ST. ALBERT SECURES PLAYOFF SPOT WITH SHUTOUT WIN
MORDEN, Man. – Kaylee Vader scored once and added two assists while Camryn Drever stopped all 27 shots that came her way, leading the St. Albert Slash to a 4-0 win over the Prince Albert Bears on Wednesday afternoon at the 2017 Esso Cup. The victory secures St. Albert a top-two playoff position.
The Slash got on the board early, with Bears goaltender Ryan Fontaine caught in a scramble behind the net. Battling with Fontaine and the defenceman, Vader managed to send the puck to Shyla Kirwer in front, who knocked it into the open net.
The Bears then found themselves in some penalty trouble, giving the unbeaten Slash almost 40 seconds of 5-on-3 play. St. Albert set up along the perimeter of the zone, working the puck from defence to down low. Cassidy Maplethorpe was tucked in the corner when she fed Tyra Meropoulis in the slot, who buried it for her second of the national championship. The Slash would maintain the 2-0 lead into the intermission.
In the second, the Bears were more disciplined and challenged Drever, but she turned away all seven shots she faced. The Slash earned a little more breathing room midway through the period, with a breakaway goal from Vader. She jumped around a defender, drove hard to the net, dropped to her backhand and lifted the puck over Fontaine for a 3-0 Slash lead.
Prince Albert had a chance to get on the board early in the third with Kate Ball on a breakaway. As she tried to cut through the crease, Drever got her glove up and knocked the puck away, maintaining the shutout.
The fourth St. Albert goal came at the end of third, with Isabelle Lajoie flying down an open wing and firing blocker side. The win moves St. Albert to 4-0 on the tournament and ensures they'll be part of the semifinals on Friday.
The Slash close out the preliminary round Thursday against the Durham West Lightning at 12 p.m. CT. Prince Albert, needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, finishes against the Harfangs du Triolet at 3:30 p.m. CT.