Thursday 31 March 2022

The Hockey Show - Episode 497

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back on the air tonight with a complete look at the university hockey scene in Canada! It's an "only Teebz" show tonight, but he looks at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship wrapped up last weekend with eight teams competing for the gold medal, and he brings you highlights as we keep an eye on the Canada West teams playing in the tournament. He will also get you set for the 2022 U SPORTS National Men's Hockey Championship happening this weekend in Halifax, so it's another big weekend of hockey!

With the women's side of the coin wrappin up in PEI, Teebz breaks down the games with highlights that led to the Golden Path Trophy being awarded this past weekend with an eye on how the UBC Thunderbirds and the Saskatchewan Huskies played throughout the tournament. Teebz also talks about the all-stars and MVP from the women's side, some stats seen at the tournament, the award winners in U SPORTS men's hockey, the bracket for that tournament happening at Acadia University in Halifax, TWU Spartan Talor Joseph making a name for himself in the AHL, the loss of Eugene Melnyk, Marc-Andre Fleury doing something not many do, and former Brock Badger Logan Thompson doing something awesome. It's a busy solo show with Teebz tonight, so make sure you tune in at 5:30pm CT on 101.5 FM, Channel 718 on MTS TV, or via!

Where's the best place can you hear tonight's show if you're outside Winnipeg or not near a radio, you ask? The new UMFM website's online streaming player is pretty awesome if you want to listen online. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari yet, so if you want to stream the show I'd recommend Radio Garden to do that as it works nicely with Safari. If you're more of an app person, we recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store or Google Play Store. If you do use the TuneIn app, you won't be disappointed. It's a solid app.

If you have questions, you can email all show queries and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! I'm here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz chats winners, medalists, future medalists, award-winners, goalies, a big loss, more goalies, another goalie, and much more exclusively on 101.5 UMFM and on the web stream!

PODCAST: March 31, 2022: Episode 497

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 30 March 2022

Injuries And EBUGs

NHL teams like to have players in the minor leagues for a number of reasons - injuries, illness, trades, and host of potential other reasons. The Toronto Maple Leafs usually have no issue finding a player in their system to lend a hand when something causes a player to miss a game, but it would appear that they're running a little thin on goaltenders as of late with the likes of NHL goaltending duo Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek both out with injuries. The man above is Michael Hutchinson, and he was already unavailable for the AHL Marlies while Erik Källgren is already playing with the Leafs due to Campbell's injury. You can seem the calamity forming as the number of goaltenders available don't pan out in the Leafs' case.

Before we go any further because there's a great Canada West tie-in on this story, I need to point out the insanity of the goaltending situation in and around Toronto. Here's the hospital wing of Leafs goaltending presently:
  • Jack Campbell: on the IR, but "day-to-day" currently.
  • Petr Mrazek: injured in the first period last night against Boston.
  • Erik Källgren: stopping pucks for the Leafs.
  • Michael Hutchinson: held out of the game, but possibly en route the Leafs?
  • Joseph Woll: apparent shoulder injury, and currently out.
  • Keith Petruzzelli: reportedly ill before last night's game.
  • Ian Scott: played just 1 ECHL game this year; whereabouts unknown.
  • Carter Hutton: assigned to AHL Tucson in the Nick Ritchie salary dump trade; injured.
With just two netminders - Källgren and Hutchinson - in any sort of game-ready status, the Leafs were struggling to fill the nets in both the NHL and AHL. Newfoundland may also be needing a netminder this week if Petruzzelli remains with the Marlies, so there are goaltending holes all over the Maple Leafs' deapth chart right now.

With the Leafs using Erik Källgren to help them to a 6-4 win last night following Mrazek's early injury while Jason San Antonio sat on the stool and opened the Leafs' gate as the EBUG, the Marlies also needed some help with both Michael Hutchinson, held out of the late AHL game so he could join the Leafs, and Keith Petruzzelli unavailable for their game against the Abbotsford Canucks in Abbotsford, BC. The Leafs went hunting for goalies in Abbotsford on very short notice!

They would accomplish their goal by signing two netminders to amateur tryout contracts (ATOs) as they inked former Prince George Cougars netminder Tavin Grant to a deal and added former TWU Spartans and Nipissing Lakers goaltender Talor Joseph to the roster! We already know that Joseph had been on the AHL radar thanks to a brief EBUG stint with Abbotsford before, but Tavin Grant was an unexpected name on the transaction wire.

We'll start with a quick background on Grant who wore #35 as the backup goalie last night. Grant played 37 games for the WHL's Prince George Cougars in 2017-18 where he posted a respectable 13-17-1 record with a 3.74 GAA, an .892 save percentage, and one shutout. The only problem was that the 20 year-old Grant had two younger goalies competing for time behind him in Taylor Gauthier and Isaiah DiLaura. With Prince George struggling to a 24-38-10 record that season and missing the playoffs, the Cougars decided to go with youth and released Grant to pursue other hockey opportunities. Despite digging through the interwebs, I couldn't find any further news on Grant's involvement in the game until today's developments, so the Burnaby, BC native might have been just close enough for the Marlies who needed a goaltender desperately.

The other goaltender signed by the Marlies, who Canada West fans know from seeing him in action, is Talor Joseph. The 27 year-old just finished up his fifth and final year of eligibility with the Trinity Western Spartans after spending the previous four with the OUA's Nipissing Lakers and spending a year in the ACAC with the MacEwan Griffins prior to that. In 12 games with the Spartans, he posted a 5.86 GAA and an .876 save percentage, but those numbers were entirelty deceiving in terms of how well he played against some rather tough opponents this year. His 2-9-0 record in those 12 games doesn't suggest he should be getting an AHL shot, but he stood tall against the likes of Alberta, UBC, and Saskatchewan all season long.

As we know, Joseph already had an AHL jersey with his name on the back thanks to his EBUG appearance for the Canucks earlier this season, and he'd add a Marlies jersey to his closet after tonight. With both Grant and Joseph signed, the Marlies were ready to go for their game against the Canucks last night. The only question left to ask was who was starting for the Marlies in the crease?

Wearing #60 for the Toronto Marlies, Talor Joseph was given the start by head coach Greg Moore, and, for the first time in his career, he was officially an AHL goaltender! Of course, there's still 60 minutes of action that Joseph would have to face from the Canucks, so let's take a peek at how the former Canada West netminder did in his debut!

Toronto jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period to give Joseph some breathing room in this game, but it seemed that Joseph was locked in based on how he was playing. Abbotsford outshot Toronto 13-6 in the opening frame, and Joseph stopped all of those chances to send the Marlies into the break with that three-goal lead. There were a couple of solid opportunties that the Canucks had on those 13 shots, and it seemed like Joseph ready to shock the world last night. As just 20 minutes had been played, no one was handing out Rookie of the Year awards or anything, but so far, so good, right? We'd move on to the second period!

Abbotsford kept coming in the second period, but Joseph looked at home in the Toronto crease. The Canucks would finally get to him at 15:43 of the second period when John Stevens' pass was deflected by Joseph, but it hit Carson Focht who had a man tied up in front of the net and landed behind Joseph to snap the shutout as Abbotsford made it 3-1! As shown below, it was just an unfortunate break.

