TORONTO — CIS nationals were filled with heartbreak for the women’s hockey team.
On the national stage last weekend, Queen’s fell just short in each of their games, finishing sixth in the country.
All three losses came by only one goal, though the games themselves were very different.
Queen’s started the tournament off on the right foot in their
opening game against the St. FX X-Women, thanks to Brittany McHaffie’s goal 2:50 into the first frame. The one-goal difference persisted through two periods of play.
“[Defensive pressure] has been part of our game all year long,” head coach Matt Holmberg said. “We’ve had a strong forecheck [and] there were some good things that were happening on it in this game.”
St. FX eventually capitalized four minutes into the third period, forcing overtime.
The X-Women’s tying goal appeared to have been kicked in, but after a discussion the officials ruled the goal would stand. St. FX’s Taylor Dale scored the game-winner 7:55 into the extra frame.
“St. FX is a good, solid team,” Holmberg said. “It was a close, exciting game. Unfortunately we came out on the wrong end.”
In their second game against the Calgary Dinos, Queen’s came out flat, falling behind 4-1 after two periods.
Gaels forwards Courtenay Jacklin and Morgan McHaffie scored midway through the third frame to cut the goal deficit to one. With 12 seconds left, Chantal Morais’ power play marker sent the game to overtime.
From there, Calgary forward Iya Gavrilova replied with a power play goal on Karissa Savage to hand the Gaels their second straight overtime loss.
Holmberg said a team motto was a force behind Queen’s third-period resurgence.
“One of the mottos of this team throughout the year was ‘hustle and heart will set us apart,’” Holmberg said. “That’s why they stayed in [the Calgary game] — because of the hustle and heart.”
In the fifth-place game, the Gaels fell 2-1 to the UBC Thunderbirds, despite out-shooting them 25-20. For several Gaels, it was their final game played in a Queen’s uniform.
Fifth-year captain Kristin Smith talked about the team’s emotions following their season finale.
“There [were] a lot of tears. They’re still flowing. It’s pretty emotional for everyone,” she said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the team … and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
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