Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Rundown - Week 23

More and more teams are falling to the wayside as the CIS Women's Hockey Championship picture becomes clearer. Calgary will play host to the CIS Championship, so we know one team that will be attending the big dance in the Calgary Dinos. We still need a participant from the four conferences, however, so we'll get down to business shortly. First, we go back to last week's series of games as one AUS series was still being decided. Let's get this show on the road as we work through the week's games on The Rundown!

Maritime Undecided Semifinal

G3 - ST. FRANCIS XAVIER at SAINT MARY'S: This game was played on Tuesday, and it was one of the best in the CIS Playoffs so far! We'd need extra time in this one as both teams played through 60 minutes without scoring. The first overtime period solved nothing. The second overtime period saw the 0-0 tie persist. This game would come to an end in period six, though, as Mary Worndl scored at 1:39 past Sojung Shin to give the Saint Mary's Huskies the 1-0 win and the 2-1 series victory! Rebecca Clark stopped all 34 shots she faced for the shutout win while Shin stopped 41 in the triple-overtime loss.

Canada West Final

G1 - MANITOBA at UBC: The Cinderella story of the Manitoba Bisons continued as they visited UBC with a berth in the CIS Championship on the line. However, it would be the home team who opened the scoring when Shiayli Toni beat Amanda Schubert at 8:08 to put the Thunderbirds up 1-0. The Bisons would tie things up on the power-play when Lauryn Keen redirected Alanna Sharman's shot past Danielle Dube at 15:47. The tie game would last for just over a minute, though, as UBC's Mathea Fischer found the back of the net at 16:55 for the 2-1 UBC lead.

From there, both Schubert and Dube put up walls as the remaining two periods went scoreless on both sides. That also meant that the UBC Thunderbirds' 2-1 lead from the first period would hold up as the final score as UBC takes Game One. Dube stopped 27 of 28 shots sent her way, including 14 in the third period, while Schubert allowed the two goals on 16 shots in the loss.

G2 - MANITOBA at UBC: Manitoba's backs were against the wall as they needed to win to force a Game Three. It didn't start well for the visitors, though, as UBC's Kelly Murray scored just 2:01 into the game to put the T-Birds up 1-0. It would take nearly 38 for the Bisons to find an equalizer, but they got one late in the second period when Venla Hovi got on the scoresheet at 19:53.

It appeared that UBC took the lead, but the officials ruled that Stephanie Schaupmeyer's shot did not cross the line, and we remained tied at 1-1. That wouldn't last long, though, as Erica Rieder hammered home a shot from the point at 7:19 to put the Bisons up 2-1. 1:15 later, Erin Kucheravy would bang home a loose puck off a face-off to give the Bisons a two-goal lead. UBC would press, but Venla Hovi would ice the game with her empty-net goal at 16:58 as Manitoba skated to the 4-1 win. Amanda Schubert stopped 17 shots in the win while Danielle Dube gave up three goals on 26 shots in a losing effort.

G3 - MANITOBA at UBC: The rubber match went Sunday with everything on the line. Win and there's an invite to Calgary to represent the CWUAA in the CIS Championship. Lose and it's a summer of "what if". And like the previous two games, UBC got on the board early as Celine Tardif's wrist shot got through Amanda Schubert 3:00 into the game for the 1-0 lead.

The remainder of the first period and the second period would go scoreless, so the Thunderbirds were 20 minutes from their second CWUAA title in four years. They would put serious pressure on the Bisons when Kelly Murray's one-timer from the point dented twine for a 2-0 lead with 15:10 to play. Chances were had at both ends, and Manitoba would finally break through on the power-play when Karissa Kirkup fired a shot from the circle that beat Danielle Dube with 1:57 to play. UBC used the final two minutes to keep the puck out of their end and along the boards to thwart Manitoba as the Thunderbirds won Game Three by a 2-1 score! Dube would finish with 21 saves to send the T-Birds to the CIS Championship Tournament while Amanda Schubert stopped 19 shots in the deciding game.

UBC advances to Calgary for the CIS Championship as the CWUAA representative! Calgary, as the host team, will most likely be the eighth-seed in the eight-team tournament, but UBC should be in the top-three if everything shakes out as it should.

Ontario Semifinals

G1 - WESTERN at NIPISSING: The Lakers would open the scoring early as Brooklyn Irwin scored on Kelly Campbell just 3:45 into the game. We'd have to move to the second period for the next goal, but it would another early Nipissing goal as Kaley Tienhaara found the back of the net at 1:03 for the 2-0 lead. It would turn into a 3-0 lead when Taylor Murphy scored on the power-play at 9:38, and you could sense that Western needed a spark. Brittany Clapham scored at 17:00 to make it a 3-1 game, but Jade Gauthier restored the three-goal lead at 18:20.

Western would start the third period with a goaltender change as Campbell was on the bench and Katie Jacobs was in the blue paint. It appeared as though the change was the spark the Mustangs needed as Evra Levesque scored at 5:06, but that's as close as Western would get as Nipissing took Game One by a 4-2 score. Jacqueline Rochefort stopped 14 pucks in the win while Campbell was the goalie of record in this one for Western as she took the loss.

