Stoney Creek, Ont.
STEEVES BREAKS AWAY FOR THREE, LEADS MONCTON TO FIRST WIN
by Wendy Graves
STONEY CREEK, Ont. – Faith Steeves (Peticodiac, N.B.) scored three times on the breakaway and Brooke Murphy (Riverview, N.B.) had two goals of her own, as the Moncton Rockets found its way into the win column with a 5-4 victory over the Edmonton Thunder on Tuesday at the Esso Cup.
Sarah Johnson (Moncton, N.B.) and Isabelle Letourneau (Moncton, N.B.) both added two assists.
Alexandra Poznikoff (Edmonton, Alta.) led the Thunder with two goals and an assist, while Nicole Gorda (Edmonton, Alta.) had a goal and two assists.
It had been a rough start to the Esso Cup for the Rockets. The team had dropped its first two games by a combined 13-2 and was facing a must-win situation to have any hope of being around for Friday’s semifinals.
“We were really focused, but there was that little bit of what-if we lose type of thinking,” Steeves said after the game. “I feel like we kept our cool and played like we should. We kind of threw the distractions in the garbage.”
Murphy gave Moncton its first lead of the Esso Cup 4:47 into the game. A simple dump in was too casually pushed aside by Thunder goalie Tracie Kikuchi (Edmonton, Alta.). The puck bounced back out front where Murphy was waiting to pounce.
Moncton doubled its lead just over three minutes later, when Murphy completed an on-the-fly passing play with Hayley Hallihan (Miramichi, N.B.) and Letourneau.
Moncton continued to build momentum – and its lead – as the period went on. Just over 13 minutes in, Steeves beat her defender just inside the blue line and walked in alone to beat Kikuchi low stick side.
Edmonton finally stopped the bleeding in the closing seconds of the period. Gorda’s shot from the top of the face-off circle appeared to bounce off Boucher and in.
The Thunder looked to build on that momentum swing on the power play early in the second. Instead, the pendulum swung back the other way, when Steeves got sprung on another breakaway.
The Thunder responded late with a short-handed goal of its own. Poznikoff was relentless in the Moncton zone on the penalty kill, and her effort was rewarded when she brought the puck out from behind the Rockets’ net and slid it under Waterman.
Edmonton drew within one 13 minutes into the third, when Gorda backhanded home a rebound, but Steeves restored the two-goal lead with three to play.
Poznikoff scored her second of the game with the goalie pulled on the power play, but with less than half a minute to go, it was too little, too late.
Brianne Waterman (Memramcook, N.B.) made 42 saves in picking up her first Esso Cup win.