ST. ALBERT, Alta. – The Notre Dame Hounds (West) never lost heart.
From settling for silver in 2010 to defeating the Edmonton Thunder (Pacific) 5-2 to for the goldmedal in 2011, there’s no doubt the Hounds were determined to make their Esso Cup dreams come true.
And that they did Saturday night on the ice at Servus Place, with team captain Jennifer More (Deloraine,Man.) getting her team a step closer by jumping on a powerplay chance and redirecting a Daniella Matteucci(Fruitvale, B.C.) shot to give the first Notre Dame goal of the night just five minutes into the first.Taylor Woods (Wilcox, Sask.) also assisted to help make it happen.
But the Edmonton Thunder, who finished in first during preliminary action at the 2011 Esso Cup and madetheir third straight appearance at the tournament in St. Albert, appeared to be just as determined to claimCanada’s National Female Midget Championship bragging rights, with Thunder captain Heather Kashmancapitalizing on a powerplay by letting a quick snap shot go and sending the puck into the back of the NotreDame net at 12:32 in the period.
Edmonton was able to hold off the Hounds through most of the second, but Natasha Kostenko (Fannystelle,Man.) fed Courtney Jacklin (Regina, Sask.) at 16:25 in the period, putting the game-winning goal on thescoreboard.
From that point on, Notre Dame claimed the game, and ultimately the gold medal as their own, with Morescoring her second goal of the night, again on the powerplay. Alyssa Threadkell (Cold Lake, Alta.) followedup with another for the Hounds, and while Jessica Sekulic (Edmonton, Alta.) tried to get her team back in thegame at 18:49, Olivia Howe (Moose Jaw, Sask.) scored on the empty Edmonton net in the last 20 seconds of thegame to seal the 5-2 win.
So, just as Notre Dame alumna Mandi Schwartz “never lost heart” despite losing her long battle againstleukemia, the Hounds competing at the 2011 Esso Cup never did either, inspired by the strength andperseverance of the players that come before them.