ONTARIO RED ADVANCES TO FIFTH-STRAIGHT GOLD MEDAL GAME
MORDEN, Man. – Taylor Lum (Etobicoke, Ont.) scored the dramatic go-ahead goal with 3:15 remaining in the third period and added an empty-net goal to lift Ontario Red to a 4-2 semifinal win over Quebec on Friday at the 2019 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
Ontario Red has a chance to capture its fifth-straight gold medal when it faces off against Saskatchewan on Saturday afternoon in Winkler, Man. (4 p.m. CT/2 p.m. PT, TSN).
After seeing Olivia Wallin (Oakville, Ont.) take command of the puck, Lum made a beeline to the net. Wallin’s hard centring pass on an odd-man break connected with Lum, who beat Quebec netminder Ève Gascon (Terrebonne, Que.) with a shot under her arm.
She evaporated any chance at a Quebec equalizer with her empty-net dagger with just 16 seconds left on the clock.
The late-game dramatics were set up by dueling tallies earlier in the third period.
After her team could not convert on its first three power-play attempts, Nicole Gosling (London, Ont.) made sure the fourth advantage for Ontario Red would not go amiss by driving a cannon shot from the top of the blue-line past a screened Gascon, who made 31 saves in the game, to give Ontario a 2-1 lead just over three minutes into the third.
Maya Labad (Mascouche, Ont.) wiped out the lead and paved the way for Lum’s moment with a one-timer to tie the game on a power play with just over seven minutes to play. A high-tempo brand of hockey was produced by the rival provinces in the opening period as Ontario Red and Quebec took turns carrying the flow of play. Ontario Red did hold the upper hand at even strength, bottling the Quebec skaters in their zone for a couple of lengthy sequences.
Quebec was at its best in the initial frame on the power play. Even though its five-player unit could not produce a tally, confident puck movement forced Michelle Pasiechnyk (Ottawa, Ont.), who finished with 24 stops, into making three challenging pad saves.
Near the 10-minute mark, Kendall Cooper (Burlington, Ont.) came the closest to breaking the scoreless draw in the opening stanza as her seemingly harmless wrist shot from the blue-line hit the cross bar.
Stifling, defensive hockey dominated the first half of the second period – the two sides combined for only five shots in the first 10 minutes – but the second half saw the ice open up to some on-the-fly chances.
Quebec quickly capitalized on the extra real estate by scoring the ice-breaking goal with 8:32 left on the clock. Sprung by a crisp outlet pass from Marianne Picard (Repentigny, Que.), Emilie Lussier (Ste-Martine) charged up the ice, skated through a defender and beat Pasiechnyk with a dangle to the forehand.
Ontario Red tied the game less than five minutes later as Kira Juodikis (Lasalle, Ont.) smacked the puck past Gascon from the slot after Grace Nelles’ (St. Ann’s, Ont.) relentless checking forced a defender to yield the puck to her.