Toronto would add a power-play goal shortly after Stevens' goal, and the Marlies went into the intermission up 4-1 with Talor Joseph having stopped 20 of 21 shots to that point!

Abbotsford came out in third period and pressed the Marlies for two more goals as they closed the gap to 4-3 in the game thanks to Sheldon Dries scoring a pair of power-play markers. However, Joseph would get one back against the Canucks when he assisted on Alex Steeves' empty-net goal at 18:50 to make it a 5-3 game and, more importantly, record his first AHL point in his career! Perhaps even more surprising, Joseph's assist on the goal was the first one recorded by a Marlies goalie all season! How cool is that?

You know what's even cooler? The picture to the left because that's Talor Joseph holding the game puck from his first-ever AHL win as the Marlies downed the Canucks by a 5-3 score! Joseph did allow three goals on the night, but he stopped 34 shots to pick up his first AHL win in his first official AHL start! There are a ton of moments in a player's career that he or she will remember, but getting a win as a professional hockey player will certainly stand out in one's memory. Talor Joseph now has that memory just one month removed from riding a bus in Canada West university hockey! There aren't many hockey stories that begin with "Do you remember that goaltender who played with the Trinity Western Spartans?" that end with "He won his first AHL start!", but Talor Joseph owns that story!

"There"s always nerves and butterflies, especially in a situation like this but you just really have got to stay in the moment and appreciate the opportunity," Joseph told reporters after the game. "This doesn't come around every day and it's really a blessing that it happened to me. I'm very fortunate. I'm thankful."

Of course, a first win also means hockey hugs for Talor!

It will be interesting to see what happens as the Marlies play this week. They play Abbotsford again tonight before flying into Winnipeg for a pair of games with the Manitoba Moose on Friday and Saturday. Assuming that his illness continues tonight, Petruzzelli could return for the trip to Winnipeg meaning that one of Grant or Joseph would be left behind in BC. I'm assuming that Joseph would be the goalie who would fly with the Marlies to Winnipeg, but we'll see what the Leafs do to address their goaltending as they move forward.

From the woes of having no goalies to finding one in BC who can win you games, it would almost be beneficial to keep Joseph around for the rest of the season for the Marlies. While he wouldn't be eligible to play in the Calder Cup Playoffs unless it's in an emergency situation, he might be the stop-gap to allow a few of Toronto's netminders to get healthy and get ready for a run in the playoffs. As shown, he's good enough to win games in the AHL, and that's the only thing that should matter.

Congratulations to Talor Joseph on his first AHL win!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 29 March 2022

Cereal Season

March is usually when people begin to look forward to longer days thanks to daylight savings time. Daylight savings time is an unofficial marker of spring as well, so the warmth and sunlight that accompany March's less wintery weather is also a welcome sight. For whatever reason, though, March 2022 is officially cereal season when it comes to NHL players and their business ventures. We already saw Brad Marchand introduce March Munch last week in the Boston area, and we got another cereal arrival in the Center of the Universe as John Tavares joined the breakfast bunch with his ideal morning meal! What is it? Let's find out!

Before we get to Tavares' breakfast meal creation, this is another PLB Sports and Entertainment venture. Who are they? From their website,
"PLB Sports & Entertainment (PLBSE) has worked with some of the world's greatest athletes and entertainers to create a premier line of superior quality food products. These partners include names such as Nolan Ryan, Jerome Bettis, Dan Marino, Anthony Rizzo, Justin Verlander, Rob Gronkowski, Patrick Mahomes, John Cena and many others. Our high-quality sports and entertainment products are endorsed by players from the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA along with the WWE's biggest and brightest stars. Since 1996 we've worked with hundreds of clients launching successful products in the cereal, salsa, condiment, beef jerky, confection, and beverage categories. We have sold over 20 million items over this time span and helped raise over $22 million for various charities attached to our clients. PLBSE is a brand-building organization that develops successful products, creates the packaging, crafts effective marketing strategies both at retail and via social media, and compliments the client's marketing objectives."
In short, it sounds like PLB Sports and Entertainment knows what they're doing when it comes to devising a food product for an athlete to help raise funds for charity. Perhaps they're preparing these Tavares boxes of cereal not with a special prize inside, but an offer where three UPC codes will get you a set of Maple Leaf pyjamas? One can only hope, right?

John Tavares' cereal is called "Recipe 91" which sounds more like a something found in a test kitchen rather than the cereal aisle in your grocery store, but here we are. Recipe 91 is comprised of granola that contains dark chocolate, blueberries, and coconut! Like March Munch, this sounds like it might be pretty tasty, but there's another major component to the sale of Recipe 91. For every box of cereal sold with John Tavares' image on it, proceeds will go to the John Tavares Foundation, an organization that helps "kids everywhere understand the importance of proper nutrition and embrace healthy lifestyle options that fuel both their passions and potential" in order to "support their physical, cognitive and emotional well-being."

"I am very excited to announce Recipe 91, where proceeds will support the John Tavares Foundation," Tavares said in a statement through PLB. "Aryne and I really enjoyed the process of creating this and we hope everyone will enjoy it as much as we do."

Just as I did, I went to check the pricing on a delivered two-box set of Recipe 91, and that $29.99 price tag just seems insane for 680 grams of granola. Factor in the shipping costs which pushes the total to around $45, and I'm passing on ordering Recipe 91 anytime soon. I may, however, stop by my local Sobeys grocery store as they have signed on to carry Recipe 91 as the official distributor in Canada! Let's just hope it isn't $22.50 a box there!

Honestly, this might be one of those "anytime of the day" cereals when it comes to taking it with you. As we know, granola is good for a snack so that added taste of dark chocolate, blueberries, and coconut could make it a good snack whether you're sitting at your desk at work or out hiking on a trail. I'm slightly worried about the total carbohydrates in a serving with chocolate, blueberries, and coconut all being present, so make sure you read the label if you're buying a box of Recipe 91 if you're counting carbs!

Recipe 91 won't get you into the NHL or make you the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. It is part of a healthy, balanced breakfast just like Tavares is part of a balanced attack on the Maple Leafs. As we know, eating right plays a large role in making sure each athlete is at their peak performance level, and it seems that Recipe 91 fits into that gameplan! Look for it in Canada at your local Sobeys grocery store!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 28 March 2022

A Big Loss

In some rather shocking tonight, the Ottawa Senators reported that long-time owner Eugene Melnyk had passed away at the age of 62 after succumbing to an undisclosed illness. The Canadian businessman and philanthropist passed away "peacefully surrounded by his family and will be fondly remembered by his many friends and associates". To say that this is shocking news is nothing short of accurate, if not understated, as Melnyk, who never shied away from a reporter's microphone to opine on the state of the game, will be missed in hockey circles for his passion for the game at all levels and his love of both the NHL and AHL Senators.

It's never easy seeing someone like Melnyk pass away after all the headlines he seemed to produce. As we know, he received a liver transplant in May 2015 after making a public plea for donors following his being admitted to the hospital. He is currently peripherally-embroiled in a lawsuit with a superyacht owner over a vacation that went off the rails. His on-again, off-again flirtation with Lebreton Flats and a potential new arena for the Senators is ongoing. And there have been a number of other stories along the way that kept Melnyk in the headlines since he bought the Ottawa Senators in 2003.

Most of these headlines, though, overshadowed the good things that Melnyk did for the community and the game. He opened up the Canadian Tire Centre as a COVID-19 vaccination site, helping thousands in and around Ottawa obtain vaccinations against the virus. He pledged "to pay part-time and hourly workers at Canadian Tire Centre and in Belleville for the shifts they will miss" after the NHL and AHL paused games and played in front of empty seats. He "purchased meals from Thyme & Again for staff at Ottawa's hospitals" while providing front-line workers vouchers for two tickets to a Senators game. It's clear that he loved the community, even if that was sometimes hard to see with his other headlines being generated.

Born on May 27, 1959 to parents from Ukraine, the owner penned an open letter to all Canadians to support the efforts of Ukrainian people while opening their hearts to those fleeing the war in that country. He pledged to play the Ukrainian national anthem before every home game, and he committed to finding ways to use the Canadian Tire Centre as a drop-off point to collect donations of clothing and medical supplies. He never forgot his Ukrainian or Canadian roots, and he was proud of that heritage.

Tonight isn't the time or place to start bringing out skeletons. I'll full admit that I didn't always agree with the decision Melnyk made when it came to his sports franchises, but it was his business to run. There were times I thought his comments were misplaced, but, as anyone will tell you, the worst thing about being talked about is not being talked about. Melnyk was never afraid to start a discussion with his thoughts.

I have been to two Ottawa Senators games in my life. I saw Marc-Andre Fleury and his bright yellow pads in his rookie season when the Penguins visited the Senators in 2003-04 in a game where the Penguins ended up losing to the Senators 6-5 in a thoroughly entertaining contest (Mario Lemieux did not play). I enjoyed myself that night as the game was entertaining, there were good concessions, and there was a sense that the Senators were trending upwards. Melnyk's involvement with the team seemed to have everyone in a pretty positive mood at the arena!

Just for the record, the second game I saw in Ottawa was at the then-named Corel Centre on May 2, 1998 where Game Six between the Senators and the New Jersey Devilswas being played. The Senators eliminated the Devils from the playoffs in six games in that 3-1 win. I still have the playoff towel they gave out that night!

That last point aside, there's no denying that the father of Anna and Olivia, the son of Vera and Ferdinand, and the brother of Lydia always wanted to see the Senators win. He came close with a Stanley Cup appearance in 2007 before falling to the Anaheim Ducks, and an Eastern Conference Final appearance before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He may not always have been right when it came to personnel decision. He may not always have thought before speaking. But there is no doubt that Eugene Melnyk always wanted to see the Senators win.

The chair can be filled in his office, but there will always be a void where Eugene Melnyk did business on behalf of the Ottawa Senators. He may have been a polarizing figure in the nation's capital, but he was always wanting to win. His charitable causes, his community intiatives, and his work done to better the Ottawa area for everyone may not be appreciated as much as it should be, but tonight's a good time to remember that Eugene Melnyk championed Ottawa whenever he could.

Rest in peace, Mr. Melynk. You will be missed.

Until next time, raise your sticks in honour of Mr. Melnyk!

Sunday 27 March 2022

The Rundown - U SPORTS Final

Admittedly, this article is more than just the final game. As it stands, six teams would compete today. Three would finish the day with wins. Three would go home with medals. Two would compete for the gold medal while just one would claim those golden moments. The 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship wrapped up in Charlottetown, PEI today and it was time to hand out the hardware as the 2021-22 U SPORTS women's hockey season came to a close. The eight teams who competed over the last four days had done their schools and communities proud, but let's find out who went home as the best of them all on The Rundown!

The eighth-seeded hosts of the tournament, the UPEI Panthers, met the Canada West champions and third-seeded UBC Thunderbirds in the fifth-place game at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship. UPEI, having defeated Brock one day earlier for their first-ever win at a Nationals tournament, looked to keep those winning ways going while UBC, who downed McGill, looked to finish up strong. Camille Scherger was in the crease for the Panthers while Elise Hugens was defending the UBC net once more.

UBC started the game just like they did in so many Canada West games this season: scoring early. Hannah Koroll's long wrister from the point through traffic wasn't seen by Scherger until it was in the net behind her as UBC jumped out to the 1-0 just 1:09 into the game. From that point in the game forward, this game was disrupted by penalties as the teams combined for 20 minor penalties - 10 apiece - throughout this game. That info will be important because Ireland Perrott redirected a Mackenzie Kordic shot from the side of the net past Scherger while on a power-play, and the UBC Thunderbirds had a 2-0 lead at the 16:33 mark. That score would hold into the break despite the Panthers outshooting UBC 8-7 in the period.

In an interesting twist, the UPEI Panthers replaced Scherger with Shaylin McFarlane to start the middle stanza, and the second-year netminder settled in with a couple of early stops. The parade to the penalty box slowed in this period, and that allowed UBC to set the pace. Perrott would score her second goal off an offensive zone face-off when she stepped into the high slot and ripped a goal high on the stick side on McFarlane at 2:38 to make it 3-0. Kenzie Robinson would score off a Hannah Koroll rebound in front of the net while on the power-play at 8:31, and the Thunderbirds held a 4-0 lead. Beyond that, though, McFarlane really started to look comfortable as she found her spots and made saves. No other goals would be scored in this period, and UBC went to the third period with that four-goal cushion and leading 19-12 in shots.

Despite pressing for another goal or two, the UBC shooters were denied by MacFarlane in a period where eleven minor penalties were called. With whistles being blown regularly, there wasn't a lot of free-wheeling play in this final frame. As a result, the final horn sounded on a 4-0 UBC Thunderbirds win over the UPEI Panthers! Elise Hugens earned her second win and second shutout at this tournament with a 21-save game while Camille Scherger took the loss in her 20 minutes of play where she stopped five of seven shots she faced. For the record, Shaylin McFarlane made 20 stops on 22 attempts in her 40 minutes of play.

With the victory, UBC claims fifth-place in the tournament UPEI will finish in sixth-place. McGill finishes in seventh-place thanks to UBC's win today, and Brock will be the eighth-place team after the UPEI loss today. The bottom-four placements are now settled!

Highlights of this game are below!

The fifth-seeded Saskatchewan Huskies, finalists in Canada West, met the second-seeded UNB Reds, AUS champions, in the bronze medal game at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship today! Saskatchewan was looking for its second tournament medal ever while UNB was looking for its first. Sasktachewan fell to Concordia one day earlier while UNB fell to Nipissing, and both teams were shut out in those games. Someone had to find some scoring today to earn the bronze medal! Camryn Drever was back in the net for the Huskies while Kendra Woodland was in her familiar spot for the Reds!

Saskatchewan burst out of the gate in this game as they controlled the pace for the majority of the first period. They had chances, but none would dent twine until Kendra Zuchotzki teed up a one-timer from just above the left face-off circle at 7:51, and the Huskies were up 1-0! UNB, despite getting into the Saskatchewan zone, simply couldn't get pucks to the net thanks to some tenacious defending from the Huskies. Saskatchewan would carry the 1-0 lead into the break as they held an 11-3 advantage in shots!

The second period seemed to settle both teams down as they got back to business in generating and creating chances in the offensive zones while they played solid defence in their own zones. Both teams seemed to be very even as the period progressed, but Saskatchewan would double their lead when Jasper Desmarais skated down the right side and ripped a wrister high from the face-off dot that caught Woodland going down, and the Huskies led 2-0 at 14:08! Drever would continue to keep the door shut in her zone as Saskatchewan took the two-goal lead to the third period while leading 16-10 in shots.

The third period saw the Huskies do what they do best, and that's shut down the other team with defence. UNB tried to press all period, but the Saskatchewan defence and Camryn Drever were able to repel all seven officially-recorded shots on net as the Saksatchewan Huskies defeated the UNB Reds by that 2-0 score! Camryn Drever earned her second win and second shutout of this tournament in stopping all 17 shots sent her way while Kendra Woodland suffered the loss after making 23 stops.

With the victory, the Saskatchewan Huskies are your 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship bronze medalists while UNB finishes in fourth-place to close out their respective tournaments!

Highlights of this game are below!

The seventh-seeded OUA finalists in the Nipissing Lakers met the top-seeded RSEQ champions in the Concordia Stingers for all the marbles on Sunday. Nipissing had never been to a U SPORTS National Hockey Championship, let alone play in the big dance, whereas Concordia last hoisted the Golden path Trophy in 1999. Neither goaltender for these teams had surrendered a goal in this tournament to this point, so something was going to have to give if the championship banner was to be awarded tonight at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship! Chloe Marshall stood in front of the Nipissing cage while Alice Philbert guarded the Concordia net!

I'm not sure what head coach Darren Turcotte said to the Lakers before the came out, but seeing them press the Stingers early in this game was not something I expected right off the bat. However, the Stingers did weather the storm as they found their legs quickly. Nipissing drew a couple of penalties that slowed the attack from the Stingers down, but the Lakers were unable to capitalize against a lethal Concordia team when they were down. After one period of play, the score remained 0-0 with Nipissing up 9-7 in shots.

The back-and-forth battle started to lean in favour of Concordia after Nipissing was called for four infractions in the second period. Giving the Stingers that many opportunities on the power-play was tempting fate, and Concordia would finally capitalize on their fourth opportunity when Rosalie Bégin-Cyr's initial shot was stopped, but Maria Manarolis found room past Marshall's pad on a second whack at the rebound to give COncordia the 1-0 lead at 18:21. Nipissing was still finding ways to get shots through all period, but Alice Philbert was having none of it as she denied the Lakers time and time again. At the end of the second frame, Concordia led 1-0 and had a 23-19 edge in shots!

The third period started with a bang as it seemed like Concordia found a second wind following their initial goal at the end of the second period. Stéphanie Lalancette beat Marshall high on the stick side after intercepting a clearing pass to make it 2-0 just 2:51 into the frame. Concordia began to sit back a little, but still jumped at opportunities when they presented themselves. Audrey Belzile had one of those opportunities when she was sent in on a breakaway, and she made no mistake on the deke going forehand-backhand around Marshall's pad for a 3-0 lead at 13:05. Needing a goal, Nipissing pulled Marshall for the extra attacker, but Lalancette would ice this game with an empty-net goal with 2:13 to play as the Concordia Stingers defeated the Nipissing Lakers by a 4-0 score! Alice Philbert stopped all 25 shots she faced for her third win and third shutout in this tournament while Chloe Marshall suffered her first loss on a night where she made 33 stops.

The Nipissing Lakers, after a brilliant tournament, are your 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship silver medalists!

And to the victors go the spoils as the Concordia Stingers are your 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship gold medalists, Golden Path Trophy winners, and the top team in Canadian university hockey for at least one year!

Highlights of this final game from UPEI are below!

Here's the final look at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship after the dust settled this weekend in PEI.
What may make this victory for the Stingers a little sweeter is that the U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship will take place in Montreal next season as the RSEQ is the host conference. The Université de Montréal, home to les Carabins, will host seven other teams next season as they get set for their first-ever hosting duties for women's hockey! Might we see Concordia back to defend their title? There's a possibility, but there are five other RSEQ teams who will have something to say about that!

The Best Of The Best

The tournament all-star selections and MVP were made and announced after the game. It should come as no surprise that the Stingers and Lakers occupied most of the spots in these selections. Tournament all-stars included:
  • Goaltender: Alice Philbert (Concordia)
  • Defender: Madison Solie (Nipissing)
  • Defender: Isabella Pozzi (Saskatchewan)
  • Forward: Audrey Belzile (Concordia)
  • Forward: Stéphanie Lalancette (Concordia)
  • Forward: Maria Dominico (Nipissing)
Shockingly, Rosalie Bégin-Cyr's name wasn't called, and I may file a protest on her behalf because she could easily be in that list as well. I don't vote, though, so my opinion counts for nothing except here where it still amounts to a hair above nothing. In the end, I can't really argue with any of these selections.

The championship MVP award went to Concordia's Stéphanie Lalancette as the fifth-year Leisure Sciences student from St. Félicien, Quebec had a solid game in the championship final. She scored the second goal of the game early in the third period that really put the pressure on Nipissing, and she finished the game off with the empty-net marker. In total, she had three goals and two assists in the tournament, but Lalancette came to play today in helping the Concordia Stingers win a National Championship, their first since 1999. That's not a bad way to finish off your university hockey career, I'd say!

All About The Medium

After a rather dismal showing a few years ago where video was choppy and there were long periods of buffering, kudos needs to be given to CBC Sports for their efforts this year. The video was fluid, the games looked great, and the calls by everyone who worked behind the microphones - including Kenzie Lalonde! - was excellent. CBC's commitment to exceptional coverage of amateur sports wasn't lost this weekend with them streaming the entire tournament, and they deserve a mention for allowing Canada to watch the amazing hockey played by the women who made up our nation's best university teams.


I need to mention Alice Philbert because she went on a tear. Since February 1, Alice has played ten games. In those ten games, she's pitched a shutout seven times! In those other three games, she's allowed just one goal. If you're doing the math at home, that's a 0.30 GAA against some of the best teams this nation has to offer. That's incredible when you consider the pressure of playoffs and nationals.

Further to that, she faced 200 shots in that time and stopped 197 of them. That's a save percentage of 0.985 over those ten games which included UPEI, McGill (twice), Saskatchewan, and Nipissing in terms of teams that appeared at the National Championship. That's a ridiculous statistic over a ten-game period.

If defence wins championships, having a goaltender go on a tear like Alice Philbert did for the last two months will certainly reinforce that saying. She was simply magnifique down the stretch for the Stingers, and the fourth-year Therapeutic Recreation student could be back for her fifth and final year of eligibility next season!

Now Serving: Doughnuts

If you were keeping track of the statistics in PEI, there was a very odd occurance that was happening as the eleven games were being played. With the exception of the 5-4 overtime win by the UNB Reds over the McGill Marlets in the opening game on Thursday afternoon, every other game in the tournament saw a shutout recorded. I don't ever recall this happening in any other tournament where ten-straight national championship games saw a shutout recorded.

I know I mention it a lot on this blog, but scoring first means a lot. In the case of the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship, teams that scored first had a .909 winning percentage. I cannot stress this enough: score first in every game for the best chance to win, folks!

I Want More!

As much as I'd love to see more university women's hockey played this year, the season is over. However, there's another massive tournament happening next weekend in Halifax at Acadia University as the eight best men's programs arrive to compete for immortality themselves. The 2022 U SPORTS National Men's Hockey Championship begins on Thursday, and the bracket is set!
All of the action can be found over on the CBC Sports website once more, so make sure you tune in to see who comes away victorious next weekend as well! HBIC will have updates on that tournament as it progresses, so keep an eye on this space as well!

The Last Word

To all the athletes, coaches, and staff of the eight teams who played in PEI, thank you for some amazing hockey action all weekend long. As we transition into spring from hockey season, there will be recruiting and announcements and news like that, but there's nothing like watching the best teams compete for immortality. Thank you for your great seasons, your amazing efforts, everything you do off the ice, and your hard work in the classrooms. Canada's future is bright across the board with these efforts, and you deserve a healthy dose of kudos for everything you do.

To the other 27 programs who missed out on that chance at immortality, you're not forgotten either. Some of the best hockey played this season happening within your own conferences where rivalries and competition was at its highest. I appreciate everything your programs did as well as you pushed the bar higher for the eight teams who ultimately landed in PEI. Keep at it because you're making hockey better for everyone!

To the parents, alumni, and fans of all teams, you were heard all season long and certainly deserve some recognition for cheering on these and your local programs all year. I'd be naive to think that U SPORTS hockey would be as good without everything you've done to get these players to where they are, and your support of the programs now is not going to be overlooked here. Without fans, the games mean nothing so thank you for your years of sacrifice.

Take a breath, folks. We have a summer to relax before the ice is installed again at your local university rinks. Thanks for following along here on HBIC and The Rundown, and these feature pieces will return in October when the university hockey season kicks into high gear once more!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 26 March 2022

The Rundown - U SPORTS Semifinals

Four teams were still vying for the right to add their name to the Golden Path Trophy. Four teams were looking to continue to play another day on the consolation side of the bracket. Saturday was all about semifinals after two intense days of hockey action, and we were likely going to get some great hockey action all day from UPEI in Charlottetown, PEI at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship! The final four teams all represented a different conference so everyone still had a team for which they could cheer, and we'd know who would be competing for the Golden Path Trophy and the 2022 Championship Banner by the end of tdoay's action. Let's see who did what on Saturday here on The Rundown!

The earliest game in the day saw the McGill Martlets meet the UBC Thunderbirds in their consolation semifinal match. As we know, McGill was stunned by UNB in their comeback victory while UBC was frustrated by Nipissing who didn't allow a goal. Both of these teams wanted one more day of action as Tricia Deguire was in the McGill net while Elise Hugens stood before the UBC cage.

This game saw both teams trying to notch an early goal as penalties came early, but a power-play for UBC saw Shay-Lee McConnell attempt a toe-drag, fall, and somehow still got the shot off that ended behind Deguire as McConnell lay on the ice as UBC jumped out to the 1-0 lead at 6:51. Six minutes later, the Thunderbirds doubled their score when Rylind MacKinnon was left all alone to pounce on an Ireland Perrott rebound, and she made no mistake by burying it past Deguire at 12:03 for the 2-0 lead. At the other end, Hugens was tested a few times, but she stood tall as UBC took the 2-0 lead into the first break after outshooting McGill 17-10 in the frame.

The middle frame was all about UBC's special teams, specifically their penalty-killing units, as they were guilty of five penalties to McGill's lone infraction. Hugens and the penalty-killers were solid for UBC, though, as they eliminated each of the penalties assessed to them. McGill's opportunities were there, but they simply couldn't capitalize on them. Despite outshooting UBC 11-6 in the frame, UBC still led 2-0 on the scoreboard and 23-21 in shots after 40 minutes.

With Hannah Koroll watching from the penalty box after her penalty from the second period carried into the third, Ashley McFadden would crash the crease on an Annalise Wong shot and it seemed that the puck bounced off Deguire, off McFadden, and ended up in the net as McFadden was credited with the shorthanded marker at 1:46 to give UBC the 3-0 lead! Midway through the period, Mia Bierd would find room in the slot with traffic in front, and she wired home a puck on the glove-side as UBC jumped ahead 4-0 at 10:53. From there, Hugens had more than enough offence to slam the door shut on McGill as the UBC Thunderbirds prevailed 4-0 over the McGill Martlets! Elise Hugens made 25 stops for her first win and shutout at Nationals while Tricia Deguire made 29 saves in a losing effort.

UNB awaits the winner of the Brock-UPEI semifinal game to determine the consolation side winner while McGill's tournament is over and will finish according to the results of the consolation final. The consolation final will happen Sunday morning.

Hihglights of this game are below!

The hosts in the UPEI Panthers met the OUA champions in the Brock Badgers in the second consolation semifinal on Saturday. UPEI found itself in this game after Concordia converted a touchdown on the Panthers while Brock ran into a stingy Saskatchewan team on Friday. Both teams were looking to extend their seasons one more day as Camille Scherger was in the net for the host Panthers while Tiffany Hsu was between the pipes for the Badgers!

The first period turned out to be a very quiet period in terms of the work for the scorers, but both teams were finding opportunities to score. None would turn out to be successful as both Scherger and Hsu looked sharp, so we'd head to the second period with the game still sitting at 0-0 despite Brock outshooting UPEI 9-5 in the period.

The second period would see the stalemate broken at the 12:48 mark with UPEI on the power-play. Jolena Gillard drove the net hard for the Panthers, and her shot found twine behind Hsu for the opening goal of the game as the Panthers held the 1-0 lead! UPEI stepped up their defensive efforts in the period as well as they limited Brock's looks at Scherger, and the final tally at the end of 40 minutes showed the effort as UPEI led 1-0 on the scoreboard and closed the gap in shots to a 13-12 edge for Brock.

The defensive between the Panthers and Badgers continued into the third period as that single goal held by UPEI loomed large. As time ticked down, Brock looked to score, but Jolena Gillard ended any hopes of a comeback when she netted her second goal of the game with 2:31 to play as the UPEI Panthers defeated the Brock Badgers by a 2-0 score in this game! Camille Scherger stopped 30 shots for her first win and shutout at Nationals while Tiffany Hsu was on the wrong side of a 16-save night.

UPEI will play UBC to determine the consolation side winner while Brocks's tournament is over and will finish according to the results of the consolation final. That consolation final between UPEI and UBC will happen Sunday morning.

