Golden Hawks falter against McGill in bronze showdown

EDMONTON, Alta – The effort, the spunk and the moxie were all present, but for the second year in a row, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ women’s hockey team just missed the podium, finishing in fourth at the national championships.

Their opponent, probably the strongest to ever play in a bronze medal match up; McGill Martlets, felled the Hawks 4-0 in Sunday’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) bronze medal game which many speculated would be the gold medal final.

Backstopped by Olympian goaltender Charline Labonte and defenseman Cathy Chartrand, the Martlets shut down any pressure the Hawks could muster all game long.

Laboonte stopped all 22 shots she faced, and Hawks’ first-year netminder Erika Thunder made 22 saves on 26 McGill firings.

“Things could have ended a little bit better but the girls played their hearts out,” said graduating captain Abby Rainsberry.

Michelle Daigneault, Leslie Oles, Ann-Sophie Bettez and Melodie Daoust all scored for McGill, who had a 2-0 lead after two periods and whose third goal by CIS player of the year, Bettez in the opening minute in the third period broke the backs of the Hawks.

But despite the finish, the girls played proudly and left everything they had in the tank all on the ice, says head coach Rick Osborne.

“Our kids can hold their heads high,” said the coach. “They’ve had a terrific season and it wasn’t the result we wanted but the effort was certainly there.”

The team just couldn’t come within striking distance of Labonte’s crease. The squad had only a minimal number of chances to put any sort of pressure on the Olympic goaltender.

The team graduates Rainsberry, defenseman Alicia Martin and forward Katherine Shirriff.

For more on this game and the Hawks’ showing at the 2012 CIS national championships, read this week’s edition of The Cord.

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