SCHUTTLER SCORES WINNER TO GIVE SLASH SECOND-STRAIGHT WIN
MORDEN, Man. – Makenna Schuttler scored the game-winner midway through the second period, lifting the St. Albert Slash past the Pembina Valley Hawks 2-1 on Monday night at the 2017 Esso Cup to keep the Pacific Region champions unbeaten.
It was the Hawks who opened the scoring, early in the first, feeding off the energy of another big hometown crowd. Captain Mackenzie Hutchinson called for the puck on the point, but ripped her first shot wide of Slash netminder Camryn Drever. As the play continued, Toni Conrad found Hutchinson again, who worked her way into the high slot and beat the screened Drever with a wrist shot.
Pembina Valley could not maintain that momentum though, as St. Albert carried the play for most of the first. Stephanie Markowski saw an opportunity to even the score, using a Hawks defender as a screen on goaltender Halle Oswald. Markowski placed the shot perfectly over the blocker, tying the game 1-1 with her second of the tournament.
In the second period, the play started to even out as the Hawks pushed back on the Slash, forcing Drever to make some timely saves. Her teammates would reward her midway through the frame; Shyla Kirwer sent a shot in on Oswald, who couldn’t corral the rebound. Schuttler picked up the puck in the slot and slid it to the back of the net for a 2-1 Slash lead.
The pace seemed to increase as the game wore on, with the teams trading chances late in the second. Madison Willan was waiting on the doorstep for a cross-crease pass, but Oswald used all of her 5-foot-8 frame to go post-to-post and make the save. Drever answered back a few minutes later stopping a point-blank one-timer from Hannah Petrie.
By the end of the second, shots were 37-16 in favour of the Slash, though the Hawks put up 12 shots in the second stanza alone. The host team carried that momentum into the third, looking for the equalizer.
With just over a minute to go and a crowd battling in the low slot, Drever made a toe save on a scrambled shot, keeping the Slash ahead and securing her team's second win in as many nights.
Play continues at the Esso Cup Tuesday, with the final two unbeaten teams, St. Albert and Triolet, meeting at 3:30 p.m. CT. Pembina Valley faces Durham West at 7 p.m. CT, with both teams sitting at 1-1 and looking to pick up another three points.