Highlights are... non-existent for the hosts? How does that happen?

The first semifinal to determine who will play for a gold medal at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship saw the Nipissing Lakers, victorious over the UBC Thunderbirds, meet the UNB Reds who downed the McGill Martlets in dramatic fashion. Nipissing's defence would be in for a test against the scoring of the UNB, but the Reds had to cautious of the Lakers' solid play in their own systems. With a berth in the gold medal game on the line, Chloe Marshall was in the crease for the Lakers while Kendra Woodland was between the pipes for the Reds!

Both teams looked to establish the pace in this game, and, after a penalty was called on each side, things seem to settle down as both the Lakers and Reds began to play their games. We would see the game's opening goal just before the midpoint of the period as Emma Thomas' shot was stopped, but Madison Desmerais jumped all over the rebound left by Woodland as she chipped it past the Reds' netminder at 9:10 to give Nipissing the 1-0 lead! UNB's forecheck was slowed by a couple of late penalties in the period, and, as such, Nipissing was able to carry the 1-0 lead into the room while holding a 12-8 edge in shots.

Early in the second period, a long wrist shot from the point by Madison Solie pinballed off a couple of bodies in front and eluded Kendra Woodland as the Lakers grabbed a 2-0 lead at the 4:45 mark. Nipissing seemed to pick up the pace on their side after that goal, and they would continue to pressure the Reds by sending players to the blue paint and getting shots through to Woodland. That strategy would result in a third goal as Katie Chomiak's long shot was stopped, but Maggie McKee sent the puck cross-crease to Malory Dominico who redirected it into the yawning cage for the 3-0 lead at 15:22. Through 40 minutes of play, the Lakers held the three-goal cushion while outshooting the Reds 27-13!

Nipissing used the third period to lock down the defensive zone as they looked to protect the lead. UNB's chances were limited every time they crossed the offensive-zone blue line through good defensive play and players blocking shots while Nipissing clogged up the neutral zone to prevent the Reds from attacking with speed. The Reds, needing a big offensive push, chose to pull Woodland with more than five minutes remaining and while on the power-play, but Brianna Gaffney would hit the empty net to give the Lakers a fourth goal on the day. When the final horn sounded, the Nipissing Lakers had defeated the UNB Reds by that 4-0 score! Chloe Marshall recorded her second win and second shutout of this tournament with a 16-save night while Kendra Woodland suffered the loss after stopping 30 shots.

Nipissing awaits the winner of the Saskatchewan-Concordia semifinal game to determine the second team that will compete for the Golden Path Trophy while UNB will move to the bronze medal game and await the losing squad from the Saskatchewan-Concordia semifinal game. The bronze medal game will happen Sunday afternoon while the gold medal game goes in primetime!

Highlights for this game are below!

The second semifinal to determine who will play for a gold medal at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship saw the Saskatchewan Huskies, winners against the Brock Badgers, meet the Concordia Stingers who dominated the UPEI Panthers on Friday night. Would Saskatchewan be able to slow down the explosive Stingers offence while finding goals of their own, or would Concordia continue its dominance over its opponents since the calendar flipped to March? Camryn Drever was in net for the Huskies on this night while Alice Philbert guarded the cage for the Stingers!

If you're a Canada West fan, you know that the Huskies play solid defence, but the Concordia Stingers are different team. They came out of the game, established pace, brought the offence, and really shut down the Huskies in any sort of transition game. The good news is that the Huskies weathered the storm that the Stingers were mounting in the first period as we'd move to the second period still tied 0-0, but with Concordia up 16-5 in shots.

The second period felt a lot like the first period in terms of how Concordia carried the play, and it would pay off at the 3:10 mark when Audrey Belzile made a move around a Huskies defender and finished off her effort with a low shot glove-side to put Concordia up 1-0! The relentlessness of the Stingers continued to give the Huskies fits as they simply couldn't transition back down the ice, but the Huskies were standing tall in their own zone. A power-play late in the period opened the door slightly for the Stingers once more, and Maria Manarolis' deflection of a Rosalie Begin-Cyr shot eluded Drever's pad at the 16:20 mark to put Concordia up 2-0! That score would carry into the break, and it seemed like Saskatchewan had to throw caution to the wind in the third period with Concordia leading on the scoreboard and 29-8 in shots! No, that's not a typo.

Whatever Steve Kook said between the periods hit home because the Huskies were fired up for the third period. They took pucks to the net, they found shooting lanes, and they were peppering Philbert for the first time in the game. The only problem was that Philbert was equal to the task. Despite a late shot of the post by Sara Kendall, the Huskies simply ran out of time as they tried to smash the goose egg. The final horn would sound on a Concordia Stingers' 2-0 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies on this night! Alice Philbert stopped all 20 shots she faced for her second win and second shutout in this tournament while Camryn Drever made 37 saves in the loss.

The gold medal final is set as the sixth-seeded Nipissing Lakers will battle the top-seeded Concordia Stingers for hockey supremacy in 2022! Saskatchewan will meet UBC in the bronze medal game as those two teams seek some hardware as well. The bronze medal game will happen Sunday afternoon while the gold medal game goes in primetime!

Highlights of this game are below!

The updated brackets for the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship are below. Please note that McGill and Brock are not competing for the seventh-place spot, so they are not shown on the brackets. They will be placed accordingly based on the results of the fifth-place game.
There are just three games on Sunday with the fifth-place game going early, the bronze-medal game happening in the afternoon, and the gold-medal game goes in the evening. If you haven't done it yet, tomorrow would be the time to check out the CBC Sports website where all of these games can be found. The best women's hockey teams in the nation - Nipissing and Concordia - will battle for bragging rights for at least a year. Tune in and watch it!

The Last Word

Tomorrow will be the last entry for The Rundown in this 2021-22 season of U SPORTS women's hockey, and I want to thank each and every one of you who stopped by to read recaps, watch highlights, get news, and occasionally comment on the games played out in Canada West and through to the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship. You guys make this fun for me.

Everyone asks me why I do this. My answer is always the same: these women deserve to put on display for their athleticism, skill, and dedication. Despite Hockey Canada's insistence in recruiting Team Canada players from the NCAA, there's always hope that one of these amazing U SPORTS athletes will get the call for the red-and-white. I know Hockey Canada has scouts in the crowd in PEI, so I'd expect them to be keeping an eye on all the players who skated at the tournament this week. With any hope, one of these spectacular athletes will be in a Team Canada camp soon.

There were a lot of amazing things that happened in Canada West alone this season: the Huskies have the first full-time radio broadcast of their games thanks to Daniella Pontacelli and the HuskieFan app, the first all-women broadcast for both home and road teams in both the regular season and the playoffs happened in Winnipeg when the Huskies met the Bisons, Howie Draper and Steven Kook both hit important milestones in their coaching careers, Trinity Western and MacEwan showed that they're ready to compete in Canada West, the Mount Royal Cougars showed they're going to be a force, the Huskies proved they have one of the best netminders in the nation, and the UBC Thunderbirds claimed the Canada West banner.

