CANADA ROLLS PAST BISONS TO OPEN ESSO SERIES
CALGARY, Alta. – An offensive outburst from Canada’s National Women’s Team led it to a 9-1 victory over the Airdrie Bisons on Tuesday night in the opener of the Esso Series at the Markin MacPhail Centre.
Jill Saulnier (Halifax, N.S./Calgary, CWHL) and Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) paced the offence with two goals each, while Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./Toronto, CWHL) added a goal and two helpers.
Four minutes into the first period, Saulnier opened the scoring for Canada with a bar-down bullet from the blue-line, with the lone assist going to Spooner.
A power play goal from Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.) made it 2-0 at 7:06, followed by a pretty tip-in from Johnston that brought the Canadians to a 3-0 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Caleb Willms capitalized on an Airdrie power play to put the Bisons on the board early in the second period, but it was all Canada after that with three more goals in the middle frame.
Spooner sniped in a wrist shot to restore the three-goal lead before the Nova Scotians – Saulnier and Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S./Calgary, CWHL) scored 28 seconds apart to put Canada up 6-1 after two.
Ann-Renée Desbiens (La Malbaie, Que./University of Wisconsin, WCHA) started the third period in net for Canada, taking over for Geneviève Lacasse (Kingston, Ont./Calgary, CWHL) who stopped 14 of 15 through 40 minutes. Desbiens kept the Bisons off the scoreboard in the final stanza despite four Airdrie power plays.
Brigette Lacquette (Mallard, Man./Calgary, CWHL) and Johnston added goals within 32 seconds of each other midway through the third before Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ont./Linköping HC, SWE) capped the scoring with 6:25 left.
The Esso Series is an Olympic Winter Games tune-up that includes 25 games against Alberta Midget Hockey League teams through Jan. 21, 2018.
Up next, Canada will travel north to face the Grande Prairie Storm on Friday night (7 p.m. MT).