PIONNIÈRES SURVIVE LATE PUSH, WIN ESSO BRONZE
JASON LA ROSE
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Mégane Quirion and Ann Sophie Guay scored goals in the first 13 minutes and Sarah Vanier made them stand up with a 30-save performance, leading the Pionnières de Lanaudière to the bronze medal at the 2018 Esso Cup with a 2-1 win over the Brampton Canadettes on Saturday.
It’s the fourth time in its last four appearances that a Quebec team has left Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, while Ontario missed the podium for the first time in the tournament’s 10-year history.
Brampton outshot the Pionnières 9-6 in the first period, but found itself down two after 20 minutes.
Quirion made it 1-0 just past the nine-minute mark; she played give-and-go with Ann-Frédérik Naud, who stretched around a sprawling Canadette to set up a tap-in for Quirion.
Guay doubled the lead almost four minutes later when her harmless looking wrist shot from the point hit a Brampton stick in the high slot and snuck under the arm of goaltender Hannah Szczepanowski.
That would be all the offence Vanier needed; she stopped all 18 shots she faced through two periods and added 12 more in the third.
The Canadettes threw everything they had at the Lanaudière net in the final frame, and finally pulled within one when Paige Whaley snuck a shot five-hole on Vanier with Szczepankowski on the bench and 68 seconds left.
But they would get no closer, and the Pionnières avenged their 8-2 prelim loss to the Canadettes.