All of those news-worthy items should have made your local newspapers and media, but I doubt they did. Let's not forget the fact that Anna Purschke was recognized for her community service in the Calgary area, or that Jana Headrick's community work in Fredericton grew the game for a pile of girls aged 6-10. Let's not dismiss the five former Lethbridge Pronghorns women who are competing for National Championship medals tomorrow, once more proving that what the Pronghorns were building was going to be special. And let's not discount the efforts each and every team took this season in not only completing a season being played during a pandemic, but did so with only postponing a handful of games.

If you're asking why I do this, it's because I always find myself in awe of these women. They're holding down impressive GPAs in order to play hockey, playing hockey at the highest level possible offered in this country, generously giving their time back to their communities, and, somehow, still have social lives while practicing and working on skills daily.

The broadcasters are always digging into players' stories, finding stats and figures to make their broadcasts better, and working alongside these athletes and programs to bring you their stories. The coaches are dedicated and committed to their athletes and programs while spending time recruiting and budgeting for their teams. The staff behind the scenes organize flights, plan bus rides, sharpen skates, fix equipment, fill water bottles, plan meals, tend to injuries, and keep players on the ice. The parents of these players and the alumni of these programs help to raise funds, volunteer at program events, and are the support system the players lean on away from the ice.

If you ask me why I do this, it's because everyone listed above - players, broadcasters, coaches, staff, parents, and alumni - keep me in awe when it comes to the amazing things the university women's hockey programs are doing in this country. I simply count myself as one of the luckiest people on the planet that I get to be involved and see it first-hand while bringing you the stories and information from other programs across this country. At the end of the day, more informed players, fans, and programs can push this game higher yet.

Thanks for reading, folks, and always know that I can be reached at any time via comments below, email on the link at the top of the page, or via Twitter if you want to chat some hockey. There's one day of hockey left in this season, but let's work together and make 2022-23 an even better season than this one!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 25 March 2022

The Rundown - U SPORTS Quarterfinals

While there may be four days of action in Charlottetown, PEI at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship happening, HBIC will feature three-straight days of recaps! We'll start with the two days of quarterfinal action in today's edition of The Rundown while Saturday's edition will recap the semifinal games and Sunday will wrap everything up with the awarding of medals and the Golden Path Trophy. The hockey action has been intense as the eight teams look to take one step closer to immortality. Let's find out who will play whom in semifinal action on Saturday today on The Rundown!

The opening game of the tournament on Thursday afternoon saw the seventh-seeded McGill Martlets, finalists in the RSEQ, meet the AUS champions and second-seeded UNB Reds. McGill has been to the tournament on a number of occasions while UNB was making their first appearance at Nationals, so one had to wonder if nerves would factor into the equation on the Reds' side. Tricia Deguire started for McGill while Kendra Woodland was between the pipes for UNB!

McGill appeared to be the more aggressive team in the opening frame, and that constant pressure they were mounting paid off at 8:27 when Laura Jardin used her speed to pull away from the UNB defence and deke around Woodland as the Martlets grabbed the 1-0 lead. Three minutes later while on the power-play, Marika Labrecque shoveled home a rebound off a Jade Landry-Downie shot, and McGill was up by a pair at 12:03! There were a handful of chances for the Reds in the first period, but they couldn't salve Deguire in the opening frame as McGill carried the 2-0 lead into the break on the strength of a 12-4 advantage in shots!

Things looked like they might get worse for the Reds as McGill was awarded a penalty shot within the first couple of minutes of the second period, but Kendra Woodland stared down the reigning U SPORTS Player of the Year in Jade Landry-Downie as she stopped the shot. That seemed to fire up the Reds as they went down the other end and scored courtesy of Sydney Oitomen's shot off a blocked Marley Van den oetel, and the Reds cut the lead to 2-1 just 2:03 into the period. 59 seconds later, though, the Marlets caught the Reds on a line change as Jade Landry-Downie was sent in alone from the blue line, and Landry-Downie went iron-and-in on Woodland to make it a 3-1 game! It seemed we'd be headed to third period with that score, but McGill notched one more in the dying seconds as Stephanie Desjardins from behind the net fed Makenzie McCallum in the slot, and she buried it past Woodland with 14.9 seconds left for the 4-1 Martlets lead! With McGill holding a three-goal lead and a 20-10 lead in shots, it seemed like this one might be over.

Whatever Sarah Hilworth said in the room between periods might have been the key to UNB's jump coming out of the room in this period as Reagan Minor drove the net, and Jana Headrick poked the puck past Deguire in the scramble just 38 seconds into the frame to make it a 4-2 game. 87 seconds later, Minor broke down the left side, tried to feed Payton Hargreaves who had her stick tied up, but Jenna Maclean swooped in and swept the puck under Deguire as she lunged forward to cover it, and it became a 4-3 game just 2:05 into the third period! UNB didn't sit back as they still needed a goal, and they'd find the equalizer just past the midway point while on the power-play when Jenna Maclean's centering pass landed on the tape of a wide-open Lillian George, and George went glove-side on Deguire to tie the game at 4-4 at the 10:29 mark!

In what was one of the more wild ten minutes of any period at Nationals I've seen in a while, the teams, squared up at 4-4, settled down and played some incredible back-and-forth hockey over the final 9:31 of action. No other goals were scored, so we'd get overtime in the opening game of the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship! Overtime, though, would solve nothing, so we'd hit the shootout to find a winner.

Both Deguire and Woodland were perfect through the opening three rounds of shooters. UNB's fourth shooter, Ashley Stratton, skated in on the right side and went shelf on the glove-side as Deguire was going down to put UNB up a goal. Jade Downey-Landry, after having been stopped once, came out for her second shootout attempt, and Woodland closed the wickets as Downie-Landry tried to go five-hole to secure the 5-4 comeback victory and advance to the semifinals! Kendra Woodland picked up her first win at Nationals by stopping 31 shots plus four more in the shootout and a penalty shot while Tricia Deguire suffered the loss after a 25-save performance.

UNB awaits the winner of the UBC-Nipissing quarterfinal game while McGill will play the losing squad from that same game. Both of those games will happen on Saturday.

Highlights of this game are below, and I'm surprised that U SPORTS isn't posting them to their YouTube channel. I had to piece these together from social media accounts, so hopefully this will suffice in place of official highlight packages from U SPORTS.

The sixth-seeded Nipissing Lakers, who were the OUA finalists, met the Canada West champions and third-seeded UBC Thunderbirds in the second game of the tournament on Thursday. UBC hadn't been to Nationals since 2017, but that makes them more experienced than Nipissing who was playing at the big dance for the first time in their history. Would nerves factor in for the Lakers in their debut? Chloe Marshall was in the crease for the Lakers while UBC went with rookie standout Elise Hugens in their net!

This game was far more physical than I thought it would be as both sides spent some time in the sin bin in the opening frame. Both teams had chances, but neither netminder was interested in giving up goals through the first 20 minutes of the game. UBC led 13-9 in shots, but Nipissing showed that they were willing to stand toe-to-toe with Canada West's best.

