PIONNIÈRES TOP SELECTS, GET FIRST ESSO CUP WIN
JASON LA ROSE
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Élodie St-Jacques scored one goal and set up another, pacing the Pionnières de Lanaudière to their first win at the 2018 Esso Cup, a 4-2 triumph over the Northern Selects on Tuesday afternoon.
Sarah Vanier made 32 saves for the Pionnières, who had taken one point from their first two games, tough early match-ups against Saskatoon and St. Albert.
An early power play produced the first goal for Lanaudière; the puck found its way to Mégane Larrivée at the point, and her shot was deftly deflected by St-Jacques in the high slot to put the Quebec champions ahead.
Mégane Quirion had a chance to make it 2-0 late in the period when she was taken down on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, but Northern goaltender Lily Currie flashed the leather to keep it a one-goal game.
Jessica Perreault eventually did double the lead in the dying moments of the opening frame, jumping out of the penalty box and onto a loose puck before going high over the blocker of Currie with just 5.6 seconds left.
The Selects turned up their game in the second period, outshooting Lanaudière 9-5, and pulled within one late in the middle stanza when Kara MacLean got her stick on a Lindsey Smith shot to make it a 2-1 game after 40 minutes.
Amélie Vachon quickly restored the two-goal advantage once the puck dropped to start the third period, knocking in a rebound just 33 seconds in, and Ann-Frédérik Naud finished a pretty pass from St-Jacques at 5:12 to extend the advantage to three.
Eva Wornell stuffed in a power-play goal off the rebound of a shot by her sister Sophia, but that would be as close as the Selects got despite four man advantages in the final frame. The loss was their first of the week in regulation time.
Lanaudière sees the ice next on Wednesday when it takes on the Brampton Canadettes in the middle game on the schedule (3:30 p.m. AT), right after the Selects take on the St. Albert Slash (12 p.m. AT).