CONRAD SCORES WINNER TO HELP HOST HAWKS EDGE BEARS
MORDEN, Man. – Toni Conrad scored the game-winner early in the second period, and Halle Oswald made it stand up with a 35-save performance to lead the Pembina Valley Hawks past the Prince Albert Bears 2-1 to finish Day 1 play Sunday at the 2017 Esso Cup.
Less than two minutes after the Bears had tied the game, Conrad struck. Prince Albert kept the Hawks deep in their own zone for a long stretch, but Sage McElroy-Scott managed to carry the puck into the neutral zone. She banked it off the boards and hit a streaking Conrad, who wristed a shot over the glove of Bears netminder Ryan Fontaine to give the hosts the lead for good.
In front of a full house at the Access Event Centre, the Hawks came out flying in the first period, though it took over eight minutes to open the scoring.
Brooklyn Platt spotted a wide-open Hannah Petrie in the slot and hit her with a brilliant pass from the corner. Petrie made no mistake, beating Fontaine high to the blocker side.
From there, the teams went back and forth in an eight-minute stretch with no whistles. The end-to-end action ended in a breakaway attempt for Prince Albert forward Miranda Heidt, but Oswald just got a shoulder on the glove-side shot.
Prince Albert carried that momentum into the second period, with a goal just 2:49 into the middle frame; Kate Ball was waiting just outside of the crease when a loose puck snuck out from behind the net for the tap-in.
The Bears peppered Oswald with shots after the Conrad goal, but be it cross-crease or one-timers, Prince Albert could not beat the Hawks’ goaltender again. The West Region champions held a 36-22 advantage in shots on goal, including 28-14 over the last 40 minutes.
Pembina Valley will go for win No. 2 on Monday night when it takes on the St. Albert Slash at 7 p.m. CT, while the Bears take on the Durham West Lightning in the midday game at 3:30 p.m. CT.