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Women's Hockey
Western shuts down Laurier to win series
Laurier: 0 Western - Game 3: 1

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WATERLOO, Ont. (February 24, 2013) - For the first time in a decade, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women's hockey team will not play for the CIS Championship after they were eliminated by the No. 10 Western Mustangs on Sunday night 1-0 in Game 3 of their OUA Semifinal series.

A determined Mustangs' squad bounced the Hawks, ranked No. 4 in Canada, from the playoffs. Western scored the series-winning goal with just over five minutes to play in what was a hard-fought game by both teams.

"I'm proud of everyone on this team," said team captain Fiona Lester of Peterborough, Ont., who played her final game as a Golden Hawk. "Everyone played their hearts out tonight. It's too bad that tonight we just didn't have it."

Kendra Deller of London, Ont., was the hero for the Mustangs as she scored her first career playoff goal at the 14:17 mark of the third period. Goaltender Kelly Campbell of St. Thomas, Ont., also shone once again for Western as she recorded her second shutout of the series, a 29-save effort including a number of key saves in the third period.

For the Hawks, Erika Thunder of Buffalo Point, Man., stopped 29 shots as well in a game in which both goaltenders were the story of the contest.

"I feel really bad for Erika," commented head coach RICK OSBORNE after the game. "She just really held us in there in the first period when we were killing all those penalties. She had to make a lot of key saves to keep this a scoreless game."

In what was an inauspicious start for Laurier, the Hawks took five consecutive penalties to open the game. That allowed the Mustangs to establish early pressure on the Hawks defence but Thunder and her teammates stood tall, turning away all five opportunities to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes.

Laurier turned their game around in the second period thanks to two powerplay opportunities of their own. However, each time the Hawks found their way through the Mustangs defence, Campbell was equal to the task and despite a 17-7 edge in shots in the period, Laurier still found themselves scoreless heading to the third.

In the final frame, both teams battled hard for every inch of ice with the series on the line. The breakthrough for Western would come off what appeared to be a harmless shot wide from Stacey Scott of London, Ont. However, the puck took a funny deflection off the Zamboni doors and bounced in front where it eventually fell for Deller who tapped it into the open net for the games only goal.

The Hawks would press late but never got a quality chance as the Mustangs pulled off the series upset.

The loss ends the careers of a number of prominent members of the purple and gold including Lester, Caitlin Muirhead of Waterloo, Ont., Brittany Crago of Stouffville, Ont., Maureen Mommersteeg of St. Thomas, Ont., and Paula Lagamba of Toronto. While Osborne knows all five will be very difficult to replace, he says the Hawks will be back ready to compete next season.

"The people that are walking out the door have such unbelievable character and work ethic is really going to be tough to replace," stated Osborne. "We really are searching hard for well-conditioned, dedicated, focused, fast and tough players to come in and replace them. You're going to see a different type of style from us next year. It's going to be four lines deep and a pretty pesky, tough-checking team." 

NOTES: The last time the Hawks did not qualify for the national tournament was all the way back in 2002-03...the loss represents the second time in three years that Laurier has failed to advance past the OUA semifinals...the Mustangs finished the series 1-for-24 on the powerplay while Laurier was 1-for-15
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