Ontario 2 – Alberta 3
Dartmouth, N.S. – What a game, what a way to end a week of women’s hockey at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, N.S.
After winning the first-ever gold medal for women’s hockey at the Games, held in Charlottetown, P.E.I. back in 1991, Alberta finally earned its way back to the top of the pack in Saturday night’s gold medal game at the Sportsplex, defeating four-time championship winning team Ontario 3-2 in a fast-paced, action-packed game.
Although neither team could put the puck in the net during the first, the second period saw Alberta earn a quick and comfortable lead, with two power-play goals within less than a minute of each other from Bryanne Panchuk (Calgary, Alta.) and Brittney Fouracres (Airdrie, Alta.). Panchuk made it 3-0 at 16:48 in the period, sending Ontario players and fans alike into a bit of a panic and Alberta players and fans into excited cheers that echoed throughout the arena.
It seemed as though Ontario regrouped during the second intermission, as the four-time gold medallists came out cool and collected in the third, determined to make it five straight at the Games. Cayley Mercer (Exeter, Ont.) got her team on the board at 4:03 and Emily Fulton (Stratford, Ont.) used a power-play to narrow the gap at 15:57 in the period.
But despite Ontario’s best efforts, four minutes simply wasn’t enough time for the team to notch another and earn an overtime period. Time ran out on the clock and the Albertans scrambled off their bench and onto the ice to let the celebrations commence.
With proud family members watching, and satisfied hockey fans filing out of the doors, the young girls from Alberta embraced their medals and each other after a well-deserved win at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.