ONTARO BLUE TAKES OPENER OVER ATLANTIC
HUNTSVILLE, Ont. – It was a total team effort by Ontario Blue in its opening game of the 2015 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
Goals from Emma Buckles (Toronto, Ont./Toronto, PWHL), Shelby Wood (Cambridge, Ont./Cambridge, PWHL), Victoria Klimek (Orangeville, Ont./Stoney Creek, PWHL) and Alexa Vasko (St. Catharines, Ont./Stoney Creek, PWHL) – and steady goaltending from Nicole Cece (Oakville, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) – paced the team past Atlantic 4-1 on Wednesday afternoon.
Cece stopped 25 of 26 shots and was named her team’s Player of the Game.
Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, N.B./Moncton, NBMAAA) scored for Atlantic. Lindsay Donovan (Miramichi, N.B./Rothesay Netherwood School, CAHS) added an assist.
Ava Boutilier (Charlottetown, P.E.I./Charlottetown, PEIMAAA) made 24 saves in the defeat.
Ontario Blue got on the board early. Only five minutes in, Rose Falzone (Nobleton, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL) brought the puck up along the boards deep into the offensive zone, before passing back to Buckles, whose rocket from the point cleanly beat Boutilier high short side.
Ontario Blue continued on the offensive, keeping the Atlantic goalie both busy and company, applying plenty of pressure down low.
The team doubled its lead late in the opening period. Some strong forechecking below the goal line led to open passing around the offensive zone. Wood’s shot from just outside the top of the face-off circle found its way through traffic and in.
The lead grew to three early in the second. After several Ontario Blue teammates jammed away at the side of the net, the puck came free across the crease, where Klimek had an open net.
Meaghan Hector’s (Georgetown, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) point shot early in the third was blocked by Boutilier, but the ensuing rebound proved too inviting to the relentless Ontario Blue forwards down low, with Vasko eventually sliding in the loose puck.
Atlantic finally broke up Cece’s shutout midway through the third on the power play. Murphy received the puck in the face-off circle and shot top corner glove side.
Atlantic is back on the ice early Thursday, taking on British Columbia in the day’s first match-up (10:30 a.m. ET/7:30 a.m. PT). Ontario Blue closes out Day 2 when it takes on Alberta (7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT).