EDMONTON (CUP)Hayley Wickenheiser’s three Olympic gold medals just got some more company.
The superstar of Canada’s Olympic Women’s Hockey team, and now a second-year Kinesiology student at the University of Calgary, can add a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) gold medal to her already packed trophy case. Wickenheiser’s team, the Calgary Dinos, downed the Montral Carabins 51 on Mar. 11 at the University of Alberta’s Clare Drake Arena to claim the National Championship.
Wickenheiser, who was named CIS player of the year as a fir hhjjst-year player in 201011, had two goals and two assists in the final, and was named the Dinos’ player of the game. She also finished tied with Montral’s Josianne Legault for the
Wickenheiser lea ds Calgar y to first CIS championshiptournament lead in points with five. This comes after a season in which Wickenheiser racked up 40 points in just 15 games played.
The win for Calgary marks their first ever CIS title in school history, while for Montral it was their first time medalling at a national tournament since starting up as a CIS program three years ago.
“For them, it’s their Olympics. As a player, when you win something, you have some emotion; but, as a coach, when you win, you multiply that feeling by 23. It’s pretty amazing,” says Dinos’ head coach Danielle Goyette, a former teammate of Wickenheiser’s on Canada’s National team. “I have to give credit to our goaltender [third-year Amanda Tapp]. I said at the beginning: if you want to win a championship, you have to have a good goaltender. I think she proved she was one of the best in Canada here this weekend.”
Tapp, who was named tournament MVP after the game, stopped 27 of Montral’s 28 shots to solidify the win for the Dinos. The Calgary native allowed just three goals the entire tournament.
“I just tried to do whatever I could to get in front of pucks,” Tapp says. “There were some scrambles and battles in front of the net, but the girls did a lot and really helped me out a lot tonight. It was a great hockey game, and I’m really proud to have been a part of it. It’s a team game, and I made as many first stops as I could, and the girls in front of me helped me take care of the rest. I’m really proud to win this game with this group of girls.”
Calgary and Montral entered the game with identical 20 records through round-robin playthe number three team Dinos topped defending champion McGill and host Alberta, while the sixth-ranked Carabins tallied upsets over number one team Laurier and number four team UPEI. The teams played toe-to-toe throughout the first period until Wickenheiser scored a short-handed goal with just over four minutes remaining in the first period to give Calgary a 10 edge.
A few minutes later, Wickenheiser was at it again, putting another shot past Carabin netminder Rachel Oulette to extend the Dinos’ lead to 20 after the opening frame.
Re-energized coming out of the first intermission, the Carabins were able to outshoot the Dinos 118 and got two more man advantages, but a tipped shot by Calgary forward Jenna Smith in the dying seconds of the period didn’t help Montral’s cause as she helped put Calgary up 30 going into the final period.
In the third period, the Dinos made it a four-goal lead early in the frame, when Russian forward Iya Gavrrilovain blasted a shot past Oulette after a Wickenheiser face-off win in the Carabins’ end. Montral would make things interesting with a powerplay goal off the stick of lizabeth Mantha, but a fifth goal for Calgary by Elana Lovell four minutes after the Carabins’ goal sealed the deal.
For the upstart Carabins, just being in the gold medal game was a huge step forward for a program that is still in its infantile stages. In its third-year taking part in CIS women’s hockey, the University of Montral made its second appearance at nationals in 2012, after they won the fifth-place game in Antigonish, N.S. in 2010.
“Just getting to this game was a major accomplishment for our program,” Carabins’ head coach Isabelle Leclaire says. “Of course we wanted to win the championship, but we knew coming into this game that no matter the result, we were leaving as winners. To have a CIS silver medal in just our third year as a program is a major accomplishment.”
Earlier on Sunday, the McGill Martlets took home the bronze medal with a 40 win over the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, while the Alberta Pandas topped the UPEI Panthers for fifth.