Skip to content

Host Thompson Okanagan Lakers blank Atlantic champs in Vernon

Lakers score 2-0 victory over Nova Scotia squad as Esso Cup Canadian U18 women’s club hockey starts
Mena Bhatt (13) of Vernon celebrates what turned out to be her game-winning goal as the host Thompson Okanagan Lakers scored a 2-0 victory over the Northern Subway Selects of Nova Scotia in their opening game Sunday, April 21, at the Esso Cup Canadian U18 women’s club hockey championship at Kal Tire Place. (Facebook photo)

The hosts begin the Esso Cup Canadian women’s Under 18 hockey club championship with a shutout.

Goalie Reese Sliskovic of Kelowna made 27 saves as the Thompson Okanagan Lakers blanked the Atlantic champion Northern Subway Selects of Nova Scotia 2-0 on Sunday, April 21, at Kal Tire Place Arena in Vernon.

The Lakers take on the Edmonton Jr. Oilers, the Pacific Region representatives, in a battle of 1-0 teams Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at KTP. Edmonton opened the six-team event on Sunday with a 3-1 win over Quebec’s L’Intrépide de l’Outaouais.

After a scoreless first period Sunday, the host Thompson Okanagan team broke the goose egg with a goal from Mena Bhatt of Vernon at 4:01 of the middle frame. Kilah Hodder and Makena Vercholuk, both from Kelowna, drew assists.

Emma Kohl from Fruitvale added the insurance marker for the Lakers at 6:17 of the third period. The goal was set up by Holly Magnus of Vernon and Melani Brooks of Montrose (near Trail).

Jorja Burrows made 38 saves for the Selects, who are making their third straight appearance at the Esso Cup. They finished fourth in 2023 in Prince Albert, Sask. They have seven players returning this year, including Burrows, playing in her third straight Esso Cup.

She was 17-2 on the season with five shutouts, a goals-against average of 1.15 and a .951 save percentage.

After going 22-8-1-1 in the regular season – good enough for second place in the B.C. Elite Hockey League (BCEHL) – and sweeping the Greater Vancouver Comets in the first round of the playoffs, the Lakers joined an exclusive group of hosts who won their league titles by going on the road and vanquishing the two-time defending champion – and two-time Esso Cup silver medallist – Fraser Valley Rush in the BCEHL final.

That victory gave the Lakers an automatic spot in the tournament, but also a full month off ahead of the Esso Cup.

The other game on opening day saw Ontario’s North York Storm defeating the West Region champion Regina Rebels 7-6 in overtime, with Sydney Bowness scoring the winner at 4:22 of the extra period.

The Rebels evened their record at 1-1 Monday with a 7-1 win over L’Intrépide de l’Outaouais (0-2).

The Lakers play the Storm at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, face the Rebels Wednesday at 10 a.m., and complete the round-robin Thursday at 7 p.m. against the Quebec champs.

The complete tournament schedule can be found here.

The Esso Cup is the Canadian national women’s under-18 ice hockey club championship, sponsored by Esso. It is an annual event, sanctioned by Hockey Canada, that takes place each April.

READ MORE: Anticipation heightens as Vernon hosts Esso Cup

READ MORE: Vipers move game times to support Esso Cup in Vernon

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
Read more