QUEBEC DEFEATS MANITOBA TO CLOSE PRELIMS
MORDEN, Man. – Ann-Frédérik Naud (St-Félix-de-Valois, Que.) scored a goal and an assist to propel Quebec to a 4-1 win over Manitoba on Thursday in the closing game of preliminary-round action of the 2019 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
Emilie Lussier (Ste-Martine, Que.), Gabrielle Santerre (St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.) and Brianna Ware (Pointe-Claire, Que.) also secured markers for Quebec, which clinched second place in Group B to earn a semifinal date with Ontario Red on Friday in Morden (5 p.m. CT).
Kylie Lesuk (Oakbank, Man.) responded with the lone goal for winless Manitoba, which will try and end its tournament on a winning note in the seventh-place game against Team Atlantic on Friday in Winkler (1 p.m. CT).
Ève Gascon (Terrebonne, Que.) stopped all seven shots she faced in the first before ceding the Quebec goaltending torch to Julia Minotti (Laval, Que.), who made 17 stops on 18 attempts the rest of the way.
Quebec’s resolve to nab the final available playoff spot was palpable from the first puck drop. Just 3:17 in, Lussier stabbed the puck into the Manitoba cage past Natalie Williamson (Brandon, Man.), who finished the night with 22 saves.
Santerre scored the eventual winner just over 13 minutes later, beating Williamson with a forehand deke after intercepting the puck off an errant Manitoba clearing attempt.
Lesuk gave the home team life with a power-play goal at 3:41 as her wrist shot from the high slot ricocheted off a couple of legs into the back of the net.
Despite a total of seven man-advantage attempts and a slight edge in shots over the last 40 minutes, Manitoba could not level the contest.
Ware and Naud put the game out of reach with goals 1:56 apart late in the third period; Ware beat Williamson on a partial breakaway and Naud one-touched a backdoor pass from Laurence Frenette (Broisbrand, Que.) into the Manitoba cage.