WINKLER, Man. – Ontario Red has continued its dynasty at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship, taking home its fifth-consecutive gold medal by defeating Saskatchewan 3-1 at Winkler Arena on Saturday.
It is the 12th time Ontario Red has stood atop the podium in 13 national championships, while Saskatchewan made history of its own by reaching the gold medal game for the first time ever.
After a scoreless first period, Grace Nelles (St. Ann’s, Ont.) struck for Ontario Red just before the five-minute mark of the second and Olivia Wallin (Oakville, Ont.) tipped in the game-winning goal late in the middle frame. Neena Brick (Regina, Sask.) made things interesting when she got Saskatchewan on the board just 29 seconds into the third period, but Sarah Campbell (Oakville, Ont.) added insurance into an empty net in the dying seconds to clinch gold.
“Our girls were really eager to be here. With this group that we had here, the girls wanted to get better every time we were together, whether that was a meeting, an off-ice activity, practice or a game, that was something we stuck to for the whole week,” said Ontario Red head coach Kori Cheverie. “They stuck to the game plan, and they bought in to what we were selling them. Our group has been resilient all week; we’ve had to overcome a few things, so it was a great way to finish the week.”
Arden Kliewer (Saskatoon, Sask.) made 32 saves in a terrific performance in the Saskatchewan net, while Kayle Osborne (Rideau Lakes, Ont.) stopped 17 of 18 to record the win for Ontario Red.
Quebec edges Ontario Blue in OT to win bronze
Emilie Lussier (Ste-Martine, Que.) provided the heroics in the bronze medal game, scoring in overtime to lift Quebec past Ontario Blue and onto the podium with a 2-1 win.
Quebec trailed by a goal heading to the third period, but drew even off stick of the Ann-Frédérik Naud (St-Félix-de-Valois, Que.) with just 3:41 to go.
“I knew they would come out and fight hard no matter what, and they came out every period determined,” Quebec head coach Pascal Dufresne said of his team. “We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but every one of them gave it their all, and I could not be more proud of the way they were able to come back today and finish out the tournament with a win.”
It is the ninth medal and second bronze for Quebec at the national championship.
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