SABRES IMPROVE PLAYOFF POSITIONING BY BLANKING SLASH
SUDBURY, Ont. – Megan Warrener made 28 saves, and Marisa Valla produced a goal and an assist to lead the Stoney Creek Sabres to a 4-0 shutout win over the St. Albert Slash on Thursday at the 2019 Esso Cup.
With the win, the Sabres have clinched a spot in the semifinals. They will wait for the conclusion of prelim play to find out who and when they play on Friday.
The loss drops the Slash into fourth place – it will have to beat the No. 1 seed on Friday to keep its three-peat hopes alive at Canada’s National Female Midget Championship.
The Stoney Creek victory also officially eliminates Halifax and Québec from semifinal contention.
The Sabres hunger to improve their playoff standing translated into a 3-0 lead before the game was 14 minutes old. Raelene Verbruggen put her team in the driver’s seat with a blue-line wrist shot at 2:59, Grace Bellamy slammed home a rebound from the slot at 7:07 and Tessa Holk scored on the power play with a backhand at 13:06.
St. Albert pulled starting netminder Brianna Sank after she allowed three goals on eight shots. Holly Borrett was solid the rest of the way, allowing just a single goal on 14 shots.
Stoney Creek outshot St. Albert 13-10 in the first period, but the Slash reversed that shot count in a second period where they worked feverishly trying to close the gap on the scoreboard.
The Sabres, though, kept them goalless by playing a disruptive brand of hockey that emphasized sound positioning and active stickwork.
Valla plunged St. Albert into a 4-0 deficit with a shot from the top of the left face-off circle that dribbled past Borrett with 7:45 left in the middle frame.
The Slash was smothered again by the Sabres’ defensive structure in period three; St. Albert could only generate five shots over the final 20 minutes.