G2 - NIPISSING at WESTERN: Special teams would play a major factor in this game. Stacey Henshaw got things rolling on the power-play for Nipissing as she beat Kelly Campbell at 11:30, but that lead would last for all of 25 seconds. Evra Levesque would put the Mustangs on the board via the power-play at 11:55 when she found daylight past Jacqueline Rochefort. Stacey Scott would send Western into the break up a goal when she scored at 19:16 to make it a 2-1 game.

Henshaw would strike again on the power-play in the second period as she hit twine with her shot at 13:07. Western would rally back once more, though, as Lyndsay Kirkham scored on a power-play at 15:30 to put the Mustangs up 3-2 after 40 minutes. Stacey Scott would score the only goal of the third period as she deposited the puck into an empty net, and the Western Mustangs evened the series with the 4-2 win. Campbell stopped 26 shots for the victory while Rochefort was 17-of-20 on the night in a losing effort.

G3 - NIPISSING at WESTERN: I'm only going to say this: 0-0 into triple-overtime. The video can do the rest of the talking. Ready?
Lyndsay Kirkham scored a beauty at 12:25 of triple-overtime to send the Western Mustangs to the OUA Final after a 1-0 triple-overtime win. Kelly Campbell stopped 46 shots in the triple-overtime shutout while Jacqueline Rochefort's only blemish came on 40th shot she faced.

G1 - LAURIER at GUELPH: It took 23 minutes, but the Golden Hawks would hit the scoreboard first. Erika Kiviaho beat Valerie Lamenta at 3:05 of the second period to put Laurier up 1-0. Just 1:19 later, the Gryphons would tie the game when Christine Grant found room past Amanda Smith, and the two teams would play into the third period tied at 1-1. Mackenzie Wong would put Guelph ahead in the third period when she scored at 3:07, and that's all the scoring we'd see as the Gryphons shut down the Golden Hawks the rest of the way for the 2-1 win. Lamenta had a 16-save win while Smith stopped 22 shots.

G2 - GUELPH at LAURIER: Similar to Game One, Laurier opened the scoring. This time, it happened in the first period as Blair Connelly found the back of the net at 16:21 for the 1-0 lead. Things were looking good for the Golden Hawks as they played into the third period with the slim lead, but Guelph's Katherine Bailey finally broke through at 12:06. The two teams remained tied through the final horn in regulation time, so it was off to overtime to find a winner! It only took eight minutes as Kaitlin Lowy dented twine at 8:06, and the Guelph Gryphons booked their tickets to the OUA Final! Valerie Lamenta stopped 24 of 25 shots in the victory while Amanda Smith stopped 45 of 47 shots in the loss.

Western will meet Guelph for the McCaw Cup starting on Saturday, March 12! Both teams will head to Calgary, but being the OUA champion has its benefits. Guelph will likely battle with UBC for the third-seed in the tournament if it wins, but the whole seeding system could be thrown to the wind with a second-straight Western Mustangs OUA title!

Quebec Finals

G1 - McGILL at MONTREAL: The top-two teams in the RSEQ met for the right to go to Calgary for the big dance. The home team, however, came ready to play. Montreal got first-period goals from Marion Allemoz at 3:45 and Audrey Gariepy at 16:59 to stake a 2-0 lead before the first intermission. McGill would cut the lead in half in the second period when Marie-Philip Lavoie beat Marie-Pier Chabot at 6:03 to make it a 2-1 game. Goals in the final minute of a period are, as they say, heartbreakers and Montreal delivered some heartbreak to McGill as Ariane Barker scored with four seconds left in the frame to restore the two-goal cushion.

Montreal basically put this one out of reach early in the third period. Emmanuelle Passard scored at 1:56 and Allemoz added her second goal on the power-play at 7:45 to open up a 5-1 lead on the Martlets. Erika Pyke scored at 10:49, but it wasn't enough as the Carabins downed McGill in Game One by a 5-2 score. Chabot stopped 29 shots for the win while Taylor Hough had a rough night allowing five goals on 20 shots.

G2 - MONTREAL at McGILL: It was surprising that Melodie Daoust was kept off the scoreboard by Montreal in Game One, but the Martlets' sniper came to play on this day. Would it be enough? Daoust opened the scoring at 8:45 into the game to give McGill their first lead of the series. Montreal's Lore Baudrit scored at 16:05 of the second period to bring make this game even again, and McGill would need to find another gear in the final frame to extend this series to three games.

