Sunday, 20 March 2016

The Rundown - Week 25

This is the big one as the CIS National Championship tournament ran all weekend, and there were some rather amazing games! I do have a bit of a bone to pick with the CIS over one aspect, but we'll get to that below. In no way, however, should anyone question the heart, determination, effort, and talent that goes into CIS women's hockey as the eight teams in the tournament gave fans everything and more when it came to entertainment and excitement!

CIS Quarterfinals

I'm not going to spend a lot of time worrying about the quarterfinals. It's a very simple rule for this tournament: don't lose. A loss at any point meant that the best one could finish would second-place. Easy to remember, right?

ST. THOMAS at GUELPH: Guelph played this game in a very controlled, very precise manner. Marcie Landman opened the scoring at 3:05 of the second period, and Averi Nooran made it 2-0 at 17:21. Nooren would add her second of the game 8:35 of the final frame, and the CIS Player of the Year in Valerie Lamenta pitched a shutout as the Gryphons downed the Tommies by a 3-0 score. Lamenta stopped all 18 shots to help Guelph advance while Taylor Cook suffered the loss.

McGILL at UBC: I won't kid you: I thought the Martlets had a shot at beating UBC, but they got off on the wrong foot in this tournament in a big way. Hannah Clayton-Carroll scored at 7:32 and Kathleen Cahoon added a power-play goal at 12:02 to give UBC the 2-0 lead through the opening period. McGill cut the lead to one with a Gabrielle Davidson power-play goal at 5:52, but Logan Boyd scored at 9:29 to make it a 3-1 game in a period which saw the Martlets throw everything they had at Danielle Dube. Melodie Daoust added another power-play goal for the Martlets at 3:29, but the Thunderbirds put any hope of overtime to rest when Cahoon scored her second of the game into an empty net at 18:15 for the 4-2 victory. Danielle Dube stopped 32 of 34 shots for the win while Taylor Hough allowed three goals on 20 shots in the loss.

Guelph and UBC would meet in one semifinal while St. Thomas and McGill would battle in the consolation semifinal.

SAINT MARY'S at WESTERN: These two teams battled intensely, and there would only be one goal scored in the end. Caitlyn Schell scored 29 seconds into the third period as her shot beat Kelly Campbell, and the Huskies would down the defending champion Western Mustangs by a 1-0 score. Rebecca Clark stopped all 26 shots she faced for the shutout victory while Kelly Campbell made 25 saves in the loss.

MONTREAL at CALGARY: This game was a bit of a mismatch, but there were some good things seen from both teams. Ariane Barker opened the scoring for the Carabins with her goal at 12:50 and Audrey Gariepy would send Montreal into the break with a 2-0 after her goal at 18:21. Casandra Dupuis made it a 3-0 game with her goal at 15:11 of the second period, and Ariane Barker added her second of the game with 2:54 to play into an empty net as the Carabins downed the Dinos by a 4-0 score. Marie-Pier Chabot stopped 25 shots in the shutout victory while Hayley Dowling took the loss.

Saint Mary's and Montreal would set up the championship semifinal on Saturday while Western and Calgary would go to the consolation semifinal.

CIS Consolation Semifinals

ST. THOMAS at McGILL: Both teams were coming off losses. A second loss would mean the tournament was over, so it was not a good time for the scoring to go cold. McGill's Gabrielle Davidson opened the scoring at 15:40 when she beat Taylor Cook for the 1-0 lead. The Tommies would tie things up before the end of the period, though, as Kelty Apperson scored on the power-play past Taylor Hough to send the game into the intermission knotted up at 1-1. The two teams would play a scoreless second period before the Tommies jumped out in front at 8:16 of the third period off a Lauren Henman goal. From there, Taylor Cook held the fort as she kept the Martlets off the scoreboard through to the final horn as St. Thomas wins this semifinal by a 2-1 score. Cook made 36 saves in the win while Taylor Hough and the Martlets are done.

CALGARY at WESTERN: The bets finish last year's champion could finish was fifth-place, so there was still pride on the line for the Mustangs. However, the Dinos were defending their home ice as hosts, so this game was a little spirited. Chelsea Court put the visiting Dinos up 1-0 at 15:54 when she beat Kelly Campbell with her shot. We'd jump to the second period where Iya Gavrilova scored at 5:20, but Western's April Clark would respond 23 seconds later to make it a 2-1 game. Kelsie Lang added a power-play goal at 11:16 to make it 3-1, and the goaltenders would take care of the rest from that point. Neither team could dent the twine any further as Calgary will play in the fifth-place game with a 3-1 victory over Western. Hayley Dowling stopped 26 of 27 shots in the win while Kelly Campbell and the Western Mustangs will head home to Ontario.

St. Thomas and Calgary will play for fifth-place on Sunday.

CIS Championship Semifinals

UBC at GUELPH: Guelph played the same controlled style of play, but this game was physical in terms of the parade to the penalty box. Kaitlyn Lowy used power-play to Guelph's advantage as she scored on Danielle Dube at the 10:00 mark of the first period to put the Gryphons up 1-0. Both teams would trade chances through to the third period, and it would UBC's Kelly Murray who found room past Valerie Lamenta at 7:41 on the power-play to tie the game at 1-1.

