The support of a hometown crowd was not enough to help Laurier’s women’s hockey team capture a gold medal at the 2011 CIS Women’s Hockey Championships in Waterloo last week.
In fact, it wasn’t enough to help the Lady Hawks earn any medals at all.
Coming off an impressive year that saw Laurier finish first in the regular season standings in the OUA, Queen’s dumped the Hawks in the opening round of the playoffs in a two-game sweep.
It was the same Queen’s team that denied Laurier a medal at the national championship. Despite shutting out Manitoba by a 4-0 final Friday, a one-goal loss to St. Francis Xavier the night before sent the Golden Hawks to the bronze medal game.
In a physical and penalty-filled game, the action went back and forth. However, both goalies, Liz Knox for Laurier and Mel Dodd-Moher for Queen’s, stood on their heads throughout the contest.
Not until there was less than two minutes on the clock did the game have a goal. Unfortunately for the more than 700 in attendance, that goal wound up in the back of Laurier’s net.
Kerstin van Bolderen sent a backhander just under the crossbar off of a beautiful saucer pass from Elizabeth Kench.
With Dodd-Moher standing tall for the Gaels, that was all that was needed as she stopped all 33 shots in the 1-0 decision that gave Queen’s the bronze medal.
MCGILL CLAIM GOLD
The gold medal game saw two undefeated teams battle in the primetime game Sunday night. The McGill Martlets and St. Francis Xavier X-Women entered the tournament ranked first and second, respectively, and were poised for a showdown that promised to deliver.
Over 1000 fans packed the arena, many of which travelled all the way from Montreal and Antigonish to cheer on the teams. Signs for both sides lined the glass and chants reverberated through the arena.
In the end, however, McGill was just too strong. Led by Charline Labonte and Gillian Ferrari who are both Canadian Olympians, the fast McGill team wore down the X defense en route to a 5-2 victory.
After jumping out to a 4-0 lead off a goal by Jasmine Sheehan in the third period, McGill looked to have the game in hand. However, the feisty X-Women team would not let up and were able to pop two back-to-back goals and make it a game again.
Alessandra Lind-Kenny was able to score with just under four minutes left, though, and the Martlets went on to claim their third national championship in four years. The win also meant that the strong McGill team finished the season at 33-0.
It was a bitter loss for St. FX who had high hopes coming into the final game. In the end, McGill’s speed made it tough for Xavier to even compete with them.
“They’re the best team in the country without a doubt, but we battled them hard,” St. FX captain Suzanne Fenerty told reporters. “We didn’t give up and I thought we showed that in the third period.”
The future of McGill’s dominance in the women’s game will be dependent upon who returns to the Martlets, as five of their key players have the opportunity to graduate or stay on for an additional year next season.
For now, though, McGill is just basking in the glory of this impressive season.