SLASH DOMINATE WITH DEFENSE TO BLANK FIRE
SUDBURY, Ont. – Dayle Ross scored two goals and Holly Borrett was perfect in a 19-save shutout to lead the St. Albert Slash to a clinical 4-0 decision over the Halifax Fire on Wednesday at the 2019 Esso Cup.
The Slash produced a masterclass in defensive hockey, keeping the Fire in a defensive noose for most of the game by executing a suffocating and relentless forecheck and airtight alignment in the neutral zone.
Kamea Brezovski broke the ice for St. Albert just 22 seconds into the affair by crashing into the net to jam a rebound past Amelia Awad, who made 26 saves for Halifax.
The two-time defending champions took advantage of the early momentum by building a 13-6 edge in shots in the first period. The Fire lit the occasional spark with a rush chance here and there, but Borrett parried those attempts aside.
St. Albert smothered its opponent even more in the second, only allowing Halifax to test Borrett once in the first 12 minutes.
The Slash broke out for a pair goals to expand their lead to 3-0 after 40 minutes: Brooklyn Schroeder converted on a breakaway off a tape-to-tape stretch pass from Kiah Vail just before the nine-minute mark, and an unguarded Ross beat Awad with a deflection with about four minutes remaining in the stanza.
Ross struck again with a wrist shot on the power play at 5:18 of the third period to finish the scoring.
The Slash went 1-for-2 on the power play; Halifax went dry on four attempts.
Halifax did make a push to end the shutout bid with two late man advantages, but St. Albert managed to limit the Fire to one-and-done attempts.
The Slash finish the preliminary round against the Stoney Creek Sabres on Thursday afternoon (12 p.m. ET), while the Fire will need a victory over the Saskatoon Stars in their prelim finale (3:30 p.m. ET) to keep their playoff hopes alive.