Golden opportunity

Gaels have two chances to clinch league title at home after shutting out tenth-ranked Western on Wednesday night

Gaels goaltenders Karissa Savage and Mel Dodd-Moher have rotated throughout the playoffs, backstopping Queen’s to five straight victories.
Gaels goaltenders Karissa Savage and Mel Dodd-Moher have rotated throughout the playoffs, backstopping Queen’s to five straight victories.
Photo: 
The Gaels bested the Guelph Gryphons 3-1 on Feb. 22 for the two-game series sweep in the OUA semifinals.
The Gaels bested the Guelph Gryphons 3-1 on Feb. 22 for the two-game series sweep in the OUA semifinals.
Photo: 

The women’s hockey team is one win away from OUA gold.

A home victory over the Western Mustangs tonight or on Sunday would secure their second title in three years.

Queen’s won game one 4-0 in London on Wednesday, with fifth-year goaltender Karissa Savage earning the shutout.

A goalie duel was expected between Western’s OUA First-Team All-Star Kelly Campbell and the Gaels’ tandem of Savage and Mel Dodd-Moher. The Queen’s pair has played solidly so far throughout the playoffs.

After being blown out by the Windsor Lancers to the tune of 6-1 in the first game of their quarter-final matchup, Queen’s has yielded just six goals in five straight wins.

Gaels head coach Matt Holmberg said the defensive side of the game, especially fore-checking, will play a major role in deciding the championship series.

“We’ve preached defensive zone play all year,” Gaels head coach Matt Holmberg said. “The team from Karissa [Savage] on out really proved [Wednesday night] that they’re still playing strong in the D-zone. I’m very proud of that.”

After the initial blowout against Windsor, the Gaels rallied to 3-2 and 7-1 victories.

Centre Morgan McHaffie starred in the first-round series, contributing six points in two games played, including a five-point performance in the deciding game.

Against the Guelph Gryphons in the second round, the Gaels snapped Guelph’s 16-game winning streak with a 4-2 victory in game one, winning 3-1 in game two for the series sweep.

The McHaffie twins have continued their strong play from the regular season. Morgan leads all players with 11 points, while Brittany has put up nine points in six playoff games.

The Gaels have also benefitted from offensive depth, with five players contributing five or more points so far in the playoffs.

“The twins have been playing great, as they have all year, and are having a fantastic playoffs,” Holmberg said. “But we knew we wouldn’t go far unless we had our other forwards and our [defence] contributing offensively as well.”

In Wednesday’s game alone, seven different players contributed points, with Savage stopping all 26 shots she faced.

“We worked hard for [home ice advantage] and will certainly do our best to bring it home on the weekend,” Holmberg said.

Game two takes place Friday night at the Memorial Centre, with the puck dropping at 7:30 p.m. Game three, if necessary, would take place in Kingston on Sunday at 3:30 p.m.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.