WILLAN SCORES LONE GOAL, ST. ALBERT TO PLAY FOR ESSO GOLD
MORDEN, Man. – When Madison Willan scored just 57 seconds into the first period, Friday afternoon, no one thought that would stand up as the game winner in the first semifinal at the 2017 Esso Cup.
But thanks to that goal and a 20-save shutout from Camryn Drever, the St. Albert Slash beat the Durham West Lightning 1-0 and will play for Canada's National Female Midget Championship.
Less than a minute into the opening frame, Willan circled deep into the Lightning zone, dropping below the goal-line. The winger then swung through the blue paint, went around Lightning goaltender Kaitlyn Evelyn, and slid the puck in for the 1-0 lead.
The Slash defence and Drever then took over and shut down the Lightning offense, making Willan’s goal the only one they would need.
“They were pressuring us, they were giving us frustration because they wouldn’t let us do our thing in moving the puck and wheeling around,” said Slash head coach, Dan Auchenberg. “But it’s trying to keep [the girls] calm and trying to believe in what their process is.”
“We had a few chances but the other team played really well and we just had to battle through with a one-goal lead and we protected our goalie and we stayed through it the whole way,” Willan said.
St. Albert will play the winner of Pembina Valley and Triolet for the Esso Cup, while Durham West also waits on its opponent for the bronze medal game.
“It’s disappointing that we couldn’t be in the finals, but at least we have the bronze game and hopefully we bring home some medals,” said Kate Gallant, who earlier Friday was awarded the Top Scorer and Most Sportsmanlike Player awards.
“We’re going to play the same type of game we did today and put forth that effort tomorrow and if lady luck is on our side and we play our game, I think we’ll be able to bring home a medal,” said Pat Teggart, Durham West head coach.
The bronze medal game will start at 1 p.m. CT on Saturday, with the gold medal game scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CT. The final will be carried across the TSN network.