Lady Wolves move impressively on to gold medal game
by Randy Pascal
Jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period, the Sudbury Lady Wolves put together their best "start to finish" effort of the 2019 Esso
Cup Friday night at the Gerry McCrory Sports Complex, smothering the Stoney Creek Sabres with an impressive 5-0 semi-final victory.
The well-timed triumph advances the local entry to the gold medal encounter, Saturday at 4:00 p.m., where they will play the two-time defending champion
St Albert Slash from Alberta, the westerners shocking the Saskatoon Stars with a 2-1 overtime thriller earlier in the day.
The tone of the rematch of the Ontario final was established relatively early when Sudbury speedster Katie Chomiak darted the length of the ice,
centering a pass that would deflect in off the leg of linemate Hannah Smith, giving Sudbury the 1-0 lead.
Just over seven minutes later, the roles were reversed, as Chomiak banged home a juicy rebound on a shot from Smith, with Taylor Scott more or less
closing the book on this game entirely, wiring a wrist shot from the top of the circle before the end of the frame.
While two periods of hockey remained, it was clear that the Lady Wolves were not about to come close to letting this one slip away, outshooting the
Sabres 47-18 and allowing tournament MVP and top goaltender Mireille Kingsley to enjoy about as relaxing a shutout as one could expect against a
team as talented as Stoney Creek.
The home side capitalized on a five on three late in the frame, as Lauren Hancock scored four seconds after the expiration of the first penalty,
and Chomiak capped off a "Player of the Game" performance in the third, burying her fifth goal of the week.
Thanks to a goal from Madison Willan just 2:46 into the four on four overtime period, the Esso Cup championship affair will pit the only two teams
who needed to go beyond sixty minutes of hockey in round robin play, an exciting match in which the Lady Wolves prevailed 3-2 over the Slash.
St Albert and Saskatoon remained scoreless through forty minutes of play before a shot from the near boards, close to the hash marks by Dayle Ross
found the top short-hand corner, giving the Slash a 1-0 lead less than a minute into the third.
That 1-0 score was still intact when Kaitlin Jockims took a neutral zone pass from Joelle Fiala and blew past the St Albert defender,
tucking the equalizer in the far top corner with just 1:34 showing on the clock.
This set the stage for the heroics by Willan, the same player who incidentally scored the game-winning goal roughly one year ago this time when St Albert
trimmed Saskatoon 2-1 in the 2018 Esso Cup gold medal encounter.