The McGill Martlets finished off their perfect season in style last night, easily handling the St. Francis Xavier X-Women in the gold medal game at the 2011 CIS Women's Hockey Championships.
The win marks the third in the past four years for the Martlets, continuing the powerhouse that has been McGill women's hockey.
Though, St. FX was able to keep McGill in check for the first period and headed into the intermission only down 1-0. The speed of the Martlets helped extend that lead in the second though, as Jordanna Peroff and Caroline Hill scored less than 40 seconds apart.
An early goal by Jasmine Sheehan looked to put things out of reach, but the X-Women refused to give up. Captain Suzanne Fenerty was able to get St. FX on the board, which was quickly followed by an Erin Brophy marker.
All momentum that the X-Women had was quickly compromised when Alessandra Lind-Kenny scored to make it 5-2, which would go on to be the final.
With the win, McGill finishes the year a perfect 33-0, while the loss marks the first for St. FX this season.
Peroff was named the tournament MVP, and was also chosen as a forward on the All-Tournament Team. Joining her are teammates Leslie Oles and Cathy Chartrand, as well as St. FX's Fenerty and Carolyn Campbell. Rounding out the team is Queen's goalie Mel Dodd-Moher.
For Dodd-Moher, the accomplishment is complemented by a bronze medal at the tournament, which her Gaels won in thrilling fashion earlier in the day.
Against the host Laurier Golden Hawks, Dodd-Moher demonstrated why she deserved her All-Tournament accolade, as she stood on her head and made 33 saves in a 1-0 shutout performance.
Both Dodd-Moher and Liz Knox in the other end played phenomenal, evidenced by the 58 minutes of play without a goal. However, with just 1:52 left on the clock, Kerstin van Bolderen scored just under the crossbar off a backhand after receiving a beautiful pass from Elizabeth Kench.
The win for Queen's helps cap off their Cinderella ending to the season, which saw them win 10 straight games entering the tournament, including one which was the longest in collegiate hockey history (for men or women).
Laurier will hope to forget the loss and post-season in general. After being ranked as the #2 team nationwide for much of the regular season, they were swept by Queen's in the first round of the OUA playoffs. Despite getting an automatic bid into the tournament as host, the Golden Hawks dropped their first game to St. FX, which resulted in them playing for bronze instead of gold.
The fifth place game saw the Alberta Pandas do battle with the Manitoba Bisons in a Canada West battle. Melody Howard picked up three points for the Pandas as Alberta went on to win 5-2 to finish fifth in the tournament. Both teams dropped their two round robin games which caused them to play in the early game instead of for a medal.
Another year has come and gone for CIS women's hockey, but you can bet coaches and players are already thinking about next year's tournament in Alberta.
McGill will have a chance to repeat, but it will hang in the balance based on who will return for the Martlets next season. It should be an exciting off-season to see which recruits go where, and who decides to stay for these big teams.
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