Gaels come up short

Women’s hockey takes second-ranked Laurier to triple overtime in Waterloo, but can’t hang on

The women’s hockey team rolled into Waterloo on Saturday night looking to shake off their 7-0 drumming from Thursday, tie their semi-final series against the second-ranked Laurier Golden Hawks and force a third game. Although Queen’s managed to force a third overtime, the Gaels couldn’t hold out against the offensive barrage put forth by Laurier and fell 3-2.

Gaels’ forward Kristin Smith, who scored Queen’s first goal, said the loss was difficult to bear.

“It was a heartbreaker,” she said. “We played really, really well and didn’t deserve the outcome.”

The game didn’t start well for Queen’s as they gave up the first goal eight minutes in to Laurier’s Heather Fortuna. Smith scored her first OUA playoff goal to tie it up two minutes later though, taking both teams into the period break at evens. Halfway through the second period, Queen’s captain Cassie Sparks notched a shorthanded goal to give the Gaels the one-goal lead they held until the third period when Kaley Powers tied the game for Laurier.

Queen’s resisted Laurier’s pressure through another 46 minutes of overtime, but couldn’t hold out against a 5-on-3 power play that resulted in the Golden Hawks’ winning goal.

Goaltender Melissa John, who stopped 57 shots, said the high shot count did not discount the strong game played by the Gaels.

“Saturday was do-or-die and we gave them all they could handle,” she said. “It was our best defensive game ever. We were tipping shots away and keeping all their shots to the outside. … It was nice going out knowing you took the second ranked team in Canada to triple overtime.”

Although the Gaels defied the odds in the quarterfinals, beating the ninth-ranked University of Toronto Varsity Blues 4-2, John felt the season didn’t meet their expectations.

“We definitely underachieved during the season,” she said. “Our team comes out to play when our backs are against the wall. It was disappointing coming out 13-13 when we know we could have only lost three games all season.”

Head coach Harold Parsons said the team’s problem was in finding consistency.

“It was a strange season in respect to the ups and downs,” he said. “We beat the teams that were ahead of us but we struggled against the teams below us. It was a frustrating season, never knowing how you were going to perform.”

Parsons said the team’s continued high performance has been something to take note of, though.

“Being in the top four for the eighth year in a row, at some point you’ve got to appreciate that.”

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