Alberta Beats Western Rivals Saskatchewan in Semis, Will Play Ontario for Gold

Saskatchewan 2 – Alberta 6

Halifax, N.S. – Alberta came out strong in the first and kept up the momentum through all three periods in Friday’s second semifinal of the day, in the end defeating Saskatchewan 6-2 in a western Canadian on-ice rivalry at the Metro Centre.

The first two markers came within seconds of each other, the first from Bryanne Panchuk (Calgary, Alta.) on a power-play at 5:51 and the next from Katy Josephs (Cochrane, Alta.) at 6:07, with Heather Kashman (Edmonton, Alta.) contributing the assist.

Kashman improved Alberta’s lead to 3-0 at 13:17 in the period, crossing in front of the net and taking the shot on her backhand to send it soaring over the left shoulder of Saskatchewan netminder Krista Funke (Regina, Sask.).  Before the period was up, a couple of Saskatchewan penalties resulted in a couple of Alberta goals, with Melissa Kueber (St. Albert, Alta.) and Erika Sowchuck (Cochrane, Alta.) to give Alberta a comfortable 5-0 lead going into intermission.

But while Alberta skated away with the win, Saskatchewan owned the second, with Jessica Sibley (Luseland, Sask.) taking a pass out front and using some pretty stick work to deke out Alberta netminder Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta.) on a power-play just 23 seconds into the period, breaking the goose egg on the scoreboard for her province. Ellen Lind (Langham, Sask.) added another for Saskatchewan at 15:33 to make it 6-2 going into the third.

The rest of the game – and post-game celebrations – were all about Alberta. Amy Helfrich (Cochrane, Alta.) capped it off in the third for the final 6-2 score, and the spot against Ontario in Saturday’s gold medal game at the Dartmouth Sportsplex. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m., live on TN2. Alberta is the only team other than Ontario to ever win gold at the Canada Winter Games, at the inaugural women’s hockey event, held in 1991 in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

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