STARS POST SECOND-STRAIGHT SHUTOUT, BLANK PIONNIÈRES
JASON LA ROSE
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Mackenna Parker and Grace Shirley scored 61 seconds apart to provide the offence and Arden Kliewer made 19 saves, helping the Saskatoon Stars to a 3-0 win over the Pionnières de Lanaudière on Monday afternoon at the 2018 Esso Cup.
The Stars have yet to allow a goal through two games, giving up just 31 shots; they are the first team to open Canada’s National Female Midget Championship with back-to-back shutouts since the Pembina Valley Hawks in 2012.
Parker and Anna Leschyshyn finished with a goal and an assist each for the West Region champions.
Saskatoon had its chances in the first period, holding a 13-6 advantage in shots on goal, but couldn’t find a way past Lanaudière goaltender Leila Cecilia Lotke Salinas, who also got a little help from the post to get the game to the first intermission scoreless.
Parker broke through at 6:11 of the second period, finishing a scramble in front of the net with a power-play goal, and Shirley walked out of the corner and stuffed in the 2-0 marker just a minute later.
The Stars smothered the Pionnières in the final frame, outshooting the Quebec titlists 17-4 over the closing 20 minutes, and 46-19 overall.
Leschyshyn finished the scoring just past the eight-minute mark of the third, tapping in a cross-crease feed from Parker after a clean face-off win by the captain.
Kliewer was rarely tested in picking up her first shutout of the playoffs, one day after Jordan Ivanco went 12-for-12 to blank the Brampton Canadettes in the tournament opener.
Saskatoon faces a tough test Tuesday when it faces off with the defending champion St. Albert Slash (3:30 p.m. AT), while the Pionnières take on the Northern Stars in the first game of the day (12 p.m. AT).