The third period saw Marion Allemoz strike at 5:00 to put the Carabins up 2-1, and they made it a 3-1 game 3:46 later with a Maude Laramee power-play goal. McGill, however, would not go quietly. Daoust scored her second goal of the game at 9:22 to cut the lead to 3-2, and some incredible pressure late in the game saw Marie-Philip Lavoie capitalize as she tied the game with 48 seconds to play! We'd need overtime for a winner in this game, and we wouldn't have to wait long. McGill's Kelsie Moffatt was given a minor for bodychecking, and her complaints over the call caused the referee to tack on an unsportsmanlike penalty to put the Carabins on a 5-on-3 advantage at 7:33. 52 seconds later, the game was over as Montreal's Audrey Gariepy lit the lamp on the power-play for the 4-3 overtime win! Marie-Pier Chabot had another busy night as she stopped 35 of 38 shots for the victory while Taylor Hough suffered her second-straight loss.

With the victory, the Montreal Carabins will travel to Calgary for the CIS Championship as the RSEQ champion! Montreal is likely one of the top-two seeds in the tournament at this point. McGill will also travel as the finalist in the RSEQ, but will find itself in the bottom-half of the draw most likely after finishing second in the RSEQ.

Maritime Finals

The odd thing about the AUS? They allow a day between playoff games! That's a nice luxury, but it also causes another delay in reporting as Game Three, if necessary, won't be played until Tuesday. Let's see if that game will be necessary.

G1 - ST. THOMAS at SAINT MARY'S: The Huskies jumped out in front in this game as Gemma Macdonald's backhander found room past Taylor Cook just 2:12 into the game for the 1-0 lead. Macdonald would make it 2-0 with another marker at 17:05 as the Huskies carried the play in the opening frame. Kelty Apperson put the Tommies on the board early in the second period as she tapped home a rebound at 3:12 while on the power-play to make it 2-1. The two-goal lead would be restored late in the frame, though, as Caitlyn Schell swept home a rebound past Cook at 17:03 to make it 3-1 for the Huskies. Lauren Henman would score at 8:25 of the third period, but the Tommies could get no closer as they fell to the Huskies in Game One by a 3-2 score. Rebecca Clark made 24 saves for the win while Cook stopped 18 of 21 in a losing effort.

G2 - SAINT MARY'S at ST. THOMAS: The Tommies were in must-win mode as they came home for Game Two. The Huskies had a chance to close out the series on the road on Sunday. Which scenatio would play out? The home squad found the scoreboard first with a pair of quick goals early in the second period. Teah Anderson scored on Rebecca Clark from the slot at 3:34, and Kelty Apperson would make it 2-0 with her shot 34 seconds later. Caitlyn Schell would cut the lead in half with her goal on the stick side of Taylor Cook with 1:02 to play in the period as the two teams would go into the third period with St. Thomas up 2-1.

The third period saw St. Thomas increase their lead to 3-1 when Lauren Henman found the back of the net at 3:12, and Kenya Marcelline tipped a shot past Clark at 6:53 to make it 4-1. Taylor Cook was outstanding all night as she backstopped the Tommies to a 4-1 win to force a Game Three! Cook stopped 30 of 31 shots she faced while Clark took the loss in a 22-save effort.

G3 - ST. THOMAS at SAINT MARY'S: We'll see you Tuesday night for the conclusion of the AUS season and this great series!

Championship Locations

You're probably aware that this year's championship will be held in Calgary, the second-straight time it's been played in Cowtown. The CIS has announced the next two hosts of the CIS Championship, and we're heading to Ontario for these events.

Queen's University and Western University had been selected to host the CIS women's hockey championship in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and both are deserving of the honour. The Gaels have been conference champions twice in the last five seasons and earned a CIS bronze medal at the tournament played at Wilfrid Laurier University in 2011. The Mustangs became a story for the ages last year when they earned their first OUA and CIS titles, notably shocking the nation with a 5-0 trouncing of McGill in the CIS Final.

Playing It Out

As you'll notice above, there are eight teams headed to Calgary. The tournament starts on Thursday, March 17 where two quarterfinal games will be played. The draw hasn't been finalized yet, but the winners advance to the semifinals on Saturday while the loser plays in the consolation game on Friday. The same thing happens on Friday with the other two quarterfinal games with the consolation game going on Saturday.

The winners of the two consolation games play for fifth-place on Sunday. The losers of the semifinals advance to the bronze-medal game on Sunday at 8:45am MT! In other words, the losers of the semifinals get possibly one of the worst draws for the bronze medal I've ever seen! The gold medal game, for what it's worth, will go on Sunday at 12:30pm MT which isn't much better when you're used to playing prime-time games.

The best part of this tournament is the commitment shown by Sportsnet. Sportsnet 360 will carry both semifinal games on Saturday at 2pm and 5:30pm MT, respectively, and will also carry the gold medal game on Sunday. Check your local listing for what channel Sportsnet 360 is on, but the three biggest games in CIS women's hockey will be broadcast on the network for all to watch!

We're down to just a few games to decide the final eight teams in CIS women's hockey. If you haven't found the time to make it out to your local university and catch the action, I implore you to clear your Saturday on March 19 and watch the two semifinal games. I guarantee you'll see some good hockey from the ladies. For some, these might be the last time you see them playing hockey on TV. For some, this tournament could be the springboard to something much bigger!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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