Gaels lose to Laurier

Women’s hockey can’t best top-ranked Golden Hawks but beat Waterloo to finish regular season

The women’s hockey team split a set of road games against the Laurier Golden Hawks and Waterloo Warriors last weekend.

On Saturday, the Gaels played a tightly-contested games against the undefeated Golden Hawks but came up short in the shootout, finishing on the losing end of a 4-3 decision.

Laurier scored first and scored early. After a tying goal from Gaels’ forward Morgan McHaffie, the Golden Hawks scored again with 16 seconds left to go into the break up 2-1.

After extending their lead to 3-1 midway through the second period, the Gaels clawed back to finish the game 3-3.

In the ensuing shootout, Laurier forward Andrea Ironside got one past Gaels goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher to win the game for the Golden Hawks. Head coach Matt Holmberg said Dodd-Moher performed well in the shootout.

“Laurier’s goalie is one of the best in the league, [but] we forced her to make three really good saves,” he said. “Mel made a nice save on one, but Laurier’s captain was able to squeak one by her and that’s all it took.”

Holmberg said the game was the culmination of a number of weeks’ worth of work.

“We’ve been building week by week,” he said. “The girls came out and played their best game of the season on Saturday against Laurier. [They] continued to improve on things we’ve been working. It [all] came together for us.” He said the game was a strong team effort.

“Every line played well. It’s difficult for me to single out any individual player. I give credit to everyone who played.”

A win over the No. 2 nationally ranked Golden Hawks would have been a major upset for the No. 8 Gaels, who will be the OUA’s first and second seeds.

On Sunday, the Gaels played the Waterloo Warriors in their final game of the regular season. The Warriors, whose 7-17-3 record puts them in ninth place in the OUA and out of the playoff picture, were no match for the Gaels, landing on the losing end of a 4-1 score.

Fourth-year forward Becky Conroy, the OUA’s second-leading scorer, said it was good to close out the season against a weaker team.

“The biggest thing was that Waterloo was already out of a playoff spot,” she said. “We went in like [it was] any other game… trying to get the win. That’s what we did, and it was good to practice our systems and just get another game under our belts before the playoffs.”

The Gaels had three of the OUA’s top four scorers this season, including fourth-year forward Elizabeth Kench, Conroy, and fourth-year forward Kelsey Thomson. Dodd-Moher was second ranked in the OUA with a .942 save percentage.

The Gaels have completed their regular season with a record of 19-5-3, giving them 41 points. With a bye through the first round, the Gaels will wait to meet their semifinal opponent Feb. 25 on home ice.

Holmberg said the team is prepared for the challenge.

“We truly believe that we are a strong enough team and are playing well enough to win the OUA championship.”

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