Ontario Red beats Ontario Blue 8-1 to reclaim its spot at National Women’s Under-18 Championship top
by Erinn Powell
CALGARY, Alta. – Quick decision making and excellent defense helped Ontario Red claim the gold medal Sunday evening at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship, in an 8-1 decision over Ontario Blue at the Markin MacPhail Centre.
The win gives Ontario Red its eighth gold in nine tournaments, putting them back on top of the U18 nationals pedestal.
As the puck dropped, Ontario Red’s Breanne Wilson-Bennett (Markham, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) and Ontario Blue’s Lauren Lefler (Windsor, Ont./Bluewater, PWHL) faced off and scrambled to gain possession of the puck. The first 10 minutes of the game flew by, with each team matching the other shot for shot. Brooke Hartwick (Thorndale, Ont./Bluewater, PWHL) opened the scoring early in the period with assistance from Taytum Clairmont (Waterloo, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) and Nadine Edney (Mississauga, Ont./ Mississauga, PWHL) to give Ontario Red a 1-0 lead.
Ontario Blue quickly stacked on the penalties for roughing, interference and body contact, giving Ontario Red an almost five minute two-man advantage. With five seconds to go in the first period, Edney nailed in a power-play goal assisted by Clairmont, making the score 2-0 for Ontario Red at the end of the first.
In the second period, Edney, Rebecca Leslie (Ottawa, Ont./Ottawa, PWHL) and Lauren Wildfang (Waterdown, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) scored three more goals for Ontario Red. With 30 seconds to go in the second, Kennedy Marchment (Courtice, Ont./Durham West, PWHL) blasted in a goal for Ontario Blue, assisted by Josiane Pozzebon (Bourget, Ont./Nepean, PWHL), making the score 5-1 in favour of Ontario Red at the end of the middle frame.
Clairmont kicked off the third period with an unassisted short-handed goal for Ontario Red, making the score 6-1. Clairmont and Mackenzie MacNeil (Richmond Hill, Ont./Toronto, PWHL) scored two more goals for Ontario Red for the final 8-1 score. With six minutes to go in the game, Ontario Blue took control of Ontario Red’s end, gaining several powerful shots on net. But it just wasn’t enough to stop Ontario Red from continuing to dominate the scoreboard. Final shots on net were 31 total for Ontario Red and 27 over three periods for Ontario Blue.
“We just took it step by step, focusing on each game,” Clairmont said after the game. “We played amazing and gave it our all.”
Kassidy Sauvé (Whitby, Ont./Whitby, PWHL) won Player of the Game for Ontario Red and Marchment took home the same title for Ontario Blue.
The gold medal game airs at 8 p.m. MT / 10 p.m. ET on TSN2, official broadcasters of Hockey Canada. For game stories, stats and more from this year’s National Women’s Under-18 Championship, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca/nwu18.