CALGARY - The Edmonton Thunder are off to the semifinals at the Esso Cup and can thank Brittany Esposito for getting them there.
Esposito scored three times and added an assist, as the Thunder (2-2) wrapped up the round robin portion of the national female midget championship with a 5-0 win over the Northern Stars on Thursday. Esposito opened the scoring early in the first period and finished off her hat trick with a pair 2:42 apart late in the second.
Jenna Klynstra and Heather Kashman also scored for the Thunder, who will face the Westman Wildcats in a Friday semifinal, while Carmanah Hunter picked up her first points of the tournament with a pair of assists.
Morgan Glover turned aside all 21 shots she faced to blank the Stars (0-4), who could not beat the Edmonton netminder despite a number of point-blank chances.
In Thursday's other match, the Sharks edged the Wildcats 3-1, setting up a semifinal between Scarborough and the undefeated host Calgary Flyers.
At 1:58 into the second period Sharks forward Nina Mammoliti fought through traffic and shovelled home a rebound past Wildcat goaltender Tara Lacquette to open the scoring.
Scarborough extended their lead 10 minutes later, as Sharks forward Annie Shapero fired a hard shot from the left circle. Lacquette made the save, but left a juicy rebound for Kaitlyn Keon, granddaughter of NHL Hall-of-Famer Dave Keon, who buried the rebound to give her team a 2-0 lead.
Wildcats' Brittany Phillips took a long stretch pass from her own defensive zone, went in on a breakaway and slid a slick backhand past netminder Marissa Kozovski with only 58 seconds left in the game.
Megan Wickens scored an empty-netter with only two seconds left, sealing the score at 3-1.
The Wildcats have lost two in a row after starting the tournament with a pair of wins. They will be looking to regain their composure versus the Thunder in Friday's other semi.
The winners of both matches will advance to the gold medal game on Saturday.