X-Women lose close game to Queen's in U SPORTS consolation semifinal

Photo courtesy Ian MacAlpine
Photo courtesy Ian MacAlpine

CS 1: 2017 U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championship
Host Gaels shutout StFX 2-0, will play for fifth Sunday  

NAPANEE, Ont. (U SPORTS) – The host team and No.8 Queen's Gaels skated away with a 2-0 shutout win over the No. 5 StFX X-Women in the first consolation semifinal at the 2017 U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championship at the Strathcona Paper Centre in Napanee, Ont.

CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://en.usports.ca/championships/wice/index

The Gaels get to see their season extend one more game as they will return to action on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. ET on OUA.TV in the fifth-place game. Queen's will have to wait to see who they will face, as the winner of the second consolation semifinal between Saint Mary's and Guelph will battle the tricolour for fifth.

For the No.5 X-Women, they see their time at the national championship come to a close following losses to both McGill and Queen's.

"I think after last night's gutty performance, it was going to be tough for us to rebound, but (we) did," said Gaels head coach Matt Holmberg. "I'm proud of how the team played — StFX is a great team that scores a lot of goals, so to keep them off the board was pretty huge for us."

Holmberg's Queen's side will now have a chance to finish top five in the country with a win in Sunday's fifth-place game.

"We came (into this tournament) looking to take this game-by-game, play as hard as we can, and let the chips fall where they may," continued Holmberg. "We felt that we could compete with teams here, we've proven that, and another win Sunday would be fantastic (for our program)."

The Gaels saw goals come from Addi Halladay and Nadia Larocca in the win but it was their defensive effort that sealed the victory. Third-year defenceman Amber Sealey played a big role in aiding the defensive effort and was named the Queen's Player of the Game for her efforts.

StFX had the U SPORTS Player of the Year Sarah Bujold receive the honour in their last game of the season.

Stephanie Pascal stopped all 29 shots faced for the shutout victory, her first win at a U SPORTS Championship. Ariana Orasanin played a strong game between the pipes for the X-Women, stopping 20 of the 21 shots she faced.

Queen's opened the scoring at 11:29 into the first period. Halladay scored for the Gaels with a wrist shot from just inside the blue line. This proved to be the only goal of the period, allowing the Gaels to take a 1-0 lead heading into the second. 

After a quiet second period that saw Orasanin keep her team within one, she performed well early in the third stopping the Gaels Jessica Wakefield on a partial break. 

The X-Women were forced to pull their goal in the final stages of the game but the puck found its way to Larocca, who found the back of the empty net to seal the win.

"It's difficult to put pucks in nets at this level," said StFX head coach David Synishin, whose team managed just one goal in its two games at nationals. "It's another level from what we're used to playing — (Queen's) did a good job of minimizing any odd-player rushes, and their goalie played well."

Synishin reiterated his pride in the X-Women.

"In all my years coaching, I don't know if we've had a team that has earned every single win they (got)," explained Synishin. "This group worked extremely hard for every win, every two points, and they continued to work hard all weekend."

GAME NOTES: Queen's goalie Pascal's shutout was her second of 2017, the other coming Feb. 11 at York...Referee Lacey Senuk awarded just two power plays on Friday night...StFX has appeared in five of the last eight nationals championships, earning a program-best silver medal in 2011.


Official Boxscore: http://en.usports.ca/championships/wice/2017/boxscores_champ/20170317_9nsu.xml


1. QUE Addi Halladay (1) (Mackenzie Stamper, Kyla Crouse), 11:29


Oddy (StFX) Hooking, 10:44.


No Scoring




2. QUE Nadia Larocca (1) (unassisted), 19:37


Stamper (QUE) Holding, 5:13;
Downey (StFX) Roughing, 5:13;
Halladay (QUE) Holding, 5:50. 

GOALS (by period)

QUE 1-0-1: 2
StFX 0-0-0: 0 

SHOTS ON GOAL (by period)

QUE 5-9-8: 22
StFX 13-6-10: 29


QUE: 1-1
StFX 0-1


QUE – Stephanie Pascal (W 1-1, shots 29, saves 29, GA 0, 60:00)
StFX – Ariana Orasanin (L 0-2, shots 21, saves 20, GA 1, 59:05)


QUE: Amber Sealey
StFX: Sarah Bujold

REFEREES: Lacey Senuk

LINESWOMEN: Jenn Berezowski and Allyson Middaugh

START: 6:58
END: 8:56
LENGTH: 1:58 


Thursday, March 16

3:00 p.m. Quarter-final 1: No.4 McGill 3, No.5 StFX 1
7:00 p.m. Quarter-final 2: No.1 UBC 2, No.8 Queen's 1 

Friday, March 17

11:00 a.m. Quarter-final 3: No.3 Saint Mary's 1, No.6 Alberta 2
3:00 p.m. Quarter-final 4: No. 2 Guelph 3,  No. 7 Concordia 4 (SO)
7:00 p.m. Consolation 1: No. 5 StFX 0, No.8 Queen's 2 

Saturday, March 18

11:00 a.m. Consolation 2: No.3 Saint Mary's vs. No.2 Guelph (OUA.TV)
3:00 p.m. Semifinal 1: No. 4 McGill vs. No.1 UBC (OUA.TV)
7:00 p.m. Semifinal 2: No.6 Alberta vs. No.7 Concordia (OUA.TV)  

Sunday, March 19

11:00 a.m. No.8 Queen's vs. TBA (OUA.TV)
3:00 a.m. Bronze (OUA.TV)
7:00 p.m. Final (OUA.TV)