SLASH OUTLAST CANADETTES IN SHOOTOUT, WILL DEFEND ESSO TITLE
JASON LA ROSE
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Tyra Meropoulis and Jayme Doyle scored goals in the shootout, and the St. Albert Slash survived a tense semifinal to earn a 2-1 win over the Brampton Canadettes and move into the gold medal game at the 2018 Esso Cup.
The Slash will face the Saskatoon Stars in the final on Saturday night (7 p.m. AT on TSN 1/3/5), one win away from becoming the first team to ever go back-to-back at Canada’s National Female Midget Championship.
After the first three shooters were denied in the shootout, Meropoulis slipped her shot five-hole on Canadettes goaltender Hannah Szczepanowski to give the Slash the lead.
Two more saves by St. Albert netminder Camryn Drever – and one more by Szczepanowski – put the game onto the stick of Doyle, and she picked the top corner over the glove to seal the win.
The game was played at a frenetic pace, with each team recording 28 shots on goal in 70 minutes of hockey, and only one penalty called.
St. Albert had a narrow 8-7 edge in shots on goal in the first period, but Szczepanowski and Drever kept the game scoreless into the intermission.
Brampton needed just 23 seconds of the second period to open the scoring; Paige Whaley – named Most Sportsmanlike Player in the tournament earlier in the day – parked herself at the side of Drever and redirected a Tamara Giaquinto shot for a 1-0 lead.
Meropoulis answered for the Slash just past the 16-minute mark of the middle frame, wiring a shot upstairs on Szczepanowski to make it a 1-1 game after two.
The goaltenders took over for the next 30 minutes, keeping the game tied through overtime.
St. Albert had the best chance to score in the extra period when the game’s lone penalty was called as time expired in the third, but it couldn’t convert on the four-on-three advantage.
The loss means Brampton will play for bronze against the Pionnieres de Lanaudiere on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m. AT).