BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Joelle Fiala scored once and added an assist, and 12 different players recorded at least a point to help the Saskatoon Stars to a 5-0 win over the Brampton Canadettes in the opening game Sunday at the 2018 Esso Cup.
It’s the second time Saskatoon has blanked its first opponent at Canada’s National Female Midget Championship; it kept the Weyburn Gold Wings without a goal in its 2016 curtain-raiser.
Jordan Ivanco needed to make just 12 saves to record the shutout for the Stars, who held Brampton to the second-lowest shot total in tournament history.
Saskatoon made good on an early power play for all the offence it would need; after carrying the puck deep, circling the net and playing a quick game of give-and-go with Mackenna Parker, Grace Shirley beat Hannah Szczepanowski for the 1-0 goal just 5:10 in.
Both teams struggled to find their offensive footing in the opening 20 minutes, combining for just six shots (4-2 in favour of the Stars).
The Stars hit their stride in the second period, outshooting Brampton 15-4 and striking twice in just over three minutes to put the game out of reach. Calli Arnold was first, shovelling in a loose puck at the side of the net at 10:21, before Fiala powered her way to the net and went five-hole to make it 3-0.
Kaitlin Jockims cleaned up a rebound in front of Szczepanowski just past the six-minute mark of the third period, and Kianna Dietz danced her way through the Brampton defence to finish the scoring with just over five minutes to go.
It’s the fourth time in five years the Ontario champion has lost its opening game at Canada’s National Female Midget Championship, although each of the previous three has ended up winning a medal.
Saskatoon is back in action in the opening game Monday, taking on the Pionnieres de Lanaudiere (12 p.m. AT), while Brampton will face the Northern Selects in the second game of the day (3:30 p.m. AT).
“We worked hard and played a certain way to get here, so don’t change a thing. You have so much support at this tournament and back home. All you need to do to be successful is go out there and play the way you know how to play.”
Greg Slobodzian, head coach, Saskatoon Stars, on his message to his team before the game.
“We came in kind of shaky, but getting the first win gives us a lot of confidence for tomorrow and the rest of the week. We are taking it one game at a time, so it was good to get that first win under our belts. All year we’ve been a third period team. We have a no-quit mentality and everyone stayed positive on the bench. That helped keep us in the game and gave us the confidence to win.”
McKenzie Hewett, forward, St. Albert Slash
“We started out really well. We had some early power plays and got some good looks but couldn’t capitalize on them. We know we have a huge rivalry when we play Metro Boston Pizza because we know each other very well. They did a good job of plugging up the slot in our end, making it hard for us to get out of our zone in early in the third period.”
Troy Reid, head coach, Northern Selects