The Weyburn Southern Range Gold Wings battled hard all season to make it as far as they have and weren’t about to start out at the Esso Cup, the national female midget championship, by losing their first game.
“The girls just work hard and win,” said head coach Chad Kish. “They’re doing their job.”
The Gold Wings defeated their first opponents, the Sudbury Lady Wolves, who were the Ontario regional winners, with a last minute goal to bring the score to 2-1. The Lady Wolves were the first to score, during a power play early in the first period, but never put one in the net for the rest of the game. Their lead was kept to one point only by several sprawling saves by Wings’ veteran goalie Jane Kish.
Madison Solie scored first for the Gold Wings to tie the game up heading into the third. As the game headed into the third period, the score remained tied until the last minutes of the period when Whitrow pulled it out, with an assist from Cassidy Pirlot and Bailee Bourassa, for a Gold Wings victory.
“To be honest I don’t think I did much of the work,” Whitrow said of the game-winning goal. “She shot it right at me and it went in.”
“It really gave us that extra push,” said Gold Wings goalie Jane Kish, who made 26 saves and earned Player of the Game honours for her team. “Defenceman Madison Solie really did some great things on that four-minute kill. I think I even told her, ‘You rock.’ ”
While Kish made her 26 saves, the rest of the team battered the Lady Wolves goalie with 23 shots on goal.
On Monday morning, the Gold Wings played the Edmonton Thunder, a team with a strong history of winning the Esso Cup. A fast-paced first period resulted in no goals for either team, but the Weyburn girls found the back of the net first early in the second period. Whitrow scored with an assist from Pirlot. Hot on their heals, the Thunder scored a few minutes later.
Early in the third, Bailee Bourassa scored, with another assist from Pirlot, who scored a third goal a few minutes later with an assist from Whitrow and Bourassa.
The Thunder scored a second goal with half a period left to bring the score to 3-2, and the pace of the skaters amped up even more. With only minutes left in the game, Caitlin Dempsey, with an assist from Whitrow, scored a fourth goal for the Wings to secure the win. The Wings beat the highly reputable Thunder with a score of 4-2.
Following the game Monday, three Gold Wings were in the top ten for scoring at the championship cup. Pirlot and Whitrow were tied for first on the leaderboard for the five points they both scored and Bourassa was tied for third with three points to her credit.
Despite the Gold Wings’ early victories at the Esso Cup, the team hasn’t taken time to celebrate yet. Coach Kish said the girls were still focusing on the long road ahead of them to the cup.
“Our goal is to make it to the top tier (in the playoffs) and anything after that is just great. …We want to bring a few things home,” said Chad Kish, referring to the team’s drive to win the championship. He said he hopes they get to bring home a cup.
On Tuesday, the Wings played the Fraser Valley Phantom and the Stoney Creek Sabres today (Apr. 23), though no scores were yet available as of publication.