Quebec Reclaims Bronze at Canada Games in Comeback Win Against Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan 3 – Quebec 4

Dartmouth, N.S. – It took an inspired comeback and an overtime period for Quebec to earn its second straight women’s hockey bronze medal at the Canada Winter Games, with a 4-3 win over Saskatchewan inside the Sportsplex on Saturday afternoon.

Quebec also won bronze at the 2007 Canada Winter Games in Whitehorse, Y.T., and has now won bronze four different times at the event, which takes place every four years. Quebec took silver medals in both 1999 and 2003, when the Games took place in Corner Brook, N.L. and Bathurst, N.B., respectively.

Although Quebec earned bronze in the end, Saskatchewan didn’t give it up easily, putting up a feisty fight on the ice in hopes of medalling in women’s hockey at the Games for that province’s first time since winning the silver medal in 1995 in Grand Prairie, Alta. Saskatchewan had a surprising but crowd-pleasing start to the game when Kennedy Ottenbreit-Daunheimer (Grayson, Sask.) put her team on the scoreboard midway through the first. Lauran Zary (Saskatoon, Sask.) notched another in the last minute of the period and Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask.) made it 3-0 at 8:51 in the second to give Saskatchewan a lead that made it look the bronze might belong to them.

But while the first half of the game starred Saskatchewan, the second half was all about Quebec, starting with a beautiful goal at 11:34 in the second from Gabrielle Davidson (Pointe Clare, Que.), who sent a shot flying high into the net, the puck hitting the post before crossing the Saskatchewan goal line. Vickie Lemire (Hudson, Que.) added a pretty goal of her own to the scoresheet at 6:40 in the third and Laurence Porlier (Maria, Que.) sent it into overtime at 9:48 in the third.

Saskatchewan continued to show its spunk and sass on the ice during the fourth period, but Davidson secured the bronze medal at just 2:20 in the period, resulting in tears of disappointment for the determined girls from the Prairies and tears of joy for the comeback team Quebec.

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Alberta Defeats Defending Champions Ontario 3-2 to Win Gold

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.

New Brunswick and Yukon Show True Meaning of Sportsmanship on Last Day of Games

Yukon 0 – New Brunswick 10

Dartmouth, N.S. – New Brunswick may have won its last matchup at the Canada Winter Games by a wide margin, with a 10-0 shutout over the Yukon in relegation action, but it wasn’t so much about the score on the board as it was about the positive attitudes of players on both squads Saturday inside the Sportsplex.

The teams fought hard on the ice, but they also had a lot of fun doing it, with the New Brunswick players encouraging the less experienced Yukon players and raising their sticks in respect and admiration of the determined little squad from up north at the end of the game. The teams also posed for photos and mugged for the camera together at the end of the game, in a true display of sportsmanship that won’t soon be forgotten.

Sam Bujold (Rothesay, N.B.), Anissa Gamble (Fredericton, N.B.) and Connor Garagan (Fredericton, N.B.) all contributed a couple of markers each, while Heather Braun (Plaster Rock, N.B.), Schyler Campbell (Rexton, N.B.), Leanne Gallant (Newbridge, N.B.) and Josée Léger (Cap Pelé, N.B.) had singles  for New Brunswick.

Bram Scores Both Goals to Give Manitoba Edge Over British Columbia

British Columbia 1 – Manitoba 2

Halifax, N.S. – Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team member Shelby Bram (Ste. Anne, Man.) shone on the ice Saturday for Manitoba, scoring both goals for her team – including one in a shootout for the 2-1 edge over British Columbia in the final matchup for both teams at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax.

But it would be British Columbia to crack the scoreboard first, with Nicole Saxvik (North Vancouver, B.C.) making it 1-0 midway through the second. The teams continued to send the puck flying all over the ice in a competitive and entertaining game, with Bram finally tying it up for Manitoba on a powerplay just less than four minutes into the thrd. Ashleigh Brykaliuk (Brandon, Man.) and Kristine Grenier (St. Leon, Man.) assisted.

After that, the only numbers on the scoresheet were penalty minutes, sending the game into an eight-player shootout. Kristin Huber (Kelowna, B,C,) notched one for British Columbia and Meghan Dufault (Winnipeg, Man.) evened it up for Manitoba before Bram’s final game-winning, show-stopping goal.

Prince Edward Island Skates Away with 6-1 Win Over Maritime Rivals Nova Scotia

Prince Edward Island 6 – Nova Scotia 1

Halifax, N.S. – Six different players scored goals en route to Prince Edward Island’s 6-1 win over Nova Scotia in a Maritime matchup inside the Forum on the final day of the Games.

Blueliners Katherine Johnston (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) and Katie Parkman (Stratford, P.E.I.), along with Lauren MacLean (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) while her team was shorthanded, all scored for P.E.I. in the first to put the island up 3-0 going into intermission.

Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S.) scored Nova Scotia’s sole goal of the game at 4:44 in the second to narrow the gap to 3-1, but her team just couldn’t create the comeback needed in the second half of the game. Prince Edward Island’s Olivia Doughart (Summerside, P.E.I.) and Shannon MacAuley (Mount Herbert, P.E.I.) widened it to 5-1 for a comfortable lead going into the third.

Parkman and Doughart assisted Courtney Stewart (Hunter River, P.E.I.) to top it off at 6-1, giving Prince Edward Island regional bragging rights at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, N.S.

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.

Manitoba Beats Prince Edward Island 9-1 in Relegation Round

Prince Edward Island 1 – Manitoba 9

Dartmouth, N.S. – Kristine Grenier (St. Leon, Man.) contributed a hat trick and an assist, while Meghan Dufault (Winnipeg, Man.) had a couple of goals and both Jennifer More (Deloraine, Man.) and Kayleigh Wiens (Winkler, Man.) added a goal and an assist, to Manitoba’s 9-1 walloping of Prince Edward Island in relegation round action Friday at the Sportsplex.

Manitoba managed six goals on 17 shots in the first period alone, and didn’t let up on the P.E.I. net until the buzzer sounded, with Grenier scoring the final goal  of the night with a minute and a half left in the game. Prince Edward Island goalies Catherine Wood (Albany, P.E.I.) and Hayden Pridham (Alberton, P.E.I.) shared duties in nets, facing an impressive 40 shots over the course of the game. Prince Edward Island’s sole goal of the game came at 13:17 in the second from defenceman Emily van Diepen (Morell, P.E.I.), with assists from Olivia Doughard (Summerside, P.E.I.) and Kristy Lanigan (Montague, P.E.I.).

P.E.I. plays fellow Maritime province Nova Scotia in relegation Saturday, with the puck dropping at 6:30 p.m. at the Halifax Forum. Manitoba faces off against British Columbia in a battle for western bragging rights at 3 p.m., also at the Forum.