CALGARY (CIS) – Valerie Lamenta, a second-year goaltender from the University of Guelph, was named the CIS player of the year in women’s hockey, Wednesday night.
Lamenta, a mechanical engineering student from Montreal, became the first Gryphon to claim the Brodrick Trophy and only the third netminder to receive the honour since the sport made its CIS debut in 1997-98, joining Liz Knox of Wilfrid Laurier (2010) and Olympic gold medallist Kim St-Pierre of McGill (2003).
Other CIS award winners announced at the Sun Life Financial All-Canadian Banquet held at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary were Ottawa forward Mélodie Bouchard, who was named the rookie of the year; Alberta forward Janelle Froehler, who merited the Marion Hilliard Award celebrating excellence in athletics, academics and community involvement; as well as Saint Mary’s bench boss Chris Larade, who was selected as the TIMEX coach of the year.
The CIS championship, hosted for the second straight year by the University of Calgary, gets under way Thursday at the Markin MacPhail Centre and culminates Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time (2:30 p.m. Eastern) with the gold-medal final, live on Sportsnet 360 and TVA Sports 2. Saturday’s semifinals are also televised live on Sportsnet ONE (2 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Mountain) and all 11 games from the eight-team competition will be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
BRODRICK TROPHY (player of the year): Valerie Lamenta, Guelph
A native of Montreal, Lamenta was nota highly-recruited prospect following her CEGEP career at Édouard-Montpetit. After personally reaching out to Guelph, she was given an opportunity to join the team and found herself as the No. 3 goalie on the Gryphons depth chart. Just a few years later, she is now the CIS player of the year.
Lamenta’s numbers in her university debut in 2014-15 as a backup to senior Stephanie Nehring were already impressive, including a 1.21 goals against average and a .943 save percentage. This season, the mechanical engineering student took it up another notch, finishing first in the country in GAA (0.99), save percentage (.957) and winning percentage (.889) on her way to a 16-2 record in 18 league contests, all of them starts. Thanks in large part to her stellar play, the Gryphons topped the OUA standings with a CIS-best mark of 21-2-1 and reached the top of the national rankings for the first time in program history in mid-November, a position they held on to for the rest of the season.
She continued to shine in the playoffs as her 1.44 GAA and .931 save percentage helped Guelph go 5-1 en route to its first OUA title since 1998.
“Valerie has become a leader for us both on the ice and in the classroom. As a mechanical engineering student, she has some heavy demands on her from an academic standpoint but has showcased the ability to manage her time perfectly when it comes to finding that balance between studying and training,” said head coach Rachel Flanagan. “An injury to our starting goalie gave Val an opportunity to take over the No. 1 spot, and she hasn’t looked back. Not only has she established herself as our No. 1, but also as one of the top goalies in the entire CIS. She is talented, competitive and, above all else, extremely humble. We’re so proud of her for this accomplishment.”
The other nominees were forwards Kelty Apperson of St. Thomas, Mélodie Daoust of McGill and Iya Gavrilova of Calgary.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Mélodie Bouchard, Ottawa
Bouchard is the first-ever member of the Gee-Gees to be named the CIS rookie of the year.
The five-foot-four centre was a dynamic scoring force in her first season with uOttawa, tallying 10 goals and 22 assists in 19 league contests to finish second in the country in points per game (1.68), just behind Olympic gold medallist Mélodie Daoust of McGill, who posted a 18-16-34 mark in 20 games (1.70).
Bouchard’s offensive skills, including a wicked wrist shot, also helped to lift Ottawa’s power play to a nation-best 24.4 per cent efficiency rate. The social sciences student scored three of her 10 goals with the man advantage. The product of Sept-Îles, Que., and alumna of CEGEP Édouard-Montpetit also set a new school record for assists in a season.
“Mélodie is a real competitor,” said head coach Yanick Evola. “She comes to work to the best of her ability on a daily basis so there’s no secret why she had so much success this season. We are very proud to have her on our team and excited about the next few seasons.”
The other nominees were goaltender Rebecca Clark of Saint Mary’s, forward Katrina Manoukarakis of Queen’s and forward Jaycee Magwood of Regina.
TIMEX COACH OF THE YEAR: Chris Larade, Saint Mary’s
In his fifth campaign at the helm of the Huskies program, Chris Larade became the second Saint Mary’s bench boss to be named CIS coach of the year. He joins Lisa MacDonald who shared the award with McGill’s Peter Smith in 2003.
This season, Larade guided his troops to the top of the AUS standings with a 17-6-1 record, good for an 11-point improvement from a year ago when the team took third place with an 11-11-2 mark. The Huskies finished second in the conference in goals for (69) and goals against (48) in 24 league contests. Saint Mary’s then went 4-2 in the playoffs on its way to capturing its first AUS banner since 2010.
Prior to joining the Huskies, Larade served as assistant coach for StFX, helping the X-Women claim an AUS title and make two CIS championship appearances. His past coaching experiences also include three years as head coach of the Metro Boston Pizza Female Midget AAA program of the NSFMHL, where the team captured three provincial and league titles and two Atlantic silver medals, and where he was twice named coach of the year. He was an assistant coach for Team Nova Scotia at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, and has also been heavily involved with Hockey Nova Scotia’s High Performance Program at the under-18 and U16 levels, winning five Atlantic Challenge Cups.
