Hawks go without a medal

The similarities were eerie.

A missed Laurier penalty shot. Mel Dodd-Moher standing on her head, stopping shot after shot in the Queen’s net. The upstart Queen’s Gaels giving the Laurier Golden Hawks all they could handle and more.

But what made things downright scary for the purple and gold was when Kerstin van Bolderen’s perfectly placed shot found its way past Liz Knox. The Gaels had done it again; just like in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) semifinal, the underdog team from Queen’s had dashed the Hawks dreams.

In the OUA semifinals, it was a run of seven straight Laurier titles that the Gaels disrupted. But on Sunday afternoon, it was their shot of winning a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) medal on home ice.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Queen’s I don’t think a lot of people took them seriously in the OUA and I think coming into this tournament it was the same thing,” said Knox. “But we have a lot of respect for them as a team, their coaching and their goaltending. We knew it was going to be a tough game.”

Van Bolderen’s goal came with just over two minutes left in Sunday’s CIS bronze medal game and gave the Gaels the 1-0 win. 1-0 seemed to be the only way this game would end as Knox and Dodd-Moher were spectacular.

Dodd-Moher made 33 saves, including an Andrea Shapero penalty shot, while Knox made 26. Dodd-Moher’s performance was indicative of the way she played all tournament and all post-season, carrying her team to the bronze medal.

“She’s a great young goalie,” said Knox of Dodd-Moher. “She’s got a great future ahead of her. I’m looking forward to seeing her develop as a player and they’ll definitely be relying on her for the next few seasons.”

While Dodd-Moher and the Gaels ended the Hawks chances at bronze on home ice with Sunday’s win, the purple and gold’s hopes of a home ice gold were dashed a few days earlier by eventual silver medalists, the St. F.X. X-Women.

The Hawks fell 4-3 to the X-Women on the first night of the tournament putting them squarely behind the eight ball in this quick tournament.

“We took it out of our hands by losing to X,” said Laurier head coach Rick Osborne. “Clearly we were planning on the gold medal game in this tournament; that was our goal. But we couldn’t get things to go our way and that’s kind of the way things went this entire season.”

After losing to St. F.X., Laurier needed a big win over the Manitoba Bisons and then some help from those same X-Women in order to play for gold. The Hawks held up their end of the bargain, with a 4-0 win, but the Bisons fell just short, losing a wild 4-3 game to the X-Women, sending the purple and gold to the bronze medal game.

This year marked the first time since 2003-04 that the Hawks didn’t win a medal at nationals. But beyond losing a medal, the hardest part for team captain Abby Rainsberry was that the bronze medal loss was the last career game for fifth-years Knox and Erin Weber.

“It was really hard to see them go out like that,” said Rainsberry. “In that situation I don’t think anyone really knows what to say. It was tough see them go and it’s tough knowing that that will be the last game they play.”

The future of fourth-years Katherine Shirriff, Alicia Martin and Heather Fortuna are still undecided.