Stoney Creek, Ont.
GOLD WINGS GO TO 2-0
By Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – On paper it had the makings of a mismatch. The Weyburn Gold Wings, winners of the West Region, were playing its second Esso Cup game ever; the Edmonton Thunder, the Pacific-Alberta champions, their 36th.
In the end, the underdogs prevailed.
Cassidy Pirlot (Wauchope, Sask.) had a goal and two assists, while Bailee Bourassa (Weyburn, Sask.) and Jenica Whitrow (Yellow Grass, Sask.) a goal and an assist apiece to lead the Gold Wings past the Thunder 4-2 on Monday afternoon.
The line of Pirlot, Bourassa and Whitrow finished with eight points.
“We were moving the puck well with one another,” Bourassa said. “We knew where each other were on the ice and were able to put pucks in the net.”
After a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the deadlock was broken just past the halfway point of the second. Whitrow – the hero of Weyburn’s opening day win over the Sudbury Lady Wolves – brought the puck out from the corner and slide a backhand five-hole on Edmonton goalie Tracie Kikuchi (Edmonton, Alta.).
Edmonton equalized minutes later when Weyburn got into penalty trouble. With Tessa Wilson (Mazenod, Sask.) serving a double minor and Kassidy Sjostrand (Midale, Sask.) a minor, the Thunder went to work on an extended power play. Jessica Healey (Edmonton, Alta.) was allowed to walk in from the blue line; her wrist shot went off Jane Kish’s (Weyburn, Sask.) glove and in.
Things finally opened up more in the third. Kish stoned Alexandra Poznikoff (Edmonton, Alta.) just outside the crease, minutes after denying a streaking Cayle Dillon (Edmonton, Alta.) at the doorstep.
Bourassa soon rewarded her tender’s efforts, on a goal eerily similar to Whitrow’s.
“I brought it out from the corner, pulled it around the defender and then backhanded it five-hole,” Bourassa said.
Weyburn extended its lead on a two-on-one, when Pirlot put home a Whitrow rebound.
Edmonton cut the deficit back to one when Alexandra Poznikoff (Edmonton, Alta.) buried a rebound on the doorstep.
But the underdogs were not to be denied. Caitlin Dempsey (Heward, Sask.) sent a wrist shot high into the twine with less than three minutes to go to seal the win for the Gold Wings.
Kish picked up her second win in as many starts, stopping 18 of 20 shots.
Kikuchi faced 23 shots and took the loss in the Thunder net.