It was Team North’s second game of the 2019 National Aboriginal Hockey Championship Tuesday at Takhini Arena. In their early game they fought hard against Team British Colombia but could not overcome a two goal deficit and dropped the game 3-1. The North goal came from Kyra McDonald.
In the final game of the first day of the round-robin Team North faced off against Team Saskatchewan, a game which followed the opening ceremonies. Saskatchewan, playing their first game of the tournament, had the fresh legs and downed Team North 8-0.
Team Saskatchewan was led by player of the game Jessamy Sundby who recorded a hat trick in the win. She was also the first player on Saskatchewan to score.
Saskatchewan showed who had the fresher legs in the first period dominating the possession game and hemming Team North in their defensive zone.
While cycling the puck Saskatchewan got the puck out to the defenceman Mckenzie Mayo who took a shot from the point. Team North goalie Kaiya Storey made the initial save but Sundby was able to bang home the rebound three minutes into the game.
It didn’t take long for Saskatchewan to get on the board again. On a beautiful individual effort, Anna-Leise King worked from behind the red-line and walked out in front to slide the puck under the arm of Storey. The lone assist went to Kenzie Swiftwolfe.
The first period ended with Saskatchewan up 2-0.
In the second period Saskatchewan continued to apply the pressure on Team North but Storey stood strong in net stopping breakaways and odd-man rushes. She was named Team North’s player of the game.
It was Sundby again who managed to get the next puck past Storey.
Saskatchewan had sustained pressure in the offensive zone midway through the second. Starting behind the net, Sundby won the puck battle and quickly pivoted to the front for a wraparound which slide between Storey’s skate and the post. Madison Morris got the assist.
Up 3-0 the onslaught was on. Saskatchewan scored three more times in the second.
Jasmine Lamotte took a pass in the slot from King and she made no mistake as she found the top of the net under Storey’s arm. Story Navrot got the other assist.
On a delayed penalty Sundby found the back of the net again for the hat trick. She took a cross-ice feed from Jordyn Bear and fired it into the twine. The second assist was given to Kailey Ledoux.
Sundby said she was surprised to net a hat trick.
“It was really good,” said Sundby. “ I wasn’t expecting it.”
Bear scored the final goal of the second for Saskatchewan. Stealing the puck at the blue-line she skated down the middle and wired it into the top corner unassisted.
In the third, Saskatchewan continued to apply the pressure on Team North and they were awarded with two more goals.
Navrot potted the first midway through the frame on a nice feed from Anica Gauthier. Gwyneth Pritchard got the final goal on a cross-ice pass from Bear. Kyla Bear got the other assist.
Even after securing a lopsided win, Sundby said there are still fine details the team needs to work on.
“We played pretty well for the most part,” said Sundby. “We have a few things to work on but I think we were pretty good.
“We had a few turnovers that we shouldn’t have had and just making our passes more crisp.”
Saskatchewan’s next opponent is Team British Colombia, a team they are familiar with from last year’s Championship.
“We lost to them last year in the preliminary rounds,” said Sundby.
“Then we met up with them in the bronze medal rounds and we beat them. There will probably be a little bit of competition in between there.
“We are going to come out hard, make less turnovers, play our best and have everyone do their jobs.”
Saskatchewan and B.C. will face off at 2:15 p.m. at the Canada Games Centre.
Having played two games already Team North will not play today.