SHOOTOUT SENDS EXPRESS TO GOLD MEDAL GAME
WEYBURN, Sask. – It was a case of déjà vu for the Express du Richelieu.
For the second game in a row, Éloïse Dubé (St-Hyacinthe, Que.) and Joannie Garand (Otterburn Park, Que.) scored in the shootout, this time sending the Express past the Rocky Mountain Raiders and into the gold medal game of the 2016 Esso Cup.
Once again Dubé shot first for the Express, and like she did on Thursday against the Brantford Ice Cats, she got the goalie going wide, then slid the puck into an open net.
Garand followed and went high stick side for the winning goal.
Late in overtime, the Raiders appeared to win it, when Breanne Trotter’s (Okotoks, Alta.) casual shot from outside the blue line caused her teammates to empty the bench for a centre-ice celebration. A delayed offside call negated the goal and meant that for the third straight year, a semifinal would be decided in a shootout.
Garand helped give the Express the early jump in this one. Only 2:39 into the game, she skated cross ice and sent a pass from the face-off circle to the opposite doorstep to Floriane Dion (Verchères, Que.) for an easy tip in.
The Raiders equalized with 3:13 left in the opening period. Paige Russell (Strathmore, Alta.) created a turnover below the goal line, then fed the puck out front to Hailey McCallum (Strathmore, Alta.), who finished the play from the slot.
Richelieu retook the lead with just 22 seconds remaining in the second. Dubé stole the puck behind the net and sent a pass up along the boards to Camille Fleury (Ste-Julie, Que.). Her flutter shot found its way through traffic and tricked goaltender Kate Lloyd (Chestermere, Alta.).
Garand scored on a loose puck in the low slot midway through the third for a two-goal lead.
But less than two minutes later, Russell put in a deflected point shot at the side of the net.
With Lloyd on the bench, the Express nearly sealed it, but Émilie Lavoie hit the post.
Moments later, Rocky Mountain tied the game with 50 seconds remaining in regulation, when off a face-off, Kara Kondrat (Cochrane, Alta.) drove to the net and the puck ricocheted in.
Marithé Lévesque (Baie-Comeau, Que.) earned her third win of the week in net.