SLASH ATTAIN DYNASTY STATUS WITH THIRD CONSECUTIVE ESSO CUP
SUDBURY, Ont. – The three-peat is complete. Mackenzie Kordic scored twice, and the St. Albert Slash defeated the Sudbury Lady Wolves 4-1 in the gold medal game Saturday to win their third-consecutive Esso Cup championship.
The Slash are the first team to win any of Hockey Canada’s club-team championships (Esso Cup, TELUS Cup, National Junior A Championship, Allan Cup) since the Warroad Lakers went back-to-back-to-back at the Allan Cup from 1994-96.
Kordic scored the game-winning goal midway through the second period, and added the insurance marker with just over five minutes remaining in the final frame.
Taylor Anker and Dayle Ross also lit the lamp for the Slash, and Isabelle Lajoie notched two assists.
Taylor Scott scored the lone goal for the Lady Wolves.
Brianna Sank delivered a terrific 31-save performance to earn the win; Mireille Kingsley stopped 31 of 34 shots in defeat.
The first period was a story of two halves: the first 10 minutes were a chess match as the suffocating defensive style that both clubs employed made it difficult for any shots to get through to the net, while the back half was a scoring-chance derby at both ends of the ice.
Scott brought over 1,000 rollicking Lady Wolves fans to their feet for the first time by scoring the opening goal with 2:46 left in the first period. Madison Laberge set her up with a centring pass out of the corner, and Scott proceeded to beat Sank from the slot inside the right post.
St. Albert knotted the game at 2:38 of the second as Anker replied with a goal from the slot of her own.
The Slash seized the golden goal just under nine minutes later, at 11:26, thanks to a highlight-reel-worthy toe-drag snipe through a screen from Kordic.
Sudbury nearly answered with the tying goal multiple times late in the period as they got behind the Slash defence to force Sank to make several show-stopping saves to preserve the one-goal edge heading into the second intermission.
While the Lady Wolves had their chances in the third period, the championship prowess of the Slash took over as their strong defensive structure kept them steadily humming towards victory.
Kordic buried a rebound in front of the crease during a power play to make the score 3-1, and Ross ignited the celebrations with an empty-net goal with 39 seconds remaining on the clock.