Squeeze & breeze

Two distinct types of wins keep defending champs in first

The Gaels depended on depth to capture both games this weekend, as 10 different players provided points.
The Gaels depended on depth to capture both games this weekend, as 10 different players provided points.

Women’s hockey is atop the OUA again after a blowout win and a last-minute goal.

On Saturday, the nationally third-ranked Gaels (8-0-3) earned a hard-fought 3-2 win against the Toronto Varsity Blues (6-2-1), who were looking to crack the CIS Top 10 with a statement victory against Queen’s.

The next day, the Gaels dominated from start to finish in a 7-1 rout of the Ryerson Rams (3-6-0).

Fifth-year centre Morgan McHaffie scored a game-winning power play goal against Toronto on Saturday with just 36.5 seconds left in regulation.

“Against a good team like Toronto, who’s had a great start, we needed to play solid the whole 60 minutes, and that’s what we got from the players today,” said Gaels head coach Matt Holmberg.

“We knew it was going to be a tight game, so we thought special teams might be the difference and the girls ended up pulling it off in the end.”

Toronto had the game’s first real scoring chance, as Gaels goalie Mel Dodd-Moher made a save less than four minutes in, keeping the game scoreless.

The Varsity Blues scored moments later off of a poor defensive giveaway, but Gaels fourth-year centre Shawna Griffin tied it up just a few minutes later, scoring on a wraparound chance.

Queen’s managed to take the lead less than five minutes into the second period, after a slow-paced first frame left both teams with just six shots on net. Third-year winger Taryn Pilon flew down the wing and made a forehand-backhand deke, roofing the puck glove-side on the Varsity Blues goaltender.

The Gaels got into penalty trouble in the third period, giving up two straight for bodychecking. This led to Toronto’s equalizer: A well-placed backhander that went just over Dodd-Moher’s glove and into the top right corner, tying the game at 2-2.

“We killed off a lot of power plays and they finally got one in the third period, but I didn’t see anyone slouching their shoulders on the bench,” Holmberg said. “Everyone just kept plugging away.”

Toronto had a chance to score again with five minutes left in regulation, but Dodd-Moher made two good saves to keep the game tied.

With just 1:16 left in the game, the Varsity Blues took a crucial penalty, leading to a redirected point shot from third-year defenceman Danielle Girard and the winning goal from McHaffie.

“Toronto has a really good goalie, so our game plan was to just crash the net and get some dirty goals which we were able to do,” Dodd-Moher said. “It’s always fun to play them, because we have a pretty good rivalry with them.”

Against Ryerson, Queen’s scored four unanswered goals within a five-minute span late in the first period, quickly putting the game out of reach. Griffin had a goal and two assists in the first period alone, finishing with an impressive five-point performance.

Her linemate Courtenay Jacklin added a pair of markers and an assist, as the Gaels forced Ryerson to make a goalie change after the first period.

Queen’s will head out west next, facing the Windsor Lancers (5-5-1) tomorrow and the Western Mustangs (7-4-1) Sunday.

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