GUELPH, Ont. – The number two nationally ranked Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawk women’s hockey team claimed their seventh consecutive provincial gold medal today as they defeated the Guelph Gryphons 2-1.
The 2-1 win comes in the second game of the best of three series where the Golden Hawks defeated the Gryphons in the first contest, 2-0.
The victory grants the team the only Ontario berth into the National Championships next week in Antigonish, Nova Scotia.
Rookie Devon Skeats (Whitby, Ont.) netted the game winning goal midway through the first period as she slipped the puck by Gryphon net minder Danielle Skoufranis (Thornhill, Ont.) after wrapping around the net with a rebound.
"My heart just dropped as the puck went in," described an
elated Skeats after the game. "I was just so excited to see us get the go-ahead
Katherine Shirriff (Carrying Place, Ont.) netted a power play marker to open scoring in the contest as she picked up a loose rebound and put it in the net after Kaley Powers (Kingston, Ont.) took the initial shot at the start of a power play. Guelph’s Erin Small (Pickering, Ont.) evened up the contest less than three-minutes later when she snuck the puck by Liz Knox (Stouffville, Ont.).
"What a great series we’ve all just seen," said head coach Rick Osborne on the strong hockey demonstrated between Guelph and Laurier. "This year was our best ever season and there was a bit of pressure on us again entering the playoffs. There are a lot of people in our dressing room from rookies this year to our veteran presence that have helped us to get through this season."
Hawk goaltender and OUA player of the year Liz Knox made 21 saves through the contest with just the single goal getting by while Skoufranis stopped 14 of the 16 shots Laurier put on her.
"They showed us their best today and we battled through it one shot at a time, one shift at a time," commented Knox on the significant performance from Guelph in the elimination game. "We faced incredible pressure after the second intermission going into that final period up by one and then the buzzer went and it was just unbelievable."
Shiriff from Laurier and Small from Guelph were named the Harrow Sports Canada Ltd. Players of the game.
"This championship means a lot," commented head coach Rick Osborne on the seventh consecutive championship in the sport. "It ties the record with University of Toronto and I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for that program as they established a strong base for women’s hockey."
The University of Toronto Varsity Blues ran their consecutive series in the pre-OUA era of women’s hockey from 1987/88 to 1993/94. Toronto’s streak came to an end in the 1994-95 season against the Guelph Gryphons.
The seeding for the women’s hockey National Championships will be announced later this weekend. The championship round-robin tournament begins March 11th at the Keating Millennium Centre.
"We have a job to do now," stated Knox in regards to the
National Championships in Antigonish. "We’ve come out the last two years with
the wrong colour around our necks, so we’re going to have to get the job done
and that starts tomorrow."