Women’s Hockey Clinches Playoff Spot in final weekend series

Queen’s comes back to beat York on Saturday, face Ontario Tech in first round on Wednesday

The Gaels capped off the regular season with a 4-0 win and a playoff berth.
Robin Kasem

The Queen’s women’s hockey team beat the York Lions 4-0 on Saturday to clinch a spot in the OUA playoffs after losing 5-1 to York the previous evening.

With their victory, Queen’s will face off against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks in Oshawa in a single-elimination playoff game on Mar. 9.

The Gaels took to the ice at the Memorial Centre for the first game of the series needing only a single win in regulation to qualify for the post-season and looked poised to lock it up in the first period after going up 1-0.

“I thought that we had a very solid first period […] we were playing a lot of really good five-on-five hockey […] I thought we had some really great chances,” women’s head coach Matt Holmberg told The Journal in an interview after Friday’s game.

Nearing the halfway mark of the first period, the Gaels’ effort in the offensive zone paid off as forward Emma McKnight fed a beautiful pass across the slot to forward Scout Watkins Southward, who buried the puck behind York goaltender Juliana Thompson for the early lead.

Queen’s goaltender Makenzy Arsenault also stood tall for the Gaels, making a difficult save mid-way through the period to keep the score 1-0.

York managed to flip the script in the second period, however, forcing Queen’s to defend for long stretches. The Gaels were able to withstand the pressure and showed off an excellent penalty kill before York finally found the back of the net, slipping the puck past Arsenault amid chaos in front to tie the game.

“We knew what sort of power play structure and system they liked to do, so we practiced that, we talked about it, we were ready for that,” Holmberg said.

“Unfortunately, we took too many penalties, we gave our PK too many times out there to show what they could do.”

After solving Arsenault once more with another shot through traffic midway through the third period, York followed it up with another goal from distance.

With the Gaels taking several penalties in quick succession, York scored once more on the power play before netting another with just over two minutes left to play for the 5-1 win.

On the road the following evening, however, the Gaels found far more success. After a quiet first period, forward Kelsey Dunn beat Thompson on the power-play for the lead nearing the mid-point of the second period after York was whistled for a penalty for head contact.

Queen’s continued to pressure York with three goals in the third, aided by a string of Lions penalties. 

Forward Alexandra Maw struck on the power play off an assist from defender Charlotte Melindy to double up the score.

Forward Scout Watkins added another two points to her series total with a goal two minutes later, following it up with an unassisted goal with less than a minute to play in the period to clinch the 4-0 victory.

Bouncing back from a rough outing on Friday, Arsenault also found her form, stopping all 38 shots she faced to claim her first shutout of the season at just the right time.

Puck drop for the first round of the OUA women’s hockey playoffs is at 7 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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.