The Hawks used goals 45 seconds apart in the second period fromDanelle Im of Toronto, and Emily Kekewich of Kingston, Ont., tograb a lead that goaltender Amanda Smith of Burlington, Ont., wouldnot relinquish. The rookie netminder made 38 saves to record hersecond consecutive shutout of the series to take home Finals MVPhonours.
“I’m so proud of these girls right now,” said Smith followingthe victory. “I just wanted to do everything I could for thesegirls. “They’ve worked so hard to get here and here we ar e, and Icouldn’t think of a better group to celebrate this with.”
“It feels amazing,” added fifth year forward Devon Skeats ofWhitby, Ont., who was named the player of the game for the Hawks.”We’ve had such a history with Queen’s so it feels extra special.It’s been a bit of a roller coaster, but there’s no better way tofinish my last year, so I’m really happy.”
“It feels really, really good,” commented head coach RickOsborne, reiterating the thoughts of his players. “We’ve got suchquality veteran players on this team and no one knows how hard theywork and what we put them through to get to this point in theseason. There’s nothing that makes my heart warmer than twoshutouts to finish off the playoff series. I love those zeroes onthe board.”
In what was the highest paced contest of the series, bothLaurier and Queen’s brought their games to a new level on Sundaynight. The Gaels got off to a quick start as they got the firsteight shots on goal but Smith stood her ground and held off theearly pressure.
The Hawks would respond with pressure of their own thanks to acouple of powerplay opportunities later in the period. With Gaelscaptain Morgan McHaffie of Guelph, Ont., off for tripping, theHawks had two good chances against Queen’s goalie Mel Dodd-Moher ofStittsville, Ont., but the fifth year netminder denied them on bothoccasions.
Laurier would continue to up the tempo in the second periodthanks to the play of Skeats. The fifth year forward nearly openedthe scoring just minutes into the middle stanza but Dodd-Moher justdirected her shot wide.
Just minutes later however, Skeats would play a key role ingetting the scoring started. With the speedy forward driving thenet, Im threw the puck on goal and it m anaged to slide throughboth Skeats and Dodd-Moher in the crease to give Laurier the 1-0lead.
With the crowd buzzing, the Hawks came back strong after thegoal and just 45 seconds later, Kekewich poked a loose puck pastDodd-Moher to give the purple and gold a two-goal edge.
Needing to settle his team down, Queen’s head coach MattHolmberg called a timeout and tried to re-focus his team. The Gaelswould play strong for the rest of the period but could not put adent in the Hawks lead as they trailed 2-0 after 40 minutes.
In the third, the Hawks went into shutdown mode andrush-after-rush, denied Queen’s a clear path to the net. The Gaelswould direct 11 shots on Smith but very few that gave the rookiegoalie any trouble.
“Her rebound from game two at UOIT has been absolutelyphenomenal,” said Osborne of his goalie who was pulled in Game 2 oftheir opening round series against the Ridgebacks. She’s come backand she’s been so focused and so like a veteran. She had to battleKesteris and Dodd-Moher, two fifth-year goaltenders that areoutstanding athletes and goalies. And if anyone thought there was abig edge for the opposition, it was in that position. And you knowwhat, that position ended up being the MVP of the series.”
Late in the game, McHaffie took an undisciplined penalty as shedumped Smith behind the play and from there, the Hawks controlledthe final two minutes to claim their second OUA title in the lastthree years.
The Hawks now advance to the CIS Championship to be hosted bySt. Thomas University in Fredricton, N.B., from March 13-16.
“We need to enjoy the moment and feel really good but then Ihave to get them refocused and frame the next two weeks for them,”commented Osborne when aske d about preparing for nationals. “Webeat a hell of a team down there. They are really tough to playagainst, they’re well coached and I have a lot of respect for thatteam. And now we have to get ready for the next task at hand, whichis getting ready for our first shift at nationals.
Stay tuned to laurierathletics.com for complete championshipinformation.
NOTES: Rookie defenceman Jacky Normandeau of Uxbridge, Ont.,made history with the win as she became the first Laurier athleteto ever win two provincial titles with different teams in the sameyear…for fifth year graduating players Skeats and Candice Stylesof Orangeville, Ont., the OUA Championship is the third of theircareers…Laurier is now a perfect 3-0 in championship games/seriesagainst Queen’s having defeated the Gaels in single-eliminationgames in both 2003-04 and 2006-07
||Final – 2OT
|Canada West final – Game 3
Source: Daniel Herrick, Saskatchewan Sports InformationAssistant
SASKATOON – The No. 9 ranked University of Saskatchewan capturedtheir first-ever Canada West Championship with a 2-1 doubleovertime win Sunday at Saskatoon’s Rutherford Rink.
Kaitlin Willoughby scored the title winning goal on a slap shotfrom the top of the circle that deflected off a Reginadefender’s stick in front of the net before going five-holeon Cougar goaltender Jennifer Schmidt.
With the 2-1 series win Saskatchewan advances to the CISChampionship March 13-16 hosted by the St. Thomas UniversityTommies in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It will be the secondappearance for the Huskies at the CIS Championship, after making itas Canada West runners up in 2003-04. The Huskies finishedfourth.
Willoughby’s goal ended a three-game series that featured17 periods of hockey including the longest-ever Canada West game inGame 2. The series lasted 296 minutes of ice time. All threecontests reached at least two overtimes.
Regina’s dream playoff run that included two road serieswin comes to an end with the loss. The Cougars upset the ManitobaBisons in the first round before knocking off the top seed and thenation’s fifth-ranked team, the Alberta Pandas, in theconference semifinals.
Cassidy Hendricks was once again nearly unbeatable in net forSaskatchewan making 39 saves in Game 3 combining for 124 in theseries. Schmidt played well again for Regina making 40 saves on thenight to total 122 in the series.
The game showed all the signs of heading to overtime for a thirdnight in a row as the neither team could find a way to scorethrough the first two periods.
Saskatchewan would be first to get on the board at 4:46 of thethird period. Marley Ervine brought the puck into the Cougars zoneand dropped a pass off for captain Cami Wooster. From there Woostermade her way around one defender moving to her left. Her shotsailed just inside the left post on Schmidt’s glove side asthe Regina netminder’s momentum was going the other way.
Regina responded just past the midway point of the third. KristaMetz sent a low shot on goal from just inside the blue line thattook an awkward bounce off the pad of Hendricks. As Hendricksreached to coral it, it was Carleen Meszaros who got to the puckfirst, chipping it over the Huskie goalie to tie the game at one at11:17.
Both teams generated legitimate scoring chances in the firstovertime period, but could not find a way to solve eithergoaltender.
Seeding for the CIS Championship will be released early nextweek.