- The big Guelph-Laurier cakewalk to the championship series did not materialize, thanks to Brock's Beth Clause and Queen's Melissa John.
Clause ended up stopping 116-of-123 shots to help Brock come within two minutes of upsetting the No. 5 Gryphons. Guelph won 3-2 in the decider on Sunday with Tori Woods scoring with one second left, right after she scored the game-tying goal with 1:41 to play. Woods had all three Gryphons goals; the winner was a wrist shot that went in off the crossbar.
Far from the walkovers that can be common in the first round, Guelph needed double overtime to win Game 1, when Clause made 53 saves.
(Shannon McLeod, small world, she was the star of the hockey and soccer teams at Holy Trinity in Simcoe, Ont., when yours truly was sports ed. of the Reformer, scored the game-winner in Brock's 2-1 victory Sunday.).
- Laurier needed 60 shots, 36-plus minutes of overtime and a 5-on-3 power play in the third OT before Lauren Barch could wrap up a two-game sweep of John and Queen's with the series-winner in a 3-2 win Saturday.
John must have stood on her head for the Gaels, who were massive underdogs and were outshot nearly 3-to-1. Who knows, they might still be playing if not for three straight Queen's penalties (one can only imagine what role fatigue was playing by then). Queen's killed off the first 1:10 or so a Liz Kench hooking penalty, but then Alison Bagg (sister of Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver Rob Bagg) was sent off. Queen's got a third penalty before Barch scored.
Laurier forward Kaley Powers added to the rich tapestry of Kingstonians who have beat their hometown school, when she scored the tying goal with 12:55 left in regulation. Powers attended Kingston Collegiate, which is literally across the street from the Queen's campus.
- Ottawa's Brittany Jones scored the series-winner which sent the Gee-Gees to nationals, tallying 15:47 into the second OT vs. Carleton on Sunday. All three games in the series had the same result, 2-1 in double OT.
Ottawa and goalie Jessika Audet had 16 consecutive penalty kills, if you're looking for the difference in the series. Gee-Gees forward Joelle Charlebois, scored the Game 2 winner after Alexandra Palm, a Stockholm native (the Ottawa Citizen did a nice profile on her recently), forced overtime with 1:39 left.
Carleton and Ottawa played nine times this season. Thank goodness Montreal is joining the league next season to create a little more variety in the schedule, although from an outsider's perspective, one would hope someday there's a combined Ontario-Quebec women's league.
- Alberta and Manitoba each swept their semi-final series with shutouts in both games.
The Bisons have the unenviable task of trying to go into Alberta next weekend and beat the Pandas two out of three, which is a little like saying all you've got to do is break into Fort Knox.
Manitoba has lost only two games all season and could end up missing out on nationals. The six-team, two pools of three format makes sense logistically; going to a Final 8 means teams are travelling very far to maybe play just one meaningful game. Ottawa has every right to feel like it earned its spot, but it might be something to address.
- A Moncton-St. Francis Xavier championship game was pretty much expected, but all objectivity aside, it would have been nice to see a small school like St. Thomas crash the finals party.
The Tommies lost out 3-1 to St. FX on Saturday, despite a 25-save effort from rookie goalie Julia Sharun. It was nice to see a team from New Brunwick have a good season after UNB folded its women's team.