DAWSON CREEK, British Columbia – Ontario Red has won its sixth-consecutive gold medal at the National Women’s Under-18 Championship, defeating Quebec 3-2 in overtime at the Ovintiv Events Centre on Saturday night.
Ontario Red has captured gold in 13 of the 14 national championships since the inaugural tournament in 2001, while Quebec earned its eighth silver medal and first since 2016.
Mackenzie Alexander (Toronto, ON/Etobicoke, OWHA U22 Elite) scored the golden goal, knocking in a rebound on an Ontario Red power play just 25 seconds into overtime. The goal left her tied for the tournament lead in goals (five) and points (nine).
After a scoreless first period, Rosalie Tremblay (Sherbrooke, QC/Stanstead College, JWHL) struck first for Quebec 4:01 into the second period. Claire Murdoch (Toronto, ON/Burlington, OWHA U22 Elite) and Alexander scored power-play goals at just over two minutes apart in the third period to give Ontario Red its first lead before Victoria Veilleux (Saint-Georges, QC/Champlain-Lennoxville, RSEQ) tied the game for Quebec with 4:18 left to force overtime.
“I was just lucky enough to be right there to tap it in,” Alexander said of her overtime winner. “We are such a tight-knit group, so to win gold with these girls is such an honour. This is an absolute dream come true.”
Marilou Grenier (Québec, QC/Québec, LHEQ U18) made 43 saves in a terrific performance for the silver medallists, while Hannah Clark (Oshawa, ON/Etobicoke, OWHA U22 Elite) stopped 16 of 18 to record the win for Ontario Red.
“[Heading into overtime] I went in right away and told the girls we are winning this, we have this,” Ontario Red head coach Joe Butkevich said. “[This experience] has been phenomenal, from the host committee to the volunteers. It is a small-town community with a great feel; everyone wanted to put Dawson Creek on the map, and they did that this week.”
British Columbia takes down Alberta to win bronze
Earlier in the day, British Columbia earned its third bronze medal in the last four national championships, downing Alberta 3-1. After Chloe Primerano (North Vancouver, BC/RHA Kelowna, CSSHL) and Hannah Dods (Chilliwack, BC/Fraser Valley, BCEHL) scored for the hosts in the second period, Claire Carruthers (Crossfield, AB/Edmonton, AFHL) pulled Alberta within one on the power play 4:24 into the third. Danica Maynard (Osoyoos, BC/RHA Kelowna, CSSHL) added an insurance marker on the power play in the final five minutes to secure the bronze for B.C. on home ice.
“This has been really fun getting to bond with my new teammates, everyone has been so positive. The little things all added up; we worked together, bonded and came through today,” British Columbia captain Gracie Graham (Kelowna, BC/RHA Kelowna, CSSHL) said. “It was amazing to have all our fans out there watching us, you do not always get that experience. It was a great time.”
It is the fourth bronze medal for B.C. at the national championship and first since 2017.
Following the gold medal game, the tournament awards were announced:
Most valuable player: Sara Manness (La Salle, MB/Burlington, OWHA U22 Elite)
Top forward: Morgan Jackson (Courtenay, BC/Shawnigan Lake, CSSHL)
Top defence: Rosalie Breton (Saint-Bernard, QC/Limoilou, RSEQ)
Top goalie: Hannah Clark
Most sportsmanlike player: Mackenzie Alexander
For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2023 National Women’s Under-18 Championship, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along through social media on Facebook, X and Instagram, and by using #U18Nationals.