The women’s hockey team’s comeback was foiled by a third-period penalty shot on Wednesday night at the Memorial Centre.
After falling behind 3-0 to the York Lions in game one of their first-round playoff series, the Gaels scored three unanswered goals and tied it up in the third period.
But less than three minutes later, the Lions scored on a penalty shot to win 4-3 and take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
“She made a good move, my head wasn’t in it,” Gaels goalie Mel Dodd-Moher said. “I should’ve had it … that was the deciding factor.”
The Lions opened the scoring five minutes into the first period on Wednesday night. Gaels head coach Matt Holmberg said it was deflating to fall behind so early in the game.
“That was a tough goal,” he said. “The puck just sort of squeaked [in].”
The Lions scored again before the break and added a third early in the second period. But the Gaels got a spark when Alana Smith scored four minutes later to make it 3-1.
“The whole bench was really wound up [after Alana’s goal],” forward Brittany McHaffie said. “Once you get the first goal, it’s easier to get goals after that.”
Brittany scored on the power play a minute later and her sister, forward Morgan McHaffie, tied the game on an end-to-end rush half-way through the third period. Holmberg said the comeback occurred because his team stayed positive on the bench.
But with just over 10 minutes left to play, Gaels defender Mary Coughlin hauled down Lions forward Katrina Tollis on a breakaway and a penalty shot was called. Tollis scored the winning goal on a backhand deke.
Late in the game, the Gaels held a five-on-three advantage for a minute and 15 seconds, but couldn’t score.
“We were too stationary,” Brittany McHaffie said. “[On a] five-on-three, sometimes it’s almost like you feel you don’t have to skate — but you have to power through.”
Game two takes place in Toronto on Friday. The Gaels have to win to avoid elimination and force game three in Kingston on Sunday.
“I like the situation we’re in. Sometimes it’s easier being the underdogs,” Brittany said. “York might go in thinking they have the upper hand and might not have to work as hard.”