TORONTO (February 28, 2016) – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s hockey team completed their first round upset of the No. 4 Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday evening at Varsity Arena as they won Game 3 of their best-of-three quarter-final series 2-1 in triple overtime.
Third year forward Dollee Meigs of Owen Sound, Ont., played the hero for the Hawks, seeded seventh in the OUA, as she scored two minutes and 41 seconds into the third overtime period to eliminate the second-seed Varsity Blues and advance Laurier to the conference semifinals for the 22nd consecutive season.
“When the first game was over, it went almost four complete periods, and we were looking at the series as an investment that needed to be made,” said head coach RICK OSBORNE following the victory. “It was a huge investment when you play a team like Toronto in a small rink like this twice. That investment was tough to make, it was physically demanding on our team, and I’m just so proud of them.”
Danielle Wark of Baltimore, Ont., also scored for Laurier as the freshman walk-on tied the game at one with her first career playoff goal midway through the third period.
The game’s only other goal came off the stick of Toronto’s Lauren Straatman of Thorndale, Ont., who opened the scoring early in the third period when she banged a loose puck into an open Laurier net.
Tied at the end of regulation for the third straight game, Laurier and Toronto headed into familiar territory as the two teams had already played over 23 minutes of extra hockey in the series.
However, this game would need double that to find a winner as goaltenders Amanda Smith (Burlington, Ont.) of the Hawks and Valencia Yordanov (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) of the Blues went save-for-save through the first two overtime frames.
Unfortunately for Toronto, it was the rookie Yordanov who would blink first when Meigs swept in down the wing and fired a shot on goal. The puck hit the Blues netminder but she didn’t get enough as it deflected off of her and into the net to send the Golden Hawks streaming onto the ice to mob their hero.
Smith would go on to finish the contest with 41 saves, including a number of outstanding glove stops, to record her second win of the series. She posted a 0.98 goals against average and a 0.959 save percentage over the three games.
“Very similar,” added Osborne when asked whether the performance of Smith was reminiscent of previous years. “Very similar to the one big final series against Queen’s [from 2013-14] and the first round series against Queen’s last year. She was really, really good.”
As for Yordanov, she would finish the night with 21 saves in taking the loss.
Aside from both Smith and Meigs, who finished tied as the leading goal scorer in the series with two, Robyn Degagne of North Bay, Ont., also stood out in the series for the Hawks as she recorded three points, including an assist on the series-winning tally.
Laurier now advances to face the top seed in the OUA, and the number one team in the country, the Guelph Gryphons in the semifinals. The winner of the series will qualify for the CIS Championship and earn the right to play for the McCaw Cup on Saturday, March 12.
“I think Guelph has more offensive upside than Toronto,” said Osborne when asked to assess his upcoming opponent. “They’ve also had the best goalie in the league all season long. So not only do they have a deep team, they have the type of goaltending to be the number one team in the country. We’ll just try to be a tough, tough team to play against.”
Stay tuned to laurierathletics.com for complete series information.