T-Birds advance to 8th straight McCrae Cup Final


Fourth-year veteran Stephanie Norlander scored three goals to give the top seeded UBC Thunderbirds the right to defend their title after a 5-0 victory over the OUA silver medalist Guelph Gryphons on Day 3 of the 2016 CIS field hockey championship at the University of Toronto’s Back Campus Fields.

UBC, who have won a U Sports-leading 17 national titles, including the last five, will appear in their 25th national gold-medal match tomorrow at 3 p.m.

The T-Birds finish the round robin with a 2-0-1 record and will face either the No. 2 Toronto Varsity Blues or No. 3 Victoria Vikes, with Victoria needing at least a tie in this afternoon’s game to book their ticket to the final.

A 2016 U Sports all-Canadian from North Vancouver, Norlander now leads the tournament with five goals through round robin action.

“Stephanie has been amazing for us all season,” said Robin D’Abreo, who is in his third season as UBC head coach. “She is obviously an incredible athlete and very talented player but what I have really been appreciative of is how quickly she has become entrenched into our team and our culture and she’s had a really positive impact off the field as well.”

The T-Birds wasted no time as first-year defender Hannah Eborall of Beamsville, Ont., entered the circle and beat Gryphons goalie Morgan Kelley in the second minute for the eventual game-winner. Norlander put UBC up by two in the 31st minute and the No. 1 seeds took a 2-0 lead into halftime.

Norlander added her second of the game in the 39th minute and completed the hat trick six minutes later. She then set up fellow all-Canadian Hannah Haughn, who dove to tip in a pass in the 54th minute to round out the victory.

“We are ready for them, whichever team it happens to be,” said Gryphons head coach Michelle Turley. “We’re up for the challenge and I think we have a really good shot at it. We are leaving here today on a positive note, ready to come out ready to go tomorrow.”

Guelph (0-3-0) will kick off the final day of competition against either the Vikes or Blues in the bronze medal match at 12:30 p.m.

UBC: 2-3: 5
GUE: 0-0: 0

First half
UBC Hannah Eborall (1), 2nd minute
UBC Stephanie Norlander (3), 31st minute

Second half
UBC Stephanie Norlander (4), 39th minute
UBC Stephanie Norlander (5), 45th minute
UBC Hannah Haughn (1), 54th minute

UBC: Gabriella Switzer (W, 70:00, 0 GA, 1-0-0)
GUE: Morgan Kelley (L, 70:00, 5 GA, 0-3-0)

Players of the game
UBC: Stephanie Norlander (North Vancouver, B.C.)
GUE: Elizabeth Pritchard (Tsawwassen, B.C.)


Round-robin standings

GP       W        L          T         GF       GA      PTS
1. UBC             4          2          0          1          9          3          7
2. Victoria        2          1          0          1          5          3          4
3. Toronto        2          1          1          0          6           4         3
4. Guelph         4          0          3          0          3           13         0

NOTE: 3 points for a win and 1 point for a tie.

Thursday, Nov. 3
16:00 Game 1: Victoria 4, Guelph 2
18:30 Game 2: UBC 3, Toronto 2

Friday, Nov. 4
16:00 Game 3: UBC 1, Victoria 1
18:30 Game 4: Toronto 4, Guelph 1

Saturday, Nov. 5
12:30 Game 5: UBC 5, Guelph 0
15:00 Game 6: Toronto vs Victoria (SportsCanada.TV)

Sunday, Nov. 6
12:30 Bronze medal Match (SportsCanada.TV)
15:00 Championship final (SportsCanada.TV)

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