PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – The Stoney Creek Sabres have won their first Esso Cup, defeating the Fraser Valley Rush 5-4 in thrilling fashion on Saturday afternoon to win gold at Canada’s Women’s U18 National Club Championship.
Madison Burr (Paris, Ont.), who was named player of the game for Stoney Creek, scored the game-winning goal with 1:20 remaining in the third period, beating Fraser Valley goaltender Rebecca Noble (North Delta, B.C.) to cap off a four-goal period for the Sabres.
"At the beginning of the year, I did not know if we would make it here. It was just a dream, and now that dream has come true,” Burr said. “We are such a close group, we are always spending time together and we all get along very well, and it is so special to share this moment with our entire team.”
Leah Barnard (Anmore, B.C.) opened the scoring for Fraser Valley on the power play just over three minutes into the game before Maren Capannelli (Oakville, Ont.) evened the score early in the second period. Fraser Valley took a 3-1 lead late in the middle frame after Jade Lore (Richmond, B.C.) and Aynsley D’Ottavio (Rosedale, B.C.) beat Stoney Creek goaltender Tara Bach (Oakville, Ont.).
The Sabres responded early in the third, with Ashlyn Carter (Milton, Ont.) pulling Stoney Creek within one just 1:36 into the period. Burr and Peyton Anzivino (Hamilton, Ont.) each scored to take the lead just past the midway point of the final period. Fraser Valley retook the lead off the stick of Hannah Dods (Chilliwack, B.C.) 47 seconds later before Burr’s individual effort sealed the game and maintained Stoney Creek’s unblemished record.
“This has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I am moving up to [OWHL U22 Elite] with the majority of this group next year, and this is an amazing way to end our season,” said Stoney Creek Sabres head coach Taylor Abbott (Hamilton, Ont.). “Our players might not realize how special this moment is right now, but it is definitely something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Stoney Creek goaltender Mya Castrillo (Hamilton, Ont.) made seven saves in relief of Bach, while Noble turned aside 20 shots and was named player of the game for the Rush.
Regina Rebels defeat Northern Selects 5-1 to win bronze
Earlier in the day, Regina rebounded from a 1-0 loss to Fraser Valley in the semifinals to win the bronze medal, defeating the Northern Selects 5-1 to secure its first-ever medal at the Esso Cup.
“We are such a tight-knit group, and we are all like sisters. I think that played a major role in us getting back to focusing on taking home a medal [after losing in the semifinals],” said Regina Rebels captain Greta Henderson (Regina, Sask.). “We are super excited to leave with a bronze medal because we made history, and it is really exciting to be the first Regina Rebels team to win a medal at the Esso Cup.”
Rayna Hennie (Weyburn, Sask.) scored the eventual game-winner for Regina just over five minutes into the second period, shortly after Julia MacDonald (Antigonish, N.S.) evened the score for the Selects. Henderson, who was named Top Forward of the 2023 Esso Cup following the semifinals, scored her tournament-leading eighth and ninth goals to help lead Regina to its best-ever finish at the Esso Cup.
Chloe Sorenson (Bienfait, Sask.) made 24 saves in the win, while Jorja Burrows (New Glasgow, N.S.) turned aside 41 shots for the Selects.
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