ONTARIO RED WRAPS UP PERFECT PRELIMS
REGINA, Sask. – A three-goal third period by Ontario Red propelled the team past Saskatchewan 5-3 and earned the team its third straight win at the 2016 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
Over a span of 4:22 Lexie Adzija (St. Thomas, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) scored twice – first from the high slot and then from the bottom of the face-off circle – and Daryl Watts (Toronto, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL) added an empty-netter.
Adzija also had an assist in the win. Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) and Jessica Digirolamo (Mississauga, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) chipped in goals as well.
Loryn Porter (North Bay, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL) made 23 saves for her second win.
Chantal Burke (Saskatoon, Sask./Regina, SFMAAAHL) was called upon to make 43 saves for Saskatchewan.
Jordyn Holmes (Saskatoon, Sask./Saskatoon, SFMAAAHL) led the host team’s offence, registering two goals, as well as an assist on Nara Elia’s (Saskatoon, Sask./Okanagan Hockey Academy, CSSHL) goal.
Saskatchewan had a chance to advance to its first-ever semifinals at the U18 nationals, but couldn’t pull out the win it needed. Instead, the team will play Alberta in the fifth-place game.
It seemed like an uphill battle awaited Saskatchewan. It needed to take down a team it had not beaten in seven previous attempts.
And it found itself in a hole early, when Digirolamo intercepted the puck in the neutral zone, skated in down the left side and finished things off with a backhand flip to give Ontario Red the first goal of the game.
But Saskatchewan headed into the first intermission tied thanks to Holmes. Taylor Kirwan (Gull Lake, Sask./Swift Current, SFMAAAHL) threw the puck on net from the side boards. After Porter was unable to cover it, Holmes poked the puck in the net.
Ontario Red started dictating play a bit more in the second period. At one point the team enjoyed more than 40 seconds on a delayed penalty. But just when it seemed Saskatchewan was on its heels, it pushed back.
When an Ontario defender slipped at her blue-line, Holmes grabbed the puck, went in alone and beat Porter stick side for a shorthanded goal.
The teams exchanged goals 22 seconds apart later in the period.
First, after Burke couldn’t cover a loose puck in her crease, Fillier put it in the back of the net. Then, on a two-on-one, Holmes had her shot saved but Elia fired home the rebound.