Maria Ayre sends a backhand shot on net during the Northern Capitals game against the Fraser Valley Rush during the regular season. The game was planned to take place outdoors, but had to be moved indoors in Fort St. James due to high temperatures. (Aman Parhar Photo - Vanderhoof Omineca Express)

Northern Capitals eliminated in BC Elite Hockey League finals

The Capitals boast players from Quesnel, Williams Lake and Vanderhoof

Submitted by Jason Peters, Cariboo Hockey

The Northern Capitals pushed the Fraser Valley Rush to the limit but fell short of a playoff championship.

The Rush clinched a best-of-three series in the U18 female division of the BC Elite Hockey League with a 5-1 win on Sunday in Langley. The Rush edged the Capitals 3-2 on Saturday, after the Caps won Friday’s opener 4-3.

In the deciding game, the Rush scored just 13 seconds after the opening faceoff and quickly added another goal for a 2-0 lead before the contest was two minutes old. Fraser Valley also scored late in the period for a 3-0 advantage going into the second.

Jessa Brewer replied for the Capitals late in the middle frame but the Rush tacked on two unanswered goals in the third period to seal the victory.

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Goal-scorers for the Rush were Gillian Lapierre (2), Julia Clauzel, Leah Barnard and Vienna Rubin.

Rebecca Noble (Rush) and Karsyn Niven (Capitals) were the starting netminders.

In Saturday’s must-win game for the Rush, they struck for three consecutive goals after Camryn Ward opened the scoring for the Capitals in the first period. Brooklyn Hutchings got one back for the Caps with 12:38 to play but the Rush held on for the victory.

Anna McKee, Barnard and Te-Huei Meng scored for Fraser Valley.

Noble and Sierra Eagles handled the puck-stopping duties.

In the series-opener, the Rush had a 3-1 advantage after 20 minutes but the Capitals stormed back with three goals in the second period. After a scoreless third period, the Caps had themselves a comeback victory.

Armstrong finished with a hat trick for the Capitals and Hutchings had the goal that stood up as the winner. Lapierre, Clauzel and Rubin answered for the Rush.

Niven (Capitals) and Clara Juca (Rush) drew the starting assignments in net.

During the regular season, the first-place Rush skated to a 28-3-1-0 record, while the second-place Caps went 22-7-0-3.

In eight head-to-head games between the teams, the Rush won six times and the Capitals prevailed twice. Two of the Rush victories came in overtime.

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