by Geordie Carragher
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Sometimes, it only takes one. Jessica Kaminsky (La Salle, Man.) scored in the seventh round of a shootout Sunday afternoon, to lift the Pembina Valley Hawks (West) to a thrilling 1-0 victory over the Edmonton Thunder (Pacific) in the opening game for both teams at the 2012 Esso Cup at the CARI Complex.
Kaminsky, shooting for the second time in the shootout, sealed the game for Pembina Valley by faking a move to the right, then pulling the puck back to her left to fool Thunder goaltender Chloe Sanderson (Edmonton, Alta.)
The game was a goaltenders duel throughout, with Brittni Mowat (Glenboro, Man.) turning aside 33 shots for Pembina Valley, while Sanderson stopped all 26 shots she faced for Edmonton.
Edmonton and Pembina Valley traded scoring chances early in the first period, but Mowat and Sanderson kept the game scoreless.
The game’s intensity picked up considerably in the second period, and both teams found themselves in some penalty trouble.
Midway through the second, Pembina Valley was down two players for 63 seconds, and Edmonton applied constant pressure on the power-play. However, Mowat made several key saves to keep her team in the game, among them a save on Sasha Lutz (Edmonton, Alta.) from the top of the goal mouth.
The teams then traded chances again in the third, with Pembina Valley captain Madison Hutchinson (Manitou, Man.) having the best chance, ringing a wrist shot off the post with just over six minutes remaining. Hutchinson made her presence felt at both ends of the ice.
Sanderson saved Edmonton late in the game, making a huge save during a penalty kill in the final minute of the third, with Jessica Healey (Edmonton, Alta.) in the penalty box. She then saved Edmonton again with 90 seconds remaining in overtime, robbing Pembina Valley’s Lauryn Keen (Manitou, Man.) to send the game to the shootout.
The goaltenders stole the show once again in the shootout, maintaining their stalemate until Kaminsky’s shot in the seventh round.
Pembina Valley will kick off Monday’s games at 12 p.m. AT against the Rebelles de Saguenay-Lac St-Jean (Quebec), who lost 5-1 to Halifax Metro Boston Pizza (Atlantic) earlier Sunday. Meanwhile, Edmonton will look to rebound against the Thunder Bay Queens (Ontario) at 4 p.m. AT on Monday.