The Sudbury Lady Wolves kicked off their 2019 Esso Cup run in exactly the way they wanted: with a win.
The five best midget teams, representing Quebec, the Pacific region, the Western region, the Atlantic region and the Ontario Women's Hockey Association, are in the Nickel City all week to determine which team is the country.
The Lady Wolves are in an interesting position. As hosts, they automatically have a spot in the tournament. But, they aren't just a token team.
If you recall, the Lady Wolves' incredible offence as part of the Lower Lakes Female Hockey League and their amazing 19-1-2 season record earned them the OWHA championship title, meaning they would have competed in Esso Cup even if they weren't hosting.
A 21-game unbeaten streak this season is an impressive stat, but perhaps more impressive is the team's scoring stats. The Lady Wolves outscored their opponents 95-19 over 22 games. The team with the next-most goals was 14 markers behind Sudbury.
That scored punch didn't abandon them for their Esso Cup opening match against the Halifax Fire.
Three minutes into last night's opening game at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex, Lady Wolves forward Taylor Scott scored the first of her two goals, setting the stage for the rest of the game.
Midway through the period, the Lady Wolves' sharpshooter from Kapuskasing, Alexe Clavelle, scored on the power play to give the team a 2-0 lead.
Halifax's Courtney Boone scored a few minutes later to cut Sudbury's lead to one as the period was winding down.
Less than a minute into Period Two, Madison Laberge of the Lady Wolves would score to bring Sudbury's lead back to two goals, 3-1, on a perimeter shot that found its way into the net. Clavelle would one-time a goal less then three minutes later — her second power play goal of the game — to give the Lady Wolves a 4-1 lead.
Scott scored again for the Lady Wolves halfway through the second to bring the score to 5-1.
Sudbury notched 16 shots on goal in the second to Halifax's 3.
In the third, Katie Chomiak scored the Wolves sixth and final goal. The Fire's Allie Norris would score 30 seconds later, but it wasn't enough.
The Wolves' strong offence gave them a 6-2 win. Note Lady Wolves' goalie Cailen Hanzlik turned aside just 22 shots to earn the win, while Amelia Awad of Halifax had to make 39 stops to keep the Fire in the game.
Sudbury is back in action tonight at 7 p.m. against the St. Albert Slash, while Halifax takes on the Stoney Creek Sabres this afternoon at 3:30 p.m.