NAUD LEADS THE WAY IN THIRD, PIONNIÈRES CLAIM SEMIFINAL SPOT
JASON LA ROSE
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Ann-Frédérik Naud had a goal and two assists, and the Pionnières de Lanaudière scored three power-play goals in the third period to earn a 3-1 win over Metro Boston Pizza on Thursday night and claim a semifinal spot at the 2018 Esso Cup.
With scenarios aplenty – and Metro, Lanaudière and the Northern Selects still in the running for the fourth final-four spot – the Pionnières leaned on their special teams to get them to Friday.
Both teams came out looking tentative, with just 13 shots registered in a scoreless first period.
Metro goaltender Brooke Bennett, as she has been through much of the week, was the story in the second period, turning away all 15 shots she faced to keep the Lanaudière offence off the scoreboard.
Her offence rewarded her with a goal before the end of the middle frame; with the hosts enjoying a two-man advantage, a bouncing puck found Hannah MacNeil at the side of the net and she swept in the 1-0 marker.
Needing goals, the Pionnières and their special teams responded with a huge third period.
Élodie St-Jacques tied it at 5:33, knocking in a third-chance rebound after a pair of saves by Bennett.
A pair of Metro penalties put the hosts down two, and Meghane Duchesne-Chalifoux hammered a slap shot through bodies and past Bennett to put the Quebec champions ahead for good.
Naud added insurance just 53 seconds later, going hard to the net and tucking the 3-1 goal around Bennett.
Lanaudière held Metro to just three shots in the decisive third period, and had a 32-20 advantage overall.
The Pionnières will return to the ice at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre for the second semifinal on Friday night, taking on the unbeaten Saskatoon Stars (7:30 p.m. AT).