RED DEER, Alta. – For the first time, the Sudbury Lady Wolves (Ontario) have won the Esso Cup, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, edging the Red Deer Chiefs (Host) 2-1 in Saturday afternoon’s gold medal game at Red Deer Arena.
Sudbury is the second Ontario team to win the national title, joining the 2010 Thunder Bay Queens, while Red Deer’s silver medal is the best ever for a host team at the event. The Lady Wolves medalled for the second year in a row after taking bronze in Stoney Creek, Ont., in 2014.
In Saturday’s gold medal game, Sudbury’s Karli Shell opened the scoring early for the Lady Wolves, making it 1-0 just 2:57 into the first period. Skylar Colonna answered back for Red Deer just over seven minutes later before Shell scored the third goal of the opening frame, and the eventual game-winner, off a feed from Meagan McGaughey at 16:26. Between the pipes, Danika Ranger turned away 19 of 20 shots for the victory.
Earlier Saturday, the Saskatoon Stars (West-Saskatchewan) won the bronze medal with a 5-1 victory over the Central Plains Capitals (West-Manitoba). Nara Elia had a goal and two assists, while tournament MVP Sophie Shirley netted the game-winner for her ninth goal of the tournament. Julia Rongve, Mackenna Parker and Kianna Dietz also scored, while Karlee Fetch earned the win in net, turning away 27 of 28 shots.
Hockey Canada, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League, announced Saturday following the gold medal game that Weyburn, Sask., will host the 2016 Esso Cup, Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, from April 18-24, 2016.
The host Weyburn Gold Wings will be joined by five regional representatives to compete for the national championship at the 1,800-seat Crescent Point Place.
Weyburn will be the second Saskatchewan city to host the Esso Cup in its eight-year history, joining Regina in 2010. The Gold Wings captured the national title at the 2014 Esso Cup in Stoney Creek, Ont.
“On behalf of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association Board of Directors, we are proud to host the Esso Cup in Saskatchewan for the second time,” said Kelly McClintock, general manager of the Saskatchewan Hockey Association. “The Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League has become one of the premier female leagues in the country, and the community of Weyburn will do a tremendous job under its volunteer leadership. We look forward to welcoming the country to our province as we continue to promote female hockey.”
“The host committee is extremely excited and pleased to welcome the top female Midget hockey players in the country to Weyburn next spring,” said Dale Renz, co-chair of the host organizing committee. “We are very thankful for the continued support from the Saskatchewan Hockey Association and Hockey Canada, and are looking forward to showcasing female hockey in our province.”