WATERLOO, Ont. (March 4, 2016) - The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s hockey team had their season come to an end on Friday night as they lost 2-1 in overtime to the No. 1 Guelph Gryphons in Game 2 of their OUA Semifinal series.
Second year forward Kaitlin Lowy of Toronto, was the hero for the Gryphons as she scored just over eight minutes into the first overtime period to send her team to the OUA Championship and securing them a spot in the CIS Championship.
“It was difficult out there tonight,” said head coach RICK OSBORNE after the game. “We hung in there and gave ourselves a chance to win both games. We obviously weren’t the strongest team on the ice but we were pretty close, especially when it came to compete level. I thought we were pretty close to a 1-0 win.”
The Hawks, who were facing elimination for the third time in these playoffs, got off to the perfect start in the game as Connelly, a native of Amherstburg, Ont., opened the scoring for the purple and gold.
After some great work by Jessie Hurrell of Palgrave, Ont., to get into the zone, she spotted Connelly in the slot who one-timed the puck past Guelph goalie Valerie Lamenta of Montreal, to give Laurier a 1-0 after 20 minutes.
That scoreline would hold all the way until the third period. Entering the final frame with a one-goal advantage, the Hawks allowed Guelph to take over the game in the offensive zone as they fired the first 16 shots of the period. However, it wasn’t until the 16th shot that Laurier goalie Amanda Smith of Burlington, Ont., was beaten.
Guelph defenceman Katherine Bailey of Lucan, Ont., took advantage of a turnover at the blueline before firing a shot through traffic, beating a screened Smith, who had made 39 saves up until that point, to tie the game at one.
Laurier would push back and earned a powerplay late in the third. Despite throwing six shots on Lamenta, they were unable to find the back of the net and for the fourth time in the postseason, the Hawks headed to overtime.
In the extra frame, Laurier would get another early powerplay, similar to Game 2 of their series against Toronto. The Hawks were unable to capitalize on this occasions, which gave the Gryphons life.
Less than four minutes after the penalty expired, Guelph found the winner as Lowy cut in off the wing and fired a perfect shot along the ice that went off the post and in, giving her team the series sweep.
“I’m extremely proud of the group that we have,” said co-captain Blair Connelly after what was her final game with the purple and gold. “Coming in to my fifth year, I was extremely confident in the group that we had and the rookies we had coming in and I couldn’t have asked for them to put forth a better effort tonight.”
Smith, who was fantastic in a losing effort for the purple and gold, finished the game with 45 saves. Over the course of the five playoff games for the Hawks, she posted a sparkling 1.27 goals against average and a 0.953 save percentage.
Lamenta would finish her night with 24 saves to earn her fourth playoff win in five contests.
“The past five years have been incredible,” added Connelly on her playing experience with the Hawks. “I’ve played with some great leaders and some great teammates. I couldn’t have asked for a better group every year that I’ve played here and it’s been an honour to be a Laurier Golden Hawk and I’ll never forget my experience here.”