It was an ideal start for Team B.C., who scored the first goal of the medal game, when Hannah Miller potted the opening goal on the power-play 10:08 into the first.
The home team added to that lead 1:35 into the second, on a great individual effort from Leah Lum. With Team Ontario on the power-play, Lum caused a turnover at the B.C. blue line, stripping a defenseman for a breakaway. The Richmond, B.C. native showed some serious skill with a couple of quick stick handles, pulling the puck to her backhand and over the pad of Ontario Red goaltender Camille Leonard.
The short-handed goal for B.C. provided the home team a 2-0 lead, which to the dismay of the home crowd, didn't last long. With the clock reading 7:14 in the second, Kristyn Capizanno fought hard to get to a lose puck in front of B.C. goalie Michaela Logan, eventually slipping the puck past Logan, cutting the lead in half, 2-1.
The third period began with Ontario Red looking for a spark. Enter Sarah Nurse.
With only 4:19 remaining in the game, B.C. found themselves in penalty troubles, and a five-on-three for Ontario Red proved to be costly, as Nurse scored to tie the game at 2-2, sending the bronze medal game into overtime.
Nurse, playing in her second Under-18 tournament, wasn't done with her afternoon heroics, as she located a loose puck at 3:55 into overtime, quickly turning and throwing it on net, sending the Ontario Red bench into eruption as the puck slipped past Logan for the bronze medal winning goal.
After an emotional conclusion to the tournament, Nurse says that even though her team was down, they never thought they were out.
“I think after their first goal we kind of gripped our sticks a little too hard, lost our game plan a little bit and got caught running around. So when we got back to our game plan we really worked well together and we got the goals.”
Following the tough game, Team B.C. head coach Sylvain Leone says he was pleased with his team’s effort and despite the loss, it’s experiences like these that help athletes develop into better players.
“They worked hard out here today, played better than we did the other day against this team and competed hard. We had the game in our grasps and those are the bounces that happen. For them if they can go home and maintain their level of play, make their team-mates better, train harder this summer so that next year they can win the game that we didn’t win. Then they are proving the program, proving themselves and putting themselves one step closer to achieving their goals.”
Even though the tournament is over for Team, B.C., it’s not the end of their Hockey Canada careers. Scouting has already begun for the Under-18 National team, which is followed by the Under-22 tournament, as well as many opportunities at the college level.
Player of the Game honours were awarded to defenseman Alexa Ranahan of Team B.C. and Ontario Red’s fellow blueliner, Lauren Wildfand.
Following the gold medal game, Team Manitoba faced off against Team Ontario Blue in the gold medal game, where Ontario Blue emerged and tournament champions courtesy of a 4-2 score.