SHIRLEY’S GOAL CLINCHES SEMIS BERTH FOR STARS
WEYBURN, Sask. – Grace Shirley’s (Saskatoon, Sask.) goal nine minutes into the third period gave the Saskatoon Stars a 2-1 win over Metro Boston Pizza and secured the team a spot in the 2016 Esso Cup semifinals.
After the Stars controlled the puck off an offensive zone face-off, Shirley skated from the side boards and shot from centre ice just inside the blue line. The puck dipped en route to the net and beat goaltender Josee Thibeau (Halifax, N.S.) low blocker side.
Mackenna Parker (Clavet, Sask.) also scored for Saskatoon. Emma Johnson (Saskatoon, Sask.) picked up her third win of the week.
Rachel Dorey (Halifax, N.S.) gave Metro the lead in the first period. Thibeau stopped 33 shots in taking the loss.
With the Express du Richelieu’s win over the Brantford Ice Cats earlier in the day, the final spot in the medal round was on the line between Metro and Saskatoon. Metro needed to win in regulation to advance; Saskatoon simply had to secure a point.
Saskatoon enjoyed the majority of puck possession through the opening half of the first period, keeping Metro on its heels. Even on a Metro power play midway through the period, the Stars were pushing the play.
But a late four-minute double minor on Rayah DeCorby (Saskatoon, Sask.) allowed Metro to steal momentum away.
A rebound from a point shot high into Johnson’s chest bounced back into the slot, from where Dorey quickly sent the puck back high glove side.
Saskatoon continued to pound shots on net in the second. It outshot Metro 18-4 in the period, but it wasn’t until 1:13 remained that the Stars finally broke through. After the team controlled play off the face-off, Kalista Senger (Clavet, Sask.) thought about shooting, then passed back to Parker, who one-timed the puck from the slot.
Knowing it needed to win to play two more games, Metro pulled Thibeau for an extra attacker with 3:32 to go in the third, but couldn’t get the equalizer – and go-ahead goal – it needed.
The Stars enter the medal round as the third seed by virtue of their win over the Express earlier in the week.