McGill stays undefeated, heads to to gold medal game

From the drop of the puck, the McGill Martlets were clearly the better team on Saturday afternoon as they earned their fifth-straight trip to the Canadian Interuniversity sport (CIS) women’s hockey finals.

Behind the solid goaltending of Charline Labonte, the Martlets were able to sustain control of the game and spend most of the afternoon firing shots at the Queen’s net.

The party started very early for McGill, as first year Industrial Relations major Katia Clement-Heydra was able to score on the powerplay just 1:30 into the game.

The early scoring was followed up by a plethora of penalties from both squads.

The parade to the penalty box, initiated by Queens, went on throughout the first period, with the Gales amassing four penalties to McGill’s three, all of which ended Marlet powerplays, a stat that was particularly unsettling for head coach Peter Smith.

“It seemed like everytime we got a powerplay, we would get a call against us,” he said. “We were over exuberant out there, but not malicious. It was an issue of not skating and being undisciplined. We talked about that and said no more penalties”.

Queens was able to generate one goal in the period, as Kelsey Thomson went top shelf after being left wide open in the slot.

The second period was a little easier for the Martlets, as they were able to score just four minutes into the frame.

This goal came courtesy of player of the game Jordanna Peroff, again on the powerplay.

Only three minutes later, fifth-year forward Alyssa Cecere was able to score the Martlets’ third powerplay goal of the game.

Defensively, the Martlets shut down the Gaels throughout the frame, not allowing a shot on net for the first 15 minutes of the frame.

It was behind their powerplay, which went 2-7, that the Martlets were able to find their offensive game, a trend that has been occurring for the larger portion of the season.

“Our powerplay was good and has been really good for the latter half of the season” said Smith.

“We have skilled people out there, and we keep it simple, work hard, and track rebounds”.

The game was not played without some controversy however, as the two teams got extremely physical in the last two periods, highlighted by defenceman Gillian Ferrari getting away with an obvious hit from behind, deep in the Queens zone.

Captain Cathy Chartrand made it clear that the physicality of the game and the controversy that came along with it does not influence how her team plays on the ice.

“Our focus is our team, and playing our game, for an entire game, so we don’t worry about our opponent, we just follow our plan and that’s what we did”.

Smith was not alarmed by the undisciplined play of the first period, but more by the sloppy play that his championship bound team showed.

“I thought we didn’t manage the puck well in the first period,” he said. “And we had too many turnovers and were not communicating enough. We need to be quicker with the puck”.

Smith’s squad will have an opportunity to display their more disciplined, fine tuned game tomorrow evening on the biggest stage of the season.

Their captain is saying the right things so far about the championship match.

“We have played a lot of tight and important games over the last few seasons so that just helps us in terms of staying calm and not getting overwhelmed” said Chartrand, who is ready for the challenge, and not afraid…. Tomorrow is a big day”.

If the Martlets are able to come out victorious tomorrow, it will cap off a perfect season, as they just completed their 30th straight win.