It was a different second period as Nipissing began a parade to the penalty box en route to being whistled for four minor penalties in the frame. UBC's power-play, though, looked off as Nipissing threw any and all bodies in front of shots while clearing rebounds for Marshall. Without shots getting to the net and Nipissing denying players from reaching there as well, UBC's power-play simply couldn't capitalize. It would be a second period without goals as UBC was up 27-13 in shots thanks to those power-plays, but the 0-0 stalemate held firm.

Three more penalties for the Lakers in this period led to UBC getting more chances on Marshall, but it was fairly clear that she wasn't going to be beat very easily on this night. Nipissing did have a handful of chances as well, but Hugens stood tall in the UBC net as well. At the final horn in regulation time, the 0-0 score was still in place, so we were off to overtime for the second-straight game as UBC led 40-22 in shots!

In the overtime period, Nipissing seemed to find their legs more than UBC did, and that resulted in prolonged periods of pressure for the Lakers inside the UBC zone for the first time in the game. That seemed to invigorate them more, and, at the 7:11 mark, Maria Dominico would center a pass that found Madison Solie at the point with bodies in front, and her blast through traffic beat Hugens on the blocker side to give Nipissing the 1-0 overtime victory over UBC! Chloe Marshall pitched a 41-save shutout for her first Nationals win while Elise Hugens made 26 saves in the loss.

Nipissing advances to play UNB on Saturday afternoon while UBC will meet McGill in the consolation semifinal on Saturday morning.

Highlights of this game are below!

The fifth-seeded Canada West finalists in the Saskatchewan Huskies met the OUA champions and fourth-seeded Brock Badgers in the early game on Friday. Saskatchewan's last appearance came in 2018 in London, Ontario where they finished in fourth-place while Brock was at the tournament for the first time. We've asked this of the other first-timers, so would nerves creep in for the Badgers against the Huskies? Could the Huskies get back to their offensive ways that dried up in the Canada West final? Camryn Drever was in the blue paint for the Huskies while Tiffany Hsu protected the Brock net in this game!

There was good pace between these two squads after Saskatchewan killed off a couple of early penalties, weathering a potential storm. Brock would get flagged for a minor penalty later in the frame, but the Badgers denied the Huskies on their opportunity. Both goaltenders were solid throughout the period as the 0-0 score would hold at the final horn with Saskatchewan up 11-8 in shots after 20 minutes of play.

There was a scary pause in the second period when Jordyn Holmes fell awkwardly, and she would need help to get off the ice. We'll get to her situation in a second, but it would seem that the Huskies regrouped during the stoppage as Sara Kendall used a wraparound at the 6:12 mark where Hsu couldn't squeeze the post enough to give Saskatchewan the 1-0 lead! The only power-play in the period would come minutes later, but Brock couldn't solve Drever nor the Huskies' penalty-killing unit as the single goal stood through the remainder of the period as the difference. We'd head to the third period with the Huskies up 1-0 and holding a 22-21 edge in shots!

The third period started off with Saskatchewan buzzing, and it would pay off when Brooklyn Stevely's shot from the top of the circle dented twine behind Hsu to make it 2-0 for Saskatchewan just 1:16 into the frame! Minutes later, Larissa Bohlken would win a puck battle along the right half-boards, and she'd find Kara Kondrat who went through the wickets on Hsu at 3:53 to make it 3-0 for the Huskies despite Bronwyn Boucher getting credit for the helper! From there, the Huskies shut down opportunities that the Badgers tried to exploit, and Nicole Fry would hit the vacated net wth Hsu on the bench to make it 4-0 with 3:36 to play, and the Saskatchewan Huskies claimed victory over the Brock Badgers by the 4-0 score! Camryn Drever earned her first win and shutout at Nationals with a 27-save performance while Tiffany Hsu was on the wrong end of a 29-save effort.

Saskatchewan awaits the winner of the UPEI-Concordia quarterfinal game while Brock will play the losing squad from that same game. Both of those games will happen on Saturday.

Highlights of this game are below!

The final semifinal game saw the host team of the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship and the eighth-seeded UPEI Panthers face off against the RSEQ champions and the top-seeded Concordia Stingers. UPEI needed a solid effort in this game to both erase the memories of their early exit from the AUS playoffs and to battle a formidible foe in the Stingers. Concordia, meanwhile, looked to continue rolling following their conference championship victory. Camille Scherger was between the pipes for the Panthers while the Stingers countered with Alice Philbert as their stopper in this game.

As you know, HBIC won't celebrate blowouts by any team on this blog, and I'm not about to do that in the final weekend of Nationals. Rosalie Bégin-Cyr scored for the Stingers on the power-play at 13:46 to open the scoring, and that was the only goal in the first period of this game despite Concordia outshooting UPEI 10-4.

Brigitte Laganière made it 2-0 with a power-play goal at 14:37 of the second period, and Stéphanie Lalancette added Concordia's third goal to their total just 1:12 later as Concordia held a three-goal lead through 40 minutes of play while posting a 21-11 advantage in shots.

Just 47 seconds into the third period, Bégin-Cyr made it 4-0 while shorthanded. Maria Manarolis put the Stingers up by five at 4:19. Bégin-Cyr capped off the hat trick at 9:58 for Concordia's sixth tally of the night, and Audrey Belzile would add a power-play goal at 18:05 to finish off the scoring as the Concordia Stingers advanced past the UPEI Panthers by a 7-0 score. Alice Philbert recorded the win and shutout on the strength of a 14-save performance while Camille Scherger stopped 25 shots in the loss.

Concordia advances to play Saskatchewan on Saturday night while UPEI will meet Brock in the consolation semifinal on Saturday afternoon.

A few highlights from this game can be found below.

We're halfway through this tournament, and there have already been a few upsets, a few surprises, and some incredible hockey action. Here's what the brackets look like after the quarterfinal round!
There's more action on the CBC website this weekend, so make sure you're tuning in as four teams stand two wins away from immortality!

The Last Word

There was no word out of PEI last night about the status of Jordyn Holmes, but I'm guessing her tournament is over. You never want to see a player get hurt for any reason, and losing Holmes will affect the Huskies in forcing them to shuffle their lineup. We'll see how everything plays out, but I doubt we'll see Holmes again this weekend.

It should be noted that one team from each of the conferences is still alive as the semifinal round begins, and that means that the gold medal is still up for grabs from any conference across Canada. I like the idea that all conferences are still in play because it shows that anyone can beat anyone in any game from any conference. Having that kind of parity is a reflection of the great coaches who are working their tails off from the eight teams in PEI as they prepare their teams, and it speaks volumes about the players who are excuting the game plans given to them.

Some will call it parity, but I believe this is great preparation and smart coaching combined with players who are well-conditioned and extremely smart as they find ways to beat teams they haven't seen all season. Seeing a couple of underdogs take down the favorites by playing smart, disciplined hockey has been a joy to watch, and I expect more of this over the next couple of days as we look to crown a winner in PEI!

Tune in via the CBC website for all the action in Charlottetown at the 2022 U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!