A third period goal from Gabrielle Davidson lifted the No.4 McGill Martlets past the No.1 UBC Thunderbirds, 1-0, in the matinee semifinal at the 2017 U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Championship at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ont.
The Martlets earned a berth to Sunday’s 7 p.m. ET gold-medal game, while UBC will skate for bronze at 3 p.m. ET.
McGill’s opponent, as they look for a fifth national championship in program history, will be the winner of the 7 p.m. ET semifinal between No.6 Alberta and No.7 Concordia.
“Honestly it was a really intense game,” said McGill head coach Peter Smith. “I though that both teams played real well but we’re just happy to be back in that gold medal game.”
Looking ahead to the national championship Sunday, Smith knows his team needs to find ways to score.
“I thought our powerplay was good (in that) we created a lot of chances, we didn’t get the puck in the back of the net, (and) that’s something we need to get a little bit better at.”
Both goaltenders were superb in their respective nets, with UBC’s Amelia Boughn turning aside 29 of 30 shots sent her way in the loss. McGill’s Tricia Deguire stopped all 17 shots en route to a shutout.
The game was fast-paced, but it was goaltending that stole the show early. In the first period, McGill had two great chances off the rush, but were unable to beat Boughn.
With both teams spending a great deal of time in the penalty box, special teams became a key component throughout the 60 minutes. The Martlets were able to create chances in the second on the man-advantage, but once again Boughn stood tall for UBC.
In the third, McGill was finally able to find the back of the net with just 2:29 left in the third period. After a UBC powerplay was cut short due to a penalty against Kelly Murray, Davidson was able to find space in the slot and hammer in a one-timer shot off a feed from First-Team All-Canadian Melodie Daoust. The goal was all that McGill needed, as they hung on in the final minutes to claim a 1-0 victory.
“It’s tough, I’m still a little bit in shock,” said UBC head coach Graham Thomas in an emotional post-game interview. “This is why you hate the game, this is why you love the game — I’m really proud of our group and all the firsts we’ve accomplished this season.”
GAME NOTES: McGill will seek its first national championship since 2013-14 on Sunday…UBC has never won a national title…McGill’s Gabrielle Davidson leads tournament scoring with three goals… The game saw a total of 16 penalties called.
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