The St. Albert Slash are basking in the glow of Tyra Meropoulis’ golden goal as national champions.
The overtime hero was the only scorer in the Esso Cup midget AAA female final against the Harfangs du Triolet (Quebec) of Sherbrooke on Saturday at Morden, Man.
“It’s unbelievable. I’ve never been through this excitement in my life so it’s awesome,” said Meropoulis after the tournament record seventh win without a loss by the first team from Alberta to win the Esso Cup.
The Slash captain from Edson converted a pass by Madison Willan at 14:41 of sudden death for the historic goal.
“We were on a two-on-two and Madison dropped the puck back for me to pick up and I toe-dragged around their defenceman to go top shelf,” Meropoulis said of the team’s 45th shot on net. “It was an amazing feeling.”
Camryn Drever of Edmonton backstopped the Slash to their second consecutive 1-0 playoff victory while stopping 28 shots during the 75-minute gold-medal match for her fourth shutout in five starts at nationals.
“We all knew we could do it and from day one we were talking about winning and there was no doubt, we just all believed,” said the recipient of the tournament’s top goaltender award.
Drever also faced 20 shots in Friday’s semifinal against the Durham West (Ontario) Lightning and Willan potted the lone goal 57 seconds into the opening period.
“We had a few chances but the other team played really well and we just had to battle through with a one-goal lead and we protected our goalie and we stayed through it the whole way,” said Willan.
The Edmonton forward led the Slash in scoring with five goals and 10 points at the ninth annual Esso Cup.
“The kids played incredible all week,” said head coach Dan Auchenburg.
The Slash, a St. Albert Raiders Hockey Club team that made its debut in the 2004/05 season, competed at its second Esso Club but the first as the Pacific regional rep after hosting nationals in 2011.
More coverage to follow in Wednesday’s edition of the St. Albert Gazette.
– With files from Hockey Canada.