Final frontier

Unbeaten Ottawa up today in CIS semis

Gunning for a three-peat, the Gaels have secured their place in the national semifinal.

Queen’s defeated the Dalhousie Tigers 2-0 yesterday in the CIS quarter-final in Victoria, B.C., with goals from fourth-year midfielders Alexis McKinty and Riley Filion.

They’ll face the first-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees tonight at 7:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to the national final.

The Gaels qualified for nationals the hard way, going to penalty kicks in both of their OUA Final Four matchups last weekend.

Queen’s fell 1-0 to the Laurier Golden Hawks in the semifinal and captured the OUA bronze medal by topping the McMaster Marauders 2-1 in a thrilling shootout last Sunday.

The match against McMaster was the third straight game Queen’s had gone to extra time or penalty kicks. They squeezed by to earn their fourth straight trip to nationals.

Gaels head coach Dave McDowell found the bronze medal match much more challenging.

“[McMaster] was very well organized — they had a lot of people behind the ball,” McDowell said. “They tackled hard and stayed well organized, so it was very hard to break them down.”

After Queen’s allowed an own goal, Filion scored in the 87th minute to send the game to extra time.

Both teams missed four straight shots in the shootout, before midfielder Laura Callender scored in the eighth round to win the game for the Gaels.

McDowell praised first-year goalkeeper Madison Tyrell on her poise during the penalty kick rounds.

“Tyrell was absolutely fabulous for us, and Mac had about three penalties that could have eliminated us,” McDowell said. “She either stopped them or they missed, but she made one absolutely fantastic fingertip save in the bottom corner that kept us around.”

Saturday saw the Gaels come out on the losing end of the shootout. After a scoreless 120 minutes, Laurier prevailed 5-4 in six rounds of penalties.

After the OUA semifinal loss, Gaels co-captain Chantal McFetridge said the team never lost focus on qualifying for nationals.

“Immediately after the game [against Laurier], the only thing in our mind was winning and securing a spot in Victoria,” she said.

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