Hawks drop game one of the OUA championship in overtime

(Photo by Kha Vo)
(Photo by Kha Vo)

That was a hard one to swallow.

A controversial penalty and a potential offside that wasn’t called resulted in the Queen’ Gaels scoring the overtime winner to take game one of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship, 2-1 against the Wilfrid Laurier women’s hockey team.

“We battled hard, that’s all we could do and now we have to focus on the next game,” Laurier defender Blair Connelly said.

“I thought we had the momentum going into overtime … they got a bounce and now we need to get a bounce next game,” head coach Rick Osborne said after the game.

The Hawks made it to overtime thanks to Connelly’s goal with 5.9 seconds left on the clock in the third.

But the game didn’t start without its bumps. Both the Hawks and Gaels were conservative with their play, afraid to overstep or allow defensive lapses, which left for a very sloppy first period.

The second period the tempo lifted, as both the Gaels and Hawks started to put on the pressure. Fifth-year goaltender for Gaels, Mel Dodd-Moher, stood on her head covering all shots like a veteran keeper.

She was tested by the likes of fifth-year Devon Skeats, but Dodd-Moher stood her ground.

“I think that beating Mel Dodd-Moher is going to be a big part of our game plan when we get down to Kingston,” Osborne explained.

On the opposite end of the ice, rookie goaltender Amanda Smith covered every rebound that came her way, making veteran saves in her first OUA championship.

It wasn’t until midway through the third period, however, that the deadlock was broken. Queen’s found a break on a pinch by Laurier defender Candice Styles and on a pretty play, Taryn Pilon beat Smith to put the Gaels up 1-0.

With time winding down on Laurier’s chance to tie the series opener, the Hawks pulled Smith and put on the pressure. On a play that was deep in the corner and seemed harmless, the Hawks got the puck outfront and Connelly made no mistake, tying it up with mere seconds left.

“Connelly’s just been a rock out there in the playoffs,” Osborne said.

But in overtime, a penalty was called on Dollee Meigs and a potential offside wasn’t called, which set up Jessica Wakefield perfectly to send the game winner top shelf on Smith.

The series will now head to Kingston for game two. If Queen’s wins, they will seal the OUA championship for the second year in a row. However, if the Hawks can take game two, the series will come back to Waterloo for game three Sunday night at the Waterloo Recreational Complex.

“We lost the game, but I think we got our investment in,” Osborne said. “We need to pick up the pace a bit right from the opening whistle and it’s just a matter of offence. We have some pretty high-powered players that have been held off the scoreboard for the last couple of games, and I’d look to them to break loose a little in Kingston.”

“I don’t think we can hang our head over this loss. I think we just need to use it to bounce back and play hard and show that we’re the better team in this round,” Connelly said.

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