GENDREAU SCORES GAME-WINNER TO SEND TRIOLET TO ESSO CUP FINAL
MORDEN, Man. – Chloé Gendreau assisted on the opening goal and scored the game-winner, as Harfangs du Triolet edged the Pembina Valley Hawks 2-1 on Friday evening, sending the Quebec champions to the 2017 Esso Cup final.
The Harfangs’ top line of Meagan Bureau-Gagnon, Zoé Thibault and Gendreau was flying early in the second semifinal. Leading a two-on-two rush in the first period, Gendreau found space and sent a perfect pass to Thibault who finished the play for a 1-0 Triolet lead.
Just under four minutes later, the trio were at it again. Off a Thibault face-off win, Bureau-Gagnon wired a shot in on Pembina Valley goaltender Halle Oswald. Gendreau drove to the net, picked up the rebound and scored, notching a second point for herself and Thibault.
“Of course, I feel really great, the team all together, we just go for it,” Gendreau said of scoring the game-winner. “It was like we became more [of] a family just for that game, it’s just incredible.” Gendreau was named the Top Forward of the 2017 Esso Cup at the awards banquet on Friday morning.
In the second period, the host Hawks found themselves on an early power play. Captain Mackenzie Hutchinson wristed a shot in on Michelle Thibault, who dropped a rebound right to Hannah Petrie. The Hawks winger took a whack at the loose puck, sending a second rebound to Brooklyn Platt, who buried it, cutting the Harfangs' lead to 2-1.
Pembina Valley built off the goal, outshooting Triolet 14-3 in the second, but Thibault shut the door through the rest of the game, maintaining the 2-1 lead and sending the Harfangs to the final.
“It was a tough game for us but we tried to battle right to the end and we tried to get as many pucks on net as possible but the bounces weren’t going our way,” said Pembina Valley’s Katelyn Heppner, who was named the Top Defenceman of the Esso Cup.
“We’ve got to bounce back quick as you’re still going into a bronze medal game and we tell the girls you’re still a top team in Canada so we’ve got to keep going and keep plugging away for sure,” said Hawks head coach Dana Bell.
The Durham West Lightning and host Hawks will meet for the bronze at 1 p.m. CT. The gold medal game between the Harfangs and the still-undefeated St. Albert Slash is at 7 p.m. CT across the TSN network.
“We’re going to try and keep that spirit that we have right now and keep that momentum going,” said Harfangs head coach, Christian Thibault. “I think we’re the underdog, [St. Albert] hasn’t lost a game in the tournament, they’re a very strong team, very fast, very tough to play against, but we’ll give them our best shot and we’ll see how it goes.”