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Women's Hockey
Laurier claims Bronze at CIS Championship
Laurier: 4 CIS Bronze Medal Game - Saint Mary's: 0

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ANTIGONISH, N.S - The No. 2 seeded Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks claimed the schools first national women’s hockey bronze medal with a 4-0 win over the No. 4 seeded Saint Mary’s Huskies.

Laurier has competed for bronze twice at nationals, losing both games. The most recent occasion was in 2006-07 against the Manitoba Bison where the Golden Hawks lost 3-2.

Earlier in the day, in the fifth place game, the University of Montreal Carabins defeated the host St. Francis Xavier X-Women 1-0. It was the Carabins first season playing CIS women’s hockey.

The gold medal game will be played between the defending champion McGill Martlets and the Alberta Panada’s. This is the first time in two years that McGill hasn’t faced Laurier in the final. Alberta’s last time in the final was in 2006-07 when they won.

Devon Skeats (Whitby, Ont.) opened the scoring for the Golden Hawks with her fourth of the tournament. The first year winger picked up the puck in front of the Laurier net on the back check and streaked back up the wing and wired a shot from the top of the circle. The Purple and Gold picked up their second marker from Caitlin Muirhead. The Waterloo native drove the net, then from her knees, directed the puck behind SMU netminder Jillian MacIsaac (Timberlea, N.S.). At the break the Golden Hawks led the Huskies 2-0 and out shot them 12-1.

The second period started out with the Hawks on the power play and both teams continued to get into trouble with nine infractions being called in the frame. Candice Styles (Orangeville, Ont.) picked up Laurier’s third goal of the contest at 14:37. Andrea Ironside made a stretch pass the sent Styles in. The OUA rookie of the year then deked a defender and went backhand on MacIsaac. The SMU goalie also had to make several big saves to keep the game close.

Saint Mary’s continued to take trips to the penalty box in the third, with six infractions called against them versus three against the Hawks. Devon Skeats took advantage while Laurier was short-handed and went five-hole on MacIssac for her second of the game and fifth of the national tournament. The first year winger only scored four goals in the regular season. Skeats was named the Hawks player of the game.

"I’m pretty happy right now," said Skeats following the game. "It’s not a full emotion I’d have if it were gold, but it’s the best we could do, I’m happy with my team. We played the best we have all week here in this game."

All told the Saint Mary’s Huskies had nine power play opportunities, while the Purple and Gold had 12. Neither team was able to score with the man-advantage.

In net, Jillian MacIssac faced 43 shots on net and stopped 39. She was named SMU’s player of the game. Liz Knox (Stouffville, Ont.) earned her third post-season shutout, stopping all nine shots on net.

"It feels really great to win, our girls deserved this one," said Knox. "We left it all out on the ice and we wanted to do that regardless of the score and I think we did that today."

In 2009-10 Laurier compiled a 26-01 regular season record and then won four straight in the post season to claim their seventh straight OUA championship banner. Their lone regular loss of the season against the Alberta Pandas cost them a chance to play for gold.

"I wanted to do everything I could for them, " said Skeats when asked about helping the veterans finish on a high note. "That’s all I was thinking about as we wanted to give them the best end to the year they could possibly have.”

The team will graduate six players this season including fifth year veterans Andrea Ironside (Collingwood, Ont.), Kate Psota (Burlington, Ont.), Vanessa Bennett (Belmot, Ont.) as well as assistant captains Laura Bartolini (Mississauga, Ont.) and Stephanie Crarey (Newmarket, Ont.). CIS Player of the Year Liz Knox also concluded her career with the Golden Hawks.

"I see a lot of shining careers coming out of our rookie crop this year," said head coach RICK OSBORNE. "We’ll have another strong group of first years next season so combined with our veterans it will create a nice blend like we had this year."
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