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WHKY drops nationals opener to McGill
Laurier: 1 McGill: 4

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FREDERICTON, N.B. (March 13, 2014) - The second-seeded Wilfrid Laurier Golden lost the opening game of the 2014 Scotiabank CIS Women's Hockey Championship as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the fifth-seeded McGill Martlets at Grant-Harvey Arena.

Special teams proved to be crucial in the game as the Martlets were 3-for-6 with the man-advantage while holding the Hawks off the board on three opportunities.

"Our feet weren"t moving like they normally do," commented head coach RICK OSBORNE after the game. "I thought we worked hard but the three powerplay goals were tough. We've got to defend that stuff."

Gabrielle Davidson of Pointe Claire, Que., paced McGill's offence with a pair of goals while Leslie Oles of Beaconsfield, Que., and Kelsie Moffatt of Pickering, Ont., added singles.

Tammy Freiburger of Wingham, Ont., responded with the lone tally for the Golden Hawks.

Taylor Hough of Toronto, who was a surprise starter in goal for the Martlets over fifth year veteran Andrea Weckman of Kitchener, Ont., earned the win in net making 24 saves. Amanda Smith of Burlington, Ont., took the loss for Laurier after allowing four goals on 22 shots.

In a showdown between two of the top four nationally ranked teams to end the season, No. 2 McGill and No. 4 Laurier both came out with energy in the first game of the championship. However, for the Hawks, the energy was a little too exuberant as an early penalty gave a vaunted McGill powerplay an opportunity.

After some good puck movement by the Martlets, they were able to open the scoring when a shot from Moffatt took a strange deflection in front of Smith. The puck flew up and over the Hawks netminder before falling into the net to give McGill a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.

Penalty trouble continued to plague the Hawks for the rest of the period as Laurier would take four more minors in the frame. However, some strong work on the penalty kill kept the game at 1-0 heading into the second.

Needing to kill off 42 seconds of powerplay to start the second, the Hawks suffered a nightmare start to the second frame as just six seconds in Davidson broke in on Smith a roofed a backhand past Laurier's rookie netminder to put Laurier in a 2-0 hole.

Midway through the middle stanza, Laurier was handed a 5-on-3 powerplay opportunity and a chance to get back into the game. However, despite some great possession and puck movement, the purple and gold were unable to break through and headed into the third period down two goals.

The Hawks continued to push for their opening goal in the third but each time they pressed, Hough and the Martlets defence was there to turn them back. Eventually, McGill forced the Hawks into an odd man chance at the blueline and Davidson once again got in and lifted another great backhand shot past Smith for a 3-0 lead.

The Hawks would finally get on the board just 34 seconds after Davidson's second of the game as Freiburger finished off a 2-on-1 with Devon Skeats of Whitby, Ont. However, the goal was too late as a fourth tally from McGill sealed a 4-1 victory.

With the loss, Laurier now moves on to face the third seed Moncton Aigles Bleues on Friday afternoon. The Hawks must win in order to keep their chances alive of playing for a medal.

"I know they're a strong forechecking team," commented Osborne when asked what the Hawks should expect from Moncton. "I know they'll send two or three people down low to get turnovers, and you've got to move the puck out of your zone pretty quick."

Puck drop on Friday will be at 2 p.m. ADT (1 p.m. EDT) and the game can be seen live on CIS-SIC.tv.

NOTES: Skeats took home player of the game honours for the Hawks while Davidson was the Martlets recipient...Laurier is now 2-4 all-time against McGill at the national championship...Freiburger's third period goal ended a streak of 122 minutes and 31 seconds that the Hawks had not scored against McGill at the CIS Championship...the Hawks won their only previous meeting with Moncton at nationals having earned a 5-3 win over the Aigles Bleues back in 2009
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