Women's hockey: Pandas dethroned, Laurier to meet McGill in final

The Laurier Golden Hawks will be a sentimental favourite vs. the McGill Martlets in the women's hockey championship game tonight (7 Eastern, The Score), what on account of having already taken out the defending champs.

(Plus, in their league, every team doesn't automatically make the playoffs.)

Laurier upended two-time champion Alberta 4-2 last night, turning the tables on the team who dashed their gold-medal hopes the previous two years. What's kind of remarkable about coach Rick Osborne's team is that they seem to be pretty young; only three players remain from the 2005 national championship team (one of whom, Lauren Meschino, scored what proved to be the game-winner). A second-year player and a rookie -- Daniela Di Felice, with a pair, and Kaley Powers, who opened the scoring -- counted three of their first four goals.

Goalie Liz Knox, who stopped 19-of-21, is also just in her second season. She'll be matched against an Olympian, Charlie Labonte, tonight.

(It would be remiss not to point out that Powers played her minor hockey in the Kingston Ice Wolves, which has produced a fair player or two since their teams were called the Kodiaks and Jayna Hefford was skating circles around house-league boys teams.)

Alberta and Manitoba will play for the bronze at 2 p.m. Anything less than a national title is typically considered disappointing for a U of A hockey team, but things aren't looking too bad for the Golden Bears men's team. They hammered Saskatchewan by a combined 13-3 in the Canada West championship series.
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