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Women’s hockey falls in first round

Women’s hockey forward Morgan McHaffie was the OUA’s top scorer with 16 goals and 22 assists this season.
Women’s hockey forward Morgan McHaffie was the OUA’s top scorer with 16 goals and 22 assists this season.

One year after a Cinderella playoff run that ended with an Ontario title and a national bronze medal, the women’s hockey team was upset in the first round of the OUA playoffs.

On Feb. 19, the Gaels fell to the York Lions in double overtime in the deciding game of a best-of-three series — a disappointing end to a promising season that fell apart in the new year.

The Gaels posted a 10-3-2 record to open the season, good for third in the OUA heading into the winter break.

But 2012 brought problems. Forward Brittany McHaffie was sidelined with a knee injury and the team lost seven of its final 11 regular-season games, including a 7-0 home loss to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.

The Gaels secured fourth place to earn home-ice advantage against the Lions — but lost both playoff games at the Memorial Centre.

Despite the early playoff exit, head coach Matt Holmberg can be optimistic about the future. All of his players will return next season.

Brittany and Morgan McHaffie emerged as elite players this season — Morgan recorded a league-best 38 points and was named the OUA player of the year while Brittany had 10 goals and 15 assists despite missing three games with injury. Their linemate, Alex Cieslowski, had 10 goals and 11 assists.

Defender Katie Duncan was an OUA second-team all-star while winger Taryn Pilon scored 21 points to make the all-rookie team.

Holmberg had goalies Karissa Savage and Mel Dodd-Moher sharing the starting role this season. Savage posted a .92 save percentage, a 2.4 goals against average and one shutout while Mel Dodd-Moher ended the season with a .91 save percentage, a 2.7 goals against average and two shutouts.

Dodd-Moher played all three playoff games, allowing nine goals on 89 shots. Dodd-Moher will be back next season, but Savage is still undecided.

With an extra season of experience, the Gaels will be better in 2012-13. The 25-0-1 Golden Hawks might still be out of reach, but Queen’s should be able to earn a spot in the OUA final.

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