The Yukon’s junior female hockey team got its first win of the Arctic Winter Games on Monday and it was a doozie.
After a tight first period that ended 1-0, the floodgates opened as Yukon went on a scoring spree to beat Nunavut 11-0 at the Canada Games Centre.
“We needed a big win,” said Yukon head coach Louis Bouchard. “All of them brought their game up. For me, that line with Madison Logan, Chyanne Spenner and Sierra (Oakley) started producing and that’s going to take pressure off our regular scorers like Dana van Vliet, Linsey Eby and Tshayla Nothstein.
“Now we don’t always have to rely on the same ones to light up the scoreboard.”
Going into their day off on Tuesday, the Yukon squad had a 1-1-1 record. A win over Nunavut could be enough to make the playoffs, provided Nunavut remains winless. However, if Nunavut defeats N.W.T. on Wednesday, for example, Yukon and N.W.T. could tie for last and goals-for-and-against could determine which advances and which is eliminated.
“I didn’t want to run up the score against Nunavut, but we figure it might go down to us or N.W.T.,” said Bouchard. “One team doesn’t make it after the round-robin and we’re the only team that’s played three games so far.”
The third period was a rough one for Nunavut with Yukon scoring seven goals. With 28 shots on Nunavut in the third period alone, Yukon had roughly four times as many shots as Nunavut in the game.
“We didn’t get our movement going until the very end,” said Yukon game MVP Sierra Oakley. “We treat every game as a big game for us, we don’t underestimate any team because we were the underdogs (at the 2010 Arctic Games) and we came second.”
It was a breakout game for Oakley. The left-winger scored four goals, including two back-to-back two-and-a-half minutes apart in the second period to crack open the game.
Also scoring were Linsey Eby and Tamara Greek, each with two and one assist. Yukon assistant captain Dana van Vliet had a goal and assist while teammates Ashtyn Sandulak and Emilie Nugent each scored once. Lynsey Keaton and Adrianne Dewhurst both had two assists in the game.
Yukon goalie Teneesha Merkel got the shutout in what was Nunavut’s first game of the week.
Yukon’s win came just a few hours after taking a 4-1 loss to Alaska earlier Monday. It was 3-1 late in the game when Alaska got a goal as Yukon attempted to pull their goalie.
“There was confusion and they caught us off guard,” said Bouchard.
Scoring for the Yukon was van Vliet assisted by Oakley in the third period.
Though controlling the majority of the play, Yukon ran into a tough goalie on Sunday to open the Games, tying N.W.T. 2-2.
Yukon will be back on the ice to face Northern Alberta on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m. at the Canada Games Centre. Northern Alberta defeated N.W.T. 6-0 in their first game on Monday.
“It’s going to be a pretty intense, fast game, for sure,” said Oakley. “(In 2010) we had Alberta in the finals and it was a tough game then and Alberta is known to be a really strong team.”
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