EDMONTON (ISN) – In their tenth-straight medal game, the No.2 McGill Martlets earned their sixth bronze medal with a 4-0 victory over the OUA champion and top-ranked Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, Sunday afternoon at Clare Drake Arena.
The Martlets have now collected a medal in seven straight years, and in the program’s history, have hauled in three gold and three silver to go with their six bronze.
Championship website (including webcast): http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/wice/index
Senior forward Anne-Sophie Bettez netted a goal and two assists in the win and Michelle Daigneault, hailing from Hay River, N.W.T., scored the winner and added a helper. Beaconsfield, Que. native Leslie Oles scored her third goal in two games while CIS Rookie of the Year Mélodie Daoust rounded out the scoring. Netminder Charline Labonté continued her stellar play at the championships, notching her second shutout in three tournament games. She finishes her career with 180 games at McGill, posting a 160-17-3 record a 0.948 SV% and a 0.98 GAA with 81 shutouts.
Puckstopper Erika Thunder made 22 saves, finishing the tournament with 52 saves, one shutout, and one win for the Golden Hawks who came in as the top-seeded team.
“We had a really good regular season,” commented Laurier head coach Rick Osborne. “We went undefeated in regulation, we regained the OUA title, but coming here for the championship, we were cautiously optimistic. We knew we had some warts, and when you get to this championship, because the other teams are so good, they tend to find your warts pretty quick and expose you over them.”
The Golden Hawks came out strong in the first five minutes of the game, outshooting McGill 4-1, but it was the Martlets who opened the scoring, Daigneault putting a point shot through traffic that Thunder caught a piece of, but the puck still trickled through the five-hole 5:44 into the game.
McGill then carried the play for the rest of the first and throughout the second, managing to double their lead on a strange bounce. A deflected puck flew high into the air and came down on to Oles’ shoulder, the puck then taking an awkward hop on the ice to go over Thunder’s pad and across the goal line.
Entering in the third down by two, Laurier pressured again throughout the third period, but the Martlets continued to add to the scoreboard, Bettez receiving a pass from Darragh Hamilton while she streaked down the right side, firing a shot from the top of the circle to make it 3-0 at the 1:02 mark of the final frame.
Daoust would round out the scoring with 7:16 left when she buried a cross-ice feed from Bettez before McGill received their bronze medals.
“It’s tough to give up one goal all tournament and only walk away with a bronze medal,” stated McGill head coach Peter Smith. “I thought we showed real character by bouncing back today and getting the win. You always want to end your season on a win.”
The Martlets expects to lose a half-dozen players to graduation at the end of the season, including five-time all-Canadians Charline Labonté (G) and Ann-Sophie Bettez (F) who was the 2008 national rookie of the year, plus four-time all-Canadian defencemen Cathy Chartrand (D), 2011 Championship MVP Jordanna Peroff (F), and Lainie Smith (F).
“We’re going to have some real holes to fill before next season,” continued Smith, “but fortunately, when you have players like this group of graduating players, you tend to attract some really good talent, too. So yeah, it will be tough to play without them, but at the same time, it provides an opportunity for some players to step into new roles next season and really shine.”
“It’s really special to win this last game, win a medal and go out feeling good with this group of players,” said Chartrand. “This isn’t the medal we wanted, but we showed real character today because we wanted this win pretty bad. Playing university hockey is about more than hockey; these girls, your teammates, become your family, so this final win was really special.”