2019 esso cup bracket
Esso Cup field almost set
Five of six berths locked up – Fire, Sabres, Slash and Stars to join host Lady Wolves in Sudbury
Quinton Amundson
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April 9, 2019
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A season that began with 92 teams has been narrowed down to 13 with less than two weeks to go before opening puck drop of the 2019 Esso Cup.

The Sudbury Lady Wolves, Halifax Fire, Stoney Creek Sabres, St. Albert Slash and Saskatoon Stars have all secured the opportunity to compete at Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, which starts April 21 in Sudbury.

The final slot will be filled this weekend when Quebec crowns its provincial champion at the Coupe Dodge.

Here is a quick overview of the five teams that have already locked down championship berths.

HOST TEAM – SUDBURY LADY WOLVES
The City of Sudbury is eager to create a welcoming atmosphere for the 2019 Esso Cup, while the Lady Wolves will be more fixated on providing a stiff challenge on the ice – and they are poised to do so. The Lady Wolves stormed out of the gate with a 21-game unbeaten streak (19-0-2) before suffering their lone loss in the final game of the LLFHL season. After tough playdown series against the Toronto Aeros and Mississauga Chiefs, the Wolves cruised through the OWHA provincials with a 6-0 record, capped by a 3-2 win over the Stoney Creek Sabres in the final.

Sudbury is looking to become the first host team to hoist the Esso Cup. In the 10-year history of the tournament, only the 2015 Red Deer Chiefs earned a spot in the gold medal game.

ATLANTIC REGION – HALIFAX FIRE
Simply put, the Fire – with nine players who were part of the host Metro Boston Pizza team from last year’s Esso Cup – has been terrific. The club, which finished second in the NSFMHL during the regular season with an 18-2-4 record, went three-for-three against the Cape Breton Panthers in the Nova Scotia semifinals before overcoming a two-game deficit with three-straight wins to prevail over the Northern Selects in the league final. Halifax then brought the fire to the Atlantic Regional, outscoring its opponents 32-9 in five games and clinching its spot in Sudbury with a 5-2 win over the Northern Lightning in the gold medal game.

Halifax is looking to provide the Atlantic a reversal of fortune; the region has finished in sixth place at the past six Esso Cups. Metro Boston Pizza earned the last semifinal berth for the region in 2012.

ONTARIO REGION – STONEY CREEK SABRES
It was not an easy road to the national championship for the Sabres. After a solid 3-1-1 start to the campaign, they only managed one win in their next seven games. Stoney Creek found its form with 7-1-2 run to finish the regular season, and toppled the Buffalo Regals and Burlington Barracudas before falling to Mississauga in the LLFHL South Central Division final. Stoney Creek was in top form at OWHA provincials, winning four of five games to reach the gold medal game against Sudbury (it dropped a narrow 3-2 decision) and clinch the Ontario berth at the Esso Cup.

Stoney Creek will aim to put Ontario back on the Esso Cup podium after the province finished out of the top three for the first time ever in 2018. Ontario has won three gold (Thunder Bay, 2010; Sudbury, 2015; Brantford, 2016), three silver and three bronze medals at the national championship.

PACIFIC REGION – ST. ALBERT SLASH
St. Albert has shown the form of a two-time defending Esso Cup champion since the opening puck drop last fall. The Slash sailed to the top of the AFHL standings with a 26-3-1 record and went 4-0 at provincials – capped by a 5-1 win over the Calgary Fire in the gold medal game – before sweeping the Greater Vancouver Comets in the Pacific Regional to earn the opportunity to go for the three-peat. The roster boasts nine returnees from the 2018 team, five of whom – Taylor Anker, Isabelle Lajoie, Brianna Sank, Makenna Schuttler and Madison Willan – were also part of the 2017 champions.

St. Albert navigated through the last two Esso Cups with a record of 13 wins and one loss. Its lone defeat was a 4-1 preliminary-round setback to the Saskatoon Stars last year.

WEST REGION – SASKATOON STARS
The Saskatoon Stars are returning to Canada’s National Female Midget Championship with a desire to atone for the painful 2-1 loss they endured at the hands of St. Albert in the 2018 Esso Cup final. Saskatoon has had the look of a championship contender all season as it racked up 149 goals en route to winning 27 of its 28 regular-season games – including its first 20 in a row. The Stars brushed aside the Notre Dame Hounds and Regina Rebels in the SFMAAAHL playoffs, and swept the two-game West Regional against the Westman Wildcats.

Thirteen Stars are back to try and capture the gold medal that eluded them last year. Saskatoon is attending its fourth Esso Cup in five years; it won bronze in 2015 and finished fourth in 2016.

For more information:

Vacant
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557 

 

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4567 / 905-906-5327 (mobile)
[email protected]

 

Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6427 / 403-612-2893 (mobile)
[email protected]

 

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