“Coach Larade has worked long and hard to rebuild the Saint Mary’s University women’s hockey program,” said athletic director Kevin Downie. “This CIS coaching award is a fitting testament to a job well done by a truly dedicated players’ coach.”
The other nominees were Yanick Evola of Ottawa, Rachel Flanagan of Guelph and Sarah Hodges of Regina.
MARION HILLIARD AWARD (hockey, academics & community service): Janelle Froehler, Alberta
Froehler, a fifth-year forward from Red Deer, Alta., is the second Panda to win the Marion Hilliard Award following U of A alumnus Taryn Barry, who merited the award in 2006-07.
The physical education and recreation student served as Alberta’s captain this season, helping lead the Pandas to first place in the Canada West standings with a 16-9-3 conference record. She collected seven goals and 13 points in 28 league games.
It was Froehler’s work off the ice, however, that earned her the conference nomination this year, as she gave her time to the Steadward Centre for Personal and Physical Achievement, read-in week at local elementary schools and the Edmonton Girls Hockey Association, while also helping organize a fundraising game to benefit student-athletes mental health.
“Janelle’s strength as a hockey player lies within her relentless work ethic, determination and perseverance. These attributes have helped elevate her to among the best penalty killers in our conference and the top PK player on our team,” said head coach Howie Draper. “She’s also the most consistently highest performing student on our team. She is a tremendous role model to her teammates, maintaining an outstanding balance between school, hockey and life.”
The other nominees were forwards Sarah MacNeill of Dalhousie, Olivia Sutter of McGill and Courtenay Jacklin of Queen’s.
The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.
Joining CIS player of the year Valerie Lamenta on the first unit were rearguards Julia Flinton of Saskatchewan (4-22-26 in 28 GP) and Katelyn Gosling of Western (4-14-18 in 24 GP), as well as forwards Iya Gavrilova of Calgary (20-23-43 in 28 GP), Dino teammate Alexandra Vafina (14-21-35 in 28 GP) and Mélodie Daoust of McGill (18-16-34 in 20 GP).
Gavrilova (2015), a three-time Olympian for Russia, was the CIS MVP a year ago. Daoust, a Canadian Olympic gold medallist, was the Brodrick Trophy winner in 2013 and the CIS rookie of the year in 2012, when she was also a second-team all-Canadian. Like Daoust, Gosling is now a three-time CIS all-star, including a second-team nod last season and a previous selection among the first group in 2013.
In addition to national rookie of the year Mélodie Bouchard of Ottawa, the second CIS dream team for 2015-16 is comprised of goaltender Émilie Bouchard of Moncton, defencemen Brittney Fouracres of McGill and Leigh Shilton of Guelph, as well as forwards Averi Nooren of Guelph and Breanna Lanceleve of Saint Mary’s.
Joining Mélodie Bouchard on the all-rookie unit were netminder Rebecca Clark of Saint Mary’s, blueliners Cristine Chao of Toronto and Jessica McCann of St. Thomas, with forwards Jaycee Magwood of Regina and Katrina Manoukarakis of Queen’s rounding out the selection.
2015-2016 CIS WOMEN’S HOCKEY AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS
Brodrick Trophy (player of the year): Valerie Lamenta, Guelph
Rookie of the year: Mélodie Bouchard, Ottawa
TIMEX Coach of the year: Chris Larade, Saint Mary’s
Marion Hilliard Award (hockey, academics & community service): Janelle Froehler, Alberta
Pos. Athlete University Year Hometown Academic Program
G Valerie Lamenta Guelph 2 Montreal, Que. Mechanical Engineering
D Julia Flinton Saskatchewan 5 Williams Lake, B.C. Agriculture & Biology
D Katelyn Gosling Western 5 London, Ont. Social Sciences
F Iya Gavrilova Calgary 5 Krasnoyarsk, Russia Arts
F Alexandra Vafina Calgary 3 Chelyabinsk, Russia Arts
F Mélodie Daoust McGill 4 Valleyfield, Que. Phys. & Health Educ.
G Émilie Bouchard Moncton 4 Casselman, Ont. Kinesiology
D Brittney Fouracres McGill 5 Calgary, Alta. Chemical Engineering
D Leigh Shilton Guelph 5 Belleville, Ont. Human Kinetics
F Mélodie Bouchard Ottawa 1 Sept-Îles, Que. Education
F Averi Nooren Guelph 4 Aylmer, Ont. Child, Youth & Family
F Breanna Lanceleve Saint Mary’s 3 Middle Sackville, N.S. Arts
G Rebecca Clark Saint Mary’s 1 Keswick, Ont. Environmental Science
D Cristine Chao Toronto 1 Toronto, Ont. Commerce
D Jessica McCann St. Thomas 1 Grand Bay, N.B. Arts
F Mélodie Bouchard Ottawa 1 Sept-Îles, Que. Education
F Jaycee Magwood Regina 1 Killarney, Man. Kin. & Health Studies
F Katrina Manoukarakis Queen’s 1 Scarborough, Ont. Phys. & Health Educ.