CATS TO GOLD MEDAL GAME
WEYBURN, Sask. – The Brantford Ice Cats scored three times on the power play to beat the Saskatoon Stars 4-0 and advance to the gold medal game of the 2016 Esso Cup.
Emily Rickwood (Brantford, Ont.), Paige Cohoon (St. George, Ont.) and Lauren Martin (Cambridge, Ont.) all scored on the man-advantage, with Brooklyn Gemmill (Cambridge, Ont.) adding an even-strength goal.
Emma Verbruggen (Ancaster, Ont.) made 27 saves for the shutout.
Coming in the Ice Cats power play was operating at a less than pedestrian 7.7 percent; the team had scored only twice in 26 chances with the extra skater. It converted on three of its first four chances today.
A slashing call on Danielle Girolami (Saskatoon, Sask.) late in the first period gave Brantford its first power play opportunity of the game. With only nine seconds left on the man-advantage – and only seven seconds left in the period –Rickwood’s point shot beat Emma Johnson (Saskatoon, Sask.) low glove side.
Brantford doubled its lead early in the second. Thirty seconds in Willow Slobodzian (Clavet, Sask.) took a tripping penalty. She didn’t sit for long. Only 26 seconds into the Ice Cats’ power play, Cohoon blasted a shot from high in the face-off circle through a double screen, sending the puck screaming over Johnson’s glove.
The Ice Cats scored their third power play goal just past the midway mark of the period. Persistent pressure down low ended with Martin putting the puck in from the doorstep.
Not even two minutes later the lead grew to 4-0, when Gemmill deflected a shot in front.
Scoring had been Brantford’s strength all week; the team had the most goals during the preliminary round. As much as today’s win was about the offence and the work of its special teams, Brantford’s defence was equally important. The Stars had been shut out only one time all season.
Verbruggen was outstanding in net. In the first period, she stopped Abby Shirley (Deslisle, Sask.) with a diving glove save, and in the third several quick kick saves continued to keep the Stars off the board.