TORONTO – Women’s hockey’s dream season came to an end in the fifth-place game at nationals.
The Gaels came up short in their final game of the year, losing 2-1 to the UBC Thunderbirds. Queen’s finished in sixth place overall, two years after winning a national bronze medal.
After a scoreless first period, UBC forward Nadine Burgess scored with 4:06 left in the second to put the Thunderbirds up 1-0.
Just 38 seconds later, forward Genevieve Carpenter-Boesch wired a shot from the slot past Gaels goalie Mel Dodd-Moher, doubling the lead.
The Gaels got on the board 3:14 into the third period, when forward Brittany McHaffie tipped in a shot on a 5-on-3 power play to bring the Gaels within one.
Dodd-Moher made 18 saves for Queen’s, while Thunderbirds netminder Samantha Langford stopped 24 shots.
The Gaels played with a short bench, as All-Canadian centre Morgan McHaffie sat out the game due to an injury she suffered in yesterday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Calgary Dinos.
Head coach Matt Holmberg said McHaffie’s absence wasn’t a contributing factor in the loss.
“This team has played games without Morgan … and others throughout the year and been successful,” he said. “It wasn’t a distraction for the team.”
The Thunderbirds’ defensive style limited the Gaels’ scoring chances, as Queen’s players found themselves pinned up against the boards and unable to get shots on net.
“Sometimes when there are those grinder-type games, those are tough to play against,” Holmberg said. “We’ve got experience playing against teams like that in our league, so it wasn’t anything overly unusual.”
The game was a chippy affair right from the beginning, with both teams upping their physicality as the game moved along. The Gaels had 11 opportunities with the man advantage, but only managed the single goal.
“The ref gave us plenty of power plays,” Holmberg said. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capitalize today.”
This story was updated at 3:37 p.m.
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