WATTS SCORES TWICE; ONTARIO RED WINS OPENER
REGINA, Sask. – The line of Daryl Watts (Toronto, Ont./Mississauga, PWHL), Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) and Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) combined for six points to lead Ontario Red past Ontario Blue 4-1 and to an opening day victory at the 2016 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
In the battle of provincial counterparts – and the only two teams to ever win the U18 nationals – it was defending gold-medallist Ontario Red getting the upper hand.
Coralie Larose (Embrun, Ont./Nepean, PWHL) and Lexie Adzija (St. Thomas, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) had the other two Ontario Red goals.
Danika Ranger (Astorville, Ont./Durham West, PWHL) picked up the win.
Kathryn Rankin (Kanata, Ont./Nepean, PWHL) had the lone Ontario Blue goal. Jaimie Rainville (Welland, Ont./Stoney Creek, PWHL) took the loss.
Ontario Red got on the board just past the midway point of the first period. After some crisp passing around the offensive zone by Jessica Digirolamo (Mississauga, Ont./Oakville, PWHL), Fillier and Maltais, Rainville stopped the initial shot by Maltais, but Watts pounced on the rebound down low.
The Watts-Maltais-Fillier lined struck again with just over a minute left in the period. Watts sent a short centering pass from Maltais straight to the back of the net.
Ontario Blue did have its chances to score in the opening period, most notably on a late penalty call on Avery Mitchell (Pickering, Ont./Toronto, PWHL). But Ranger came up big, no more so than on a great kick save on Kristin Della Rovere (Caledon, Ont./Leaside, PWHL) in tight.
Ontario Red built upon its lead in the second. Kristy Pidgeon (Ingleside, Ont./Nepean, PWHL) sent a backhand pass from behind the net out front to Larose, who shot the puck past a helpless Rainville.
Early in the third Ontario Blue finally broke up Ranger’s shutout. After Ranger bobbled a puck sent in front from the side boards, Rankin jumped on the loose rebound.
Adzija restored Ontario Red’s three-goal lead with about five minutes to go in regulation. On the power play, she took Devon Facchinato’s (Windsor, Ont./Oakville, PWHL) cross-ice pass and scored from the bottom of the face-off circle.
With the win Ontario Red improved its overall record against Ontario Blue to 6-1.