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Gaels win in Guelph, advance to women’s hockey final for third time in four years

February 23, 2014

Queen’s Golden Gaels are going to the Ontario University Athletics women’s hockey final for the third time in four years, thanks to a 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon over the No. 3-ranked team in Canada, the regular-season OUA champion Guelph Gryphons.

The win gives Queen’s a 2-1 win in a best-of-three semifinal series where the home team lost every game. It’s the third time in those four years that Queen’s has eliminated Guelph from the playoffs, even though each time the Gryphons finished higher in the standings.

The Gaels, defending league champions who have won two of the last three conference titles, will play the best-of-three final this week against the winner of Sunday night’s semifinal-deciding game between Laurier and Toronto.

After a scoreless first period, the No. 8-ranked Gaels opened scoring 38 seconds into the second period, when rookie Clare McKellar, a 10-goal scorer in the regular year, stole the puck and in the Gryphons zone and went to beat goaltender Stephanie Nehring with a low shot for her first goal of the playoffs.

Twelve minutes later Taryn Pilon jumped on a loose puck and scored her first goal of the playoffs to give Queen’s a 2-0 lead.

Guelph stormed the Gaels zone in the third period, pumping 16 shots at Queen’s goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher, who lost her shutout when Kaitlyn Mora scored on a power play at 6:25. Despite pulling their goaltender for a sixth skater in the final 90 seconds, the Gryphons could not get another goal.

Dodd-Moher, 4-1 in five playoff games, is unbeaten in the three that went into overtime. Though Queen’s first two opponents featured the league’s top four scorers — and six of the top 10 — from the regular season, she heads into the third round with a 1.11 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage in the post-season.

In the regular schedule this year, the Gaels, 16-8, lost twice to Laurier — once in overtime, once in a shootout  — and they traded home-ice one-goal victories with Toronto.

 

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