Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Stars sink defending Esso Cup champion Slash

Saskatoon a win away from locking up first in round robin play

Mackenna Parker had the winning goal for the Stars on Tuesday.
    The Saskatoon Stars picked up their biggest win at this year’s Esso Cup knocking off the defending champs.
    On Tuesday, the Stars improved to 3-0 in round robin play at the female midget AAA hockey championship tournament downing the defending national champion St. Albert Slash from Alberta 4-1. The Stars trailed 1-0 early before rallying with four straight goals at the Lunenburg County Lifestyle Centre in Bridgewater, N.S.
    The Slash are trying to become the first team to win the Esso Cup in consecutive years. They fell to 2-1 with the setback.
    Saskatoon has opened the Esso Cup on an impressive run. The Stars blanked the Brampton Canadettes from Ontario 5-0 on Sunday and the Pionnieres de Lanaudiere from Quebec 3-0 on Monday.
    With the victory over the Slash, the Stars have defeated the teams from the three provinces in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta that traditionally do well at the Esso Cup, which is being held for the 10th time this year.
    In Tuesday’s encounter between the Slash and Stars, St. Albert jumped in front 1-0 on a goal from Allison Reich at the 7:19 mark of the first period.
    Just over six minutes later, the Stars evened things up at 1-1 on a goal from rookie left-winger Calli Arnold, who turned 15 earlier this month. Stars superstar captain Mackenna Parker scored to give the Stars a 2-1 lead just 30 seconds after Arnold scored.
    Saskatoon held a 9-5 edge in shots on goal after the first period.
Jayda Sachs had an assist for the Stars on Tuesday.
    The Slash came with a big push back in the second holding a 12-7 edge in shots on goal, but they were unable to solve Stars 17-year-old veteran goalie Jordan Ivanco. Saskatoon continued to hold a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
    The Stars proceeded to find another gear in the third period. Defender Dana Wood and right-winger Jayda Sachs set up Joelle Fiala for a goal to give Saskatoon a 3-1 edge.
    Anna Leschyshyn netted the Stars final tally to seal victory for the Saskatchewan Female Midget AAA Hockey League champs. Saskatoon held a 16-4 edge in shots on goal in the third period.
    Ivanco stopped 20 shots to pick up the win in goal for the Stars. Camryn Drever turned away 28 shots to take the setback in goal for the Slash.
    The Slash went a perfect 7-0 at last year’s Esso Cup tournament to win the national championship. They saw their nine game overall winning streak at the Esso Cup come to an end with Tuesday’s loss.
    With the win, the Stars clinch a berth in one of Friday’s two semifinal matches. Saskatoon needs to win one of its final two games in round robin play to lock up first place in the round robin standings.
    On Wednesday, the Stars return to action taking on the host Metro Boston Pizza (0-2-1) squad. The Stars conclude their round robin schedule on Thursday against the Northern Subway Selects (1-1-1) from New Glasgow, N.S.
    Six teams take part in the Esso Cup, and the top four clubs advance on to two semifinal games to be held Friday. The tournament’s bronze and gold medal games are slated for Saturday, and the gold medal final will be shown live at 4 p.m. Saskatchewan time on TSN.

Back in the Express with Mandarich

    I was back in the Saskatoon Express this week with a story on former NFL offensive lineman Tony Mandarich.
    Mandarich will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Dogs’ Breakfast, which will be held May 3 at 6:45 a.m. at Prairieland Park. The Dogs’ Breakfast raises funds for scholarships for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies football team.
    Born and raised in Oakville, Ont., Mandarich became a star in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s top football division with the Michigan State University Spartans being named a consensus all-American in 1988 and the Big 10 Conference lineman of the year in 1987 and 1988.
    He was dubbed by Sports Illustrated as “the best offensive lineman prospect ever” and selected in the first round and second overall by the Packers in the 1989 NFL Draft behind quarterback Troy Aikman, who would later enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
    After three lacklustre seasons, the Packers released Mandarich and Sports Illustrated labeled him “The NFL’s Incredible Bust” in a 1992 article.
    He battled drugs and alcohol abuse until his family intervened in March of 1995 and helped him enter rehab and become sober. In an often overlooked epilogue to his time in the NFL, Mandarich returned to the league playing three season for the Indianapolis Colts, which included starting all 16 games in the 1997 campaign.
    A shoulder injury pushed him into retirement following the 1998 season.
    These days, Mandarich lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, pursuing a passion as a full-time photographer, creative and digital artist creating commercial and advertising campaigns for clients.
    The Saskatoon Express story on Mandarich can be found right here.
    Anyone looking for tickets to the Dogs’ Breakfast can do so by clicking here.

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