2022  esso  bracket 960  v7

Super six set for Esso Cup

It’ll be the Bears, Rush, Hounds, Lightning, Remparts and Selects competing for Canada’s National Women’s U18 Club Championship

Jason La Rose
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April 26, 2022
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The Road to the Esso Cup has come to a close.

The Notre Dame Hounds and Northern Selects secured the final two spots on the weekend; the Hounds finished a two-game sweep of the Westman Wildcats to claim the West Region title, while the Selects edged the EDZA West Reds 2-1 in the Atlantic Region final.

They will join the Prince Albert Bears (Host), Fraser Valley Rush (Pacific), Durham West Lightning (Ontario) and Remparts du Richelieu (Quebec) at Canada’s National Women’s U18 Club Championship, which begins May 16 in Okotoks, Alta.

Here’s a quick look at all six teams that will compete for a national title.

HOST TEAM – PRINCE ALBERT BEARS

After more than two years of waiting, it’s finally time for the Bears to play host to the country’s top teams. Except they’ll be doing it 765 kilometres from home. Prince Albert hit a few speedbumps on the way to the Esso Cup, finishing with a 10-15-5 record in the Saskatchewan Female U18AAA Hockey League before getting swept by the Saskatoon Stars in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Bears are making their second appearance at the Esso Cup; they won SFU18AAAHL and West Region championships in 2017 before going 2-3 in the preliminary round in Morden, Man., and narrowly missing out on the semifinals.

ATLANTIC REGION – NORTHERN SELECTS

The Selects have been dominant from start to finish, losing just one of 18 regular-season games in the Maritime Major Female Hockey League before sweeping East Hants and Halifax to win the MMFHL title. They then romped through the Atlantic tournament, posting a plus-34 goal differential (36-2) in a 4-0 preliminary round before Bree MacPherson’s third-period goal beat the Reds and punched their ticket to Okotoks.

It’s a second trip in three Esso Cups for the Selects, who were the Atlantic reps in 2018 when Bridgewater, N.S., played host. That year, they opened with a win over host Metro Boston Pizza before dropping their final four games and finishing fifth.

ONTARIO REGION – DURHAM WEST LIGHTNING

There was no one close to the Lightning in the U18 AA division of the Ontario Women’s Hockey League this season; Durham West posted a 21-1-3 record during the regular season with a remarkable 95-19 goal differential. It was just as good at the OWHA provincials; the Lightning topped its group in the prelims before running through Saugeen-Maitland, Etobicoke and Whitby to earn the Ontario spot at the Esso Cup.

Like the Bears, the Lightning are also back after featuring in Morden. That year, Durham West alternated wins and losses in the preliminary round to sneak into the semifinals as the No. 4 seed. It dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker to the eventual national champion St. Albert Slash before rebounding to win bronze.

PACIFIC REGION – FRASER VALLEY RUSH

It was a record-setting season for the Rush, who dominated the B.C. Elite Hockey League – 28 wins in 32 games and dominance on offence (140 GF) and defence (43 GA). Fraser Valley needed a come-from-behind series win in the BCEHL final against the Northern Capitals, but followed that up with a historic sweep of the Edmonton Pandas, becoming the first B.C. team to ever beat the Alberta champs in the Pacific Regional.

It’ll be the third Esso Cup appearance for the Rush. Known then as the Fraser Valley Phantom, the team served as host when the 2013 tournament was played in Burnaby, B.C., and was one of the two Pacific reps a year later. Fraser Valley missed out on the semifinals in both years.

QUEBEC REGION – REMPARTS DU RICHELIEU

The Remparts scuffled their way into the provincial tournament, dropping two of their last three in the Ligue de hockey d’excellence du Québec and settling for second place, six points back of the As de Québec. But Richelieu found its ‘A’ game for the Coupe Dodge provincials, going a perfect 5-0; the run was capped by a thrilling 1-0 shootout win over the As in the final, sending the Remparts to Okotoks.

Richelieu was the first-ever Quebec Region champion, finishing sixth at the 2010 tournament in Regina, Sask. The Remparts are the third team from Richelieu to make the trip to the national championship, along with that 2010 side and the 2016 Express du Richelieu, who earned silver in Weyburn, Sask.

WEST REGION – NOTRE DAME HOUNDS

No team comes to Okotoks hotter than the Hounds, who have lost just a single game in regulation time since the start of December – and just two all season. Notre Dame romped to the Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League title, dropping an overtime game apiece to the Saskatoon Stars and Regina Rebels, and dispatched the Westman Wildcats on the road in the West Regional to get back to the Esso Cup.

The Hounds last played at the national championship in 2011, when they won it all in St. Albert, Sask. They also repped the West Region a year earlier in Regina, getting all the way to the final before a narrow loss to the Thunder Bay Queens.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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Schedule