With the score tied at 1-1 through the final horn of regulation time, it was off to overtime! The ten-minute overtime period, though, solved nothing as both goalies stood their ground, so it was off to a shootout! Wait, a shootout? In a national championship? Is this really happening?!? Apparently, it is as Kaitlyn Lowy scored on Guelph's first shot. UBC responded with a ridiculous goal by Kathleen Cahoon on UBC's second shot, and we'd see five more rounds of unsuccessful attempts before Haneet Parhar came blazing into the zone on the forehand, pulled it across the crease to get Lamenta moving, and buried it on the backhand to send UBC to the CIS Final! Danielle Dube stopped 36 of 37 shots in the win while Lamenta and the Gryphons will play for the bronze medal.

SAINT MARY'S at MONTREAL: This game was far different from Montreal's previous game against Calgary. Montreal got things started right when Alexandra Labelle scored at 10:50 and Ariane Barker added another goal at 18:09 for the 2-0 lead through the opening period. Labelle would add her second of the game just 57 seconds into the second period, and the Carabins had a 3-0 lead on ten shots. From there, it was like the Huskies woke up in a big way. Carly Gray beat Marie-Pier Chabot at 1:49 to make it a 3-1 game, but that was all the Huskies could get by Chabot in the second period. Laiura Polak would make things interesting in the third period when she scored at 14:36, but Chabot would surrender no more as Montreal downed Saint Mary's by a 3-2 score. Remember those ten shots? Chabot stopped 27 of 29 to help her team advance to the final while Rebecca Clark stopped 10 of 13 shots she faced.

The UBC Thunderbirds will meet the Montreal Carabins for the CIS women's hockey gold medal while the Guelph Gryphons and Saint Mary's Huskies will play for the bronze medal.

CIS Fifth-Place Game

ST. THOMAS at CALGARY: While both teams had chances, only one team found the scoresheet. Sasha Vafina scored at 8:28 of the first period, Iya Gavrilova added a second-period power-play goal at 17:59, Delaney Frey scored at 4:23 and Heather Berzins added a fourth goal at 14:53 of the third period as the Calgary Dinos finished the tournament strong with a 4-0 shutout win. Hayley Dowling stopped all 33 shots for the shutout while Taylor Cook was good on 31 of 35 shots. Calgary finishes in fifth-place with the win.

As a result, the Western Mustangs finish in seventh-place and the McGill Martlets finish in eighth-place due to Calgary's win over St. Thomas.

CIS Bronze Medal Game

SAINT MARY'S at GUELPH: Saint Mary's Nicole Blanche beat Valerie Lamenta just 1:49 into the bronze-medal game to put the Huskies up 1-0. That would be the only blemish between the two teams for two periods, but the third period would see scoring. Caitlyn Manning would make it a 2-0 game with her goal at 15:21, but the Gryphons would cut the lead in half 1:14 later when Christine Grant beat Rebecca Clark. Lamenta would head to the bench as the Gryphons pushed for the tying goal, but Breanna Lanceleve would find the empty net with 24 seconds to play to give the Saint Mary's Huskies the 3-1 win and the CIS bronze medal! Rebecca Clark stopped 28 of 29 shots in the win while Valerie Lamenta lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. Saint Mary's finishes in third-place after the victory.

CIS Gold Medal Game

UBC at MONTREAL: I felt before the game that this one was a bit of a mismatch for UBC, but I don't think anyone foresaw the result that laid ahead as this one got out of hand. Alexandra Labelle scored a power-play goal at 7:00 and Alexandra Paradis added another power-play goal 1:39 later as Montreal jumped out to the 2-0 lead through some undisciplined play from UBC.

Emmanuelle Passard would make it 3-for-3 on the man-advantage for Montreal at 8:10 of the second period, and Ariane Barker would make it 4-0 with her goal 2:01 later. Alexandra Labelle added a fourth power-play goal at 17:05 as Montreal was cruising with a 5-0 lead. Mercifully, head coach Graham Thomas pulled Danielle Dube and replaced her with Samantha Langford, but the goals she surrendered were hardly her own doing as Montreal continually exploited the UBC defence.

Labelle would cap the hat trick with her goal at 11:01 of the third period. Maude Laramee scored at 15:52, and Casandra Dupuis would round out the scoring at 16:31 to give Montreal the 8-0 win in the gold medal game. Marie-Pier Chabot stopped all 23 shots sent her way for the shutout while Danielle Dube took the loss in stopping five of ten shots she faced. Langford, for the record, stopped five of eight shots sent her way.

The Montreal Carabins are your 2015-16 CIS National Champions after a dominant season that saw them finish first in the RSEQ with a 15-3-2 record, win the RSEQ championship, and was capped off with a 3-0 record in the CIS National Championship that gave them the gold medal. Not surprisingly, all four teams in the championship semifinals were the champions of their respective conferences, so the best teams in Canada decided the gold medalists. Montreal finishes atop the pile, though, and to the winner go the spoils! Félicitations to the Carabins - your Canadian university women's hockey champions!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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