SABRES SCORE BRONZE MEDAL IN DRAMATIC SHOOTOUT
SUDBURY, Ont. – Alicia Juras scored the game-tying goal late in the third period, and then again in the shootout to lead the Stoney Creek Sabres to a 3-2 comeback win over the Saskatoon Stars in the bronze medal game Saturday at the 2019 Esso Cup.
Juras scored the dramatic shorthanded equalizer with 4:30 remaining in the third period by dancing around Saskatoon goaltender Kaitlyn Cadrain with a backhand-to-forehand deke.
Saskatoon responded by storming the attacking zone in a frantic 10-minute overtime. Megan Warrener proved to be up to the task for Stoney Creek as she denied all nine shots that came her way.
Buoyed by their goaltender’s heroics, all four Sabres skaters scored in the five-player shootout. Alyssa Kawa netted the tally that officially nabbed the podium spot for the Sabres, who owned a 4-6-2 record in early December before going on a run to the national tourmament.
Calli Arnold opened the scoring at 2:57 of the second period with a shot from the right face-off circle, and Stars captain Grace Shirley gave her team a two-goal cushion 48 seconds into the third frame by sniping a rising wrist shot into the top shelf of the net, but the lead wouldn’t last.
Tessa Holk started the comeback on a Sabres’ power play with a forehand drive from the right wing less than three minutes after Shirley’s tally, setting up Juras’ late heroics.
A defining moment for the Sabres was a late 5-on-3 penalty kill in the second period. The Stars hemmed Stoney Creek into its zone for the entire 83 seconds, but the Sabres clogged up the shooting lanes and Warrener made crucial saves to shut down an excellent opportunity for Saskatoon.
Warrener made 37 saves for the win, and Cadrain stopped 19 shots in defeat.
The bronze is the first medal for the Sabres at the Esso Cup; they finished fourth when they hosted the 2014 tournament in Hamilton, Ont.