Women's hockey: Guelph, a true underdog story

Guelph's rookie goalie Cassandra McNichol might be David in goal pads for the underdog Gryphons, as friend of the blog Greg Layson chronicled in today's Guelph Mercury.

Nothing against No. 3 Laurier, but inevitably it gets eye-glazing when the same teams go to nationals season after season. It's exacerbated when only one team comes out of the 10-team OUA women's hockey league, not to begrudge the other three leagues.

McNichol was recruited by Laurier but opted for the U of G rather than wait her turn behind Liz Knox (and Cindy Eadie, as it turned out), which adds to the whole underdog vibe.

At 5-foot-10, McNichol is a lanky rookie who's stopping everything, so you're excused for drawing an overly obvious, awkward analogy to Steve Mason in the NHL. (Hey, both are from the Toronto area, too.) A good hockey upset usually involve a goalie throwing up a brick wall and buying her teammates time to bury a couple chances. Really, no offence, Laurier, but Guelph is the underdog to back in the lead-up to the nationals in March in Nova Scotia.

Canada West only has one berth, meaning Alberta is at risk. A women's hockey nationals without the Pandas and the Golden Hawks? It could happen.

McNichol a stopper for Gryphs (Greg Layson, Guelph Mercury)
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