WATERLOO – The no. 2 nationally ranked Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks claimed their sixth consecutive provincial championship in front of 697 home town fans, with a 3-2 victory over the no. 5 Guelph Gryphons in the third game of the title best of three series.
Forward Lauren Barch (Burlington, Ont.) netted two goals to tie and put the Hawks up by one midway through the third frame. Kaley Powers (Kingston, Ont.) followed it up less than five minutes later with a power-play marker as a result of Carla D’Angelo’s tripping call. The goal was originally an insurance marker but turned into the game winner as Tayne Hewer closed the gap with a minute and 17 seconds left on the clock.
“We had to give it all we had,” said Barch when she was asked about being down by one early on. “Once we took control we had the confidence to know that we could keep the pressure on and come out with the win.”
The one-goal victory, was similar to the previous two games in the series where Guelph opened in game one with a 3-2 win and Laurier responded 2-1 the following evening.
Guelph’s Tori Woods netted the games opening marker which was an OUA post-season high as her fifth in six matches.
Gryphon netminder Cassandra McNichol had a superb game robbing the Golden Hawks many times as she stopped 30 of the 33 shots on net. Laurier’s Liz Knox (Stouffville, Ont.) faced 17 shots in the game stopping 15.
“You just have to get over it,” said Knox, the first team OUA all-star goalie on the first goal getting by her. “Especially in goal, you have to put it behind you – especially when today there were 20 more minutes to play.”
The OUA championship trophy and banner was hoisted at home for the first time since March of 2004 when the team hosted the final four series.
“This kind of series is a great prep for the Nationals for whoever comes out of Ontario,” said head coach RICK OSBORNE on the second year of the best-of-three series rule change. “Our team played well tonight and was able to push themselves to their limits and outlasted Guelph.”
The Golden Hawks now advance to the National Championships in Antigonish, Nova Scotia as one of six teams and Ontario’s champions. Games will be available on webcast through SSNCanada.ca
“We know our competition [at Nationals] and we are ready to go and keep training for our ultimate goal,” said an energized Andrea Ironside post game on the next steps.
Laurier has been to the National Championships seven times claiming one gold and three silver medals with the most recent coming in 2007/08.