SLASH EXPLODE ON OFFENCE, BLANK METRO TO STAY PERFECT
JASON LA ROSE
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Vanessa Verbitsky and Tyra Meropoulis led the way with two goals apiece, and the St. Albert Slash pulled away in the final 40 minutes to earn an 8-0 win over Metro Boston Pizza to finish play Monday at the 2018 Esso Cup.
The Slash scored seven unanswered goals in the last two periods to stay perfect, and post their third shutout in four games, dating back to their run to the national championship last year.
Verbitsky finished with two goals and an assist, Alexis Butz and McKenzie Hewett had a goal and a helper each, and Taylor Anker chipped in with three assists.
Metro goaltender Kaelyn Budden was the story early on, making 15 saves in the first period, but the 16th shot came off the stick of Verbitsky, who knocked in the 1-0 goal with just 8.6 seconds left in the opening frame.
Anker did the work on the second goal, going coast to coast before finding Butz in front just past the three-minute mark of the second period, and Meropoulis deposited her own rebound at 8:55 to make it 3-0.
Verbitsky notched her second of the game before the middle stanza was done, rifling a quick shot off the back crossbar and out to send the Pacific champions to the dressing room up by four.
The third period was all St. Albert, as it outshot Metro 18-4.
A little bit of tournament history extended the lead to six; Isabelle Lajoie beat Budden on a one-timer in the slot at 4:46 of the third, and Hewett went to the far side right off the ensuing face-off, making it two goals in seven seconds.
That beat the previous record of 12 seconds, set by the Fraser Valley Phantom in 2012.
The Hewett goal spelled the end for Budden, who allowed six goals on 34 shots before giving way to Brooke Bennett.
Meropoulis converted the St. Albert touchdown with her second of the game at 7:21, batting in a bouncing puck in close, before Mackenzie Butz got a shot through traffic and past Bennett to finish the scoring with four minutes left.
Next up for the Slash is a showdown with fellow unbeaten Saskatoon on Tuesday afternoon (3:30 p.m. AT), right before Metro takes on the Brampton Canadettes (7 p.m. AT).