QUICK STRIKES SEND CANADA PAST NORTHSTARS
JASON LA ROSE
CALGARY, Alta. – Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./University of Wisconsin, WCHA) and Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./Montreal, CWHL) scored 29 seconds apart midway through the second period, giving Canada’s National Women’s Team a lead it would not relinquish in a 3-1 win over the Calgary Northstars on Thursday night.
Poulin scored twice for the Canadians, who are unbeaten in their last six Esso Series games (3-0-3) and have just two losses in their last 12 against Alberta Midget Hockey League competition.
Geneviève Lacasse (Kingston, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) was the story of the first period; the Canadian goaltender stopped all 12 shots she faced, getting the game to the intermission scoreless despite the Northstars having a 12-5 edge in shots.
Nurse struck first for Canada, finishing a two-on-one with Laura Stacey (Kleinburg, Ont./Markham, CWHL) at 8:32 of the second period, and Poulin got a one-timer through traffic and past Calgary netminder Blake Pilon at 9:01 to double the advantage.
Lacasse was forced to leave the game just seconds later after taking a shot up high, giving way to Ann-Renée Desbiens (La Malbaie, Que./University of Wisconsin, WCHA) after making 18 saves in almost 30 minutes of work.
The Northstars got one back early in the third period when A.J. Belanger absolutely wired a wrist shot over the shoulder of Desbiens, but that would be it for Calgary offence.
Poulin added insurance with just over three minutes to go, knocking in a centering feed from Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.) after the three-time Olympic gold medallist did the heavy lifting in the offensive zone.
The Canadians close out the Esso Series on Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m. MT), taking on the Calgary Royals in their final game on Canadian ice before they depart for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games next week.