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Laurier rebounds with 3-0 win over Panthers
Laurier: 3 UPEI - CIS Championship: 0

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EDMONTON (March 9, 2012) - The No. 1 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks rebounded from a tough opening night loss at the CIS Championship on Friday afternoon as they defeated the fourth-seeded UPEI Panthers by a score of 3-0 at Clare Drake Arena.

Facing a must-win situation to keep their chances of playing for a medal alive, the Hawks dominated puck possession throughout the contest, outshooting the Panthers 34-12.

"That was more of a typical Laurier women's hockey game," said head coach RICK OSBORNE after the victory. "It was three 20 minute mini-games and we won each of them 1-0."

Needing a quick start to set the tone, the Hawks got it thanks to second year forward Laura Brooker of Fergus, Ont. Less than five minutes into the opening period, Brooker found a loose puck off a faceoff in the Panthers zone before stepping into the slot and firing a shot past UPEI goaltender Kristy Dobson of Bathurst, N.B.

Laurier would continue to control the play in the Panthers zone for long stretches of time in the first period but Dobson and the UPEI defenders, who blocked numerous shots, kept the Hawks off the board.

In the second, the purple and gold got themselves into penalty trouble early on, taking back-to-back penalties, allowing the Panthers to regain their confidence. UPEI nearly tied the contest early in the period on a goal-mouth scramble but Laurier netminder Erika Thunder of Buffalo Point, Man., held her ground and kept the puck out.

Midway through the second period, after the Hawks had hemmed the Panthers in their zone for almost a full minute, Laurier was finally able to stretch their lead to two. Katherine Shirriff of Carrying Place, Ont., was able to get a stick on a shot from Blair Connelly of Amherstburg, Ont., and redirected it past a helpless Dobson to make it 2-0.

Jessie Hurrell of Palgrave, Ont., would round out the scoring early in the final stanza when she picked off an errant pass before streaking in and beat Dobson over the blocker.

With a three-goal cushion, the Hawks played a shutdown game for the final 15 minutes, holding the Panthers to just one shot as they skated away with the victory.

"We refocused today and bounced back from yesterday's loss," said Shirriff. "We did the best we could to put ourselves in a situation to compete for a medal now."

"Thunder bounced back really well and so did our defence and the rest of our forwards," added team captain Abby Rainsberry of Petrolia, Ont. "It was a much better outcome today." 

Thunder earned her first career win and shutout at the CIS Championship thanks to a 12 save performance. The shutout is the sixth in Laurier's history at the national tournament.

As for the Panthers Dobson, she finished with 31 saves and was named UPEIs player of the game. Devon Skeats of Whitby, Ont., earned the honours for Laurier after recording a game-high five shots on goal.

The Hawks will now wait on the outcome of the Montreal-UPEI game on Saturday afternoon to see what medal they will play for on Sunday. Laurier needs the Panthers to win in regulation and by less than a five-goal differential in order to play for the gold medal. Any other result will send the Hawks to the bronze medal game.

Stay tuned to www.laurierathletics.com for complete tournament information.

NOTES: Shirriff's second period tally was the 10th playoff goal in her career at Laurier...Hurrell has now scored in three-straight games for the Hawks...Fiona Lester of Peterborough, Ont., and Connelly led all players in plus/minus as they were both +3 on the night...the game marked the first appearance for the Panthers as the CIS Championship 
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