WILLAN SCORES IN OT, SENDS SLASH BACK TO ESSO CUP FINAL
SUDBURY, Ont. – Madison Willan was ‘Captain Clutch,’ scoring 2:46 into overtime on Friday to lift the St. Albert Slash to a 2-1 victory over the Saskatoon Stars, and into the gold medal game at the Esso Cup for the third year in a row.
It is the second year in a row the Slash have ended the Stars’ national championship hopes; last year it was a 2-1 win in the final, this year by the same score one game earlier.
St. Albert will take on either the Sudbury Lady Wolves or Stoney Creek Sabres in the final on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, TSN2). Saskatoon will play the loser of the Sudbury-Stoney Creek semifinal for bronze (12 p.m. ET).
Willan, a member of both title-winning teams for the Slash, ended it in the extra period by stepping into a shot from the high slot and wiring the puck over a sprawling Arden Kliewer after the Saskatoon goaltender made a couple of big saves in a wild scramble.
Action on the ice in the first two periods made a loud and clear statement that the two teams know each other very well. The familiarity produced a game where the offensive talent on both clubs did not have the daylight to create quality scoring opportunities.
Dayle Ross finally opened the scoring for the Slash 30 seconds into the third period with a short-side wrist shot from the right corner that beat Kliewer over her shoulder, only for Kaitlin Jockims to keep the Stars’ hopes alive by drilling in a shot from the slot with just 94 seconds remaining.
Brianna Sank starred in the victory with 22 saves, which included 12 in a first period controlled by the Stars.
Kliewer was solid in defeat, making 26 saves on 28 shots.