Senior sendoff

Three points in final weekend homestand

Third-year forward Courtenay Jacklin had two points in Queen’s win over Waterloo on Friday.
Third-year forward Courtenay Jacklin had two points in Queen’s win over Waterloo on Friday.
With four games left in the season, the third-place Gaels sit two points behind Guelph and one point behind Laurier.
With four games left in the season, the third-place Gaels sit two points behind Guelph and one point behind Laurier.

Women’s hockey took advantage of familiar surroundings in their final home games of the regular season.

The nationally fifth-ranked Gaels earned three points in their games against the Waterloo Warriors (7-9-4) and Laurier Golden Hawks (15-2-3) at home last weekend. Of particular importance was Saturday’s overtime loss against the nationally fourth-ranked Golden Hawks, as Queen’s is just one point behind them for first place in the OUA.

“The momentum went back and forth all game. I’m disappointed with the loss but I thought our team played very well,” said Gaels head coach Matt Holmberg. “We know they’re a quick team and they have some players to watch but I thought we did a decent job of stopping them.

“These are the types of games that will help you get ready for the playoffs and I think we’ll be well prepared for them next time.”

The Gaels won in convincing fashion against the eighth-placed Warriors on Friday night, earning a 3-1 victory.

Taking advantage of defender Danielle Girard’s power play marker late in the first period, Queen’s never trailed en route to the win. Rookie forward Nadia Larocca and second-year winger Courtenay Jacklin had the other two goals for the home side.

Three senior Gaels players — defender Marlee Fisher, goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher and captain Morgan McHaffie — were recognized prior to the Laurier game for their contributions to the Queen’s program.

“It’s been great that we had a lot of rookies who got to learn from them for at least one year,” Holmberg said. “They’ll be missed for sure.”

Dodd-Moher had to be sharp early on to keep the game scoreless, as Gaels turnovers and crisp Laurier passing led to several scoring chances for the Hawks.

After weathering the early storm, it was the Gaels who scored first at the 8:19 mark of the first period. Rookie forward Jessica Wakefield had a high-energy shift, getting three quality shots on net before eventually rifling one in from the high slot off an assist from McHaffie.

The Gaels added another marker later in the period thanks to McHaffie. Blueliner Alisha Sealey wristed a shot in from the point, which Laurier goalie Amanda Smith had trouble handling. The puck trickled to McHaffie, who made no mistake from up close.

Laurier regrouped and scored two goals just 63 seconds into the second period to even up the game. Both goals were scored by fourth-year winger Laura Brooker, who finished the game with a hat trick.

Gaels centre Shawna Griffin finally restored the Queen’s lead with five minutes left in the period, scoring off a hard pass from Clare McKellar in the corner.

A resilient Laurier team came out strong in the third period, with winger Devon Skeats scoring her 10th of the season to even the score at 3-3.

Jacklin missed a glorious opportunity to score on a two-on-one, hitting the crossbar as the game remained tied. While the Golden Hawks used their speed to create chances, the Gaels played gritty hockey, blocking multiple shots to keep the game tied.

Though the Gaels fought hard in overtime, even killing off a penalty, Brooker finished scored her third goal with 43.5 seconds left in the extra period on a two-player breakaway, ending the game at 4-3.

“We know that come playoff time, things are always very different and anyone can win,” McHaffie said, who moved within six points of Elizabeth Chiasson's Queen's and OUA points record.

“Personally, I’ve faced Laurier a few times in the playoffs and we know that if we face them again, it’s going to count for everything.”

The Gaels will now play their final four regular season games on the road, starting with games against Brock (8-11-1) and Guelph (16-3-0) next weekend.

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