Karly Heffernan supplied the heroics once again as the Edge School won the first ever Female World Sport School Challenge. Heffernan had also scored the gold medal winning goal at the 2013 IIHF U18 Women’s Worlds.
Edge School defeated the Okanagan Hockey Academy by a 5-2 win at the MTS IcePlex in Winnipeg. Heffernan assisted on the only goals of the first period (both scored on the power play) as Edge enjoyed a 2-0 lead.
Emily Monahan gave Edge a 3-0 lead as she scored at the 12:19 mark of the second frame. With 31 seconds remaining in the period, Alexa Ranahan would put Okanagan on the score board as they trailed 3-1.
With three minutes remaining in the final frame, the action heated up as Hannah Miller scored for Okanagan at the 17:04 mark. With one minute remaining, Okanagan opted for an extra attacker in the hopes of tying the score.
Once again, Heffernan made the difference as she scored an empty net goal to give Edge a 4-2 advantage. Cassandra Vilgrain would also log an empty net score (with 24 seconds remaining) as the Edge School preserved their lead to win the gold. Mark Chipman, the owner of the Winnipeg Jets, was on hand to present the gold and silver medals.
The Bronze medal game was a very dramatic and intense affair as the goaltenders supplied pulse-pounding performances. It was a very stout, hard-nosed defensive struggle as the first period resulted in each team only registering six shots on net.
Throughout two periods of play, there were only two penalties (both to Pursuit of Excellence) as both teams struggled to score. A lot of back and forth was evident throughout the first two stanzas as fans were waiting in anticipation of who would break the defensive stalemate.
With a third period penalty to Michela Esposito of Shaftesbury, the Pursuit of Excellence managed to capitalize. Halli Krzyzaniak (who played with Heffernan on the IIHF gold medal winning team) scored a power-play goal on Rachel Dyck for the only goal of the contest.
Player of the Game Awards in the gold medal game included Karly Heffernan from Edge and Alexa Ranahan from Okanagan. Sara Besseling of Pursuit of Excellence and Rachel Dyke from Shaftesbury were named Players of the Game in the Bronze Medal game.
The All-Star forwards for the tournament included Hannah Miller (Okanagan), Sarah Potomak (Pursuit of Excellence) and Cassandra Vilgrain (Edge School). On defense, the all-stars included Halli Krzyzaniak (Pursuit of Excellence) and Marie-Jo Pelletier (Rothesday). Goaltender Rachel Dyck (Shaftesbury) rounded out the selections.
The city of Winnipeg, Manitoba served as the host city for the event, which was the first-ever Canadian girls prep school hockey competition. Hosted by Hockey Canada, Jennifer Botterill was the official ambassador for the event.
Group A in this inaugural event featured teams from the following institutions of learning: Edge School (Calgary), Okanagan Hockey Academy (Penticton, BC), Fort Frances High School (Fort Frances, Ont.) and St. Mary’s Academy (Winnipeg). Of note, Winnipeg’s St. Mary’s Academy is the host school for the event.
In the opposing Group B, the teams included: Banff Hockey Academy (Banff, AB), Pursuit of Excellence (Kelowna, BC), Rothesay Netherwood School (Rothesay, NB) and Shaftesbury Hockey Academy (also from Winnipeg).
The event also served as a venue for players aspiring for an opportunity to compete at the NCAA or Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS). Scouts from several universities, including scouts from the Canada’s National Women’s Program, were in attendance.
Hockey Canada made a commitment to help sporting schools throughout Canada while also working towards the promotion of successfully balancing academics and hockey. St. Mary’s Academy is one of 15 sporting schools that have engaged in a formal partnership with Hockey Canada where infrastructure is in place to create educational opportunities while developing hockey skills.
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