(Photo of Melodie Daoust by Matt Hirji, courtesy University of Alberta)
EDMONTON - Sinead Tracey, a native of St. Albert, Alta., who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in the spring of 2010, scored on a rebound from scramble in front of the net at 11:47 of the opening period to give the third-seeded Calgary Dinos a 1-0 upset over second-seeded McGill at Clare Drake Arena on opening day of the CIS women's hockey championship, Thursday.
It was a day of upsets as the sixth-seeded Montreal Carabins knocked off Laurier, the tourney favourite, 6-5.
The shutout marked only the second time that the high-scoring Martlet offence had been kept off the scoresheet in 40 games overall this season. They were previously blanked 2-0 (including an empty-net goal), in their Quebec conference semifinal series opener at Ottawa on Feb. 22 but roared back with 8-0 and 9-1 victories to take the series.
It was a physical, hard-fought, highly entertaining hockey game -- with only one minor penalty issued to both sides -- between two of the best teams in the nation facing off in the so-called “Pool of Death” at the event. Both teams will now face the host Alberta Pandas to round out pool play – McGill on Friday night, followed by Calgary on Saturday. Both games are at 9 p.m. Eastern and will be streamed live on SSNCanada.ca.
McGill needs a win over Alberta in order to keep their chances alive of defending the national title they won last year. A victory, combined with a Calgary loss to Alberta, would open the door for any of the three teams to advance on goal-differential.
Calgary netted the winning tally on a rare rebound off McGill goaltender Charline Labonté midway through the opening period. A shot from Melissa Zubick made its way toward the goal and bounced out to Tracey, who swatted at the puck from her knees and bounced it in over the glove of the McGill netminder.
"We knew with Labonté in their net, it wouldn't be a pretty goal and we'd need to put pucks on net with lots of traffic to be successful," said an overjoyed Dinos head coach Danielle Goyette.
Labonté, a native of Boisbriand, Que., robbed Calgary's Russian sniper Iya Gavrilova on multiple occasions, including a post-to-post effort in the first on a great feed from Hayley Wickenheiser across to Gavrilova. The Russian national team player ended the night with six shots, all of which were denied by the first team CIS All-Canadian netminder. Labonté, who has dropped only three of 34 career post-season games, now owns an 11-2 lifetime mark at the CIS tourney.
Calgary had a 23-20 edge in shots as Amanda Tapp collected the shutout for the Dinos.
"We had our chances but couldn't get the puck in the net," said McGill head coach Peter Smith. "I thought that we controlled the play for most of the game and we didn't give up a lot of scoring chances"
McGill had a great chance to tie it in the dying seconds. With Labonté pulled in favour of an extra attacker, the Martlets controlled the faceoff and found CIS rookie of the year Mélodie Daoust open in front but she fired a backhanded shot just over the crossbar. Daoust was selected as McGill's player of the game, while Tracey, the lone goal-scorer, earned similiar honours for Calgary.
"It's disappointing to lose our opener but we will just have to regroup... show our pride and character," added Smith. "We're not giving up. We came here to play three good games and that's what we intend on doing."
MARTLET MURMURS: The loss ended McGill's three-game win streak at the national championship since losing the gold medal final in 2010 to Alberta... The Martlets are 23-11 lifetime at the CIS tourney, including a 14-3 mark in their last 17 games... McGill is 1-2 lifetime against Calgary, including a 3-2 loss in their first-ever meeting in 2000 and a 6-0 victory when Calgary hosted the Nationals in 2001... The Martlets are 4-8 lifetime against Alberta and will be confronting the Pandas for the seventh time at the CIS tourney., where they are 1-5 against Alberta.
Calgary 1 at McGill 0
(Thursday, March 8, 2012 - Clare Drake Arena)
GOALS BY PERIOD:
Calgary 1-0-0 -- 1
McGill 0-0-0 -- 0
1, Calgary, Sinead Tracey 1 (Zubick), 11:47.
Smith Cgy (tripping), 20:00.
Chartrand Mcg (roughing), 8:18.
Shots on Goal-
Calgary 12-7-4 -- 23.
McGill 7-7-6 -- 20.
Power Play Opportunities-
Calgary 0 / 1;
McGill 0 / 1.
Calgary 1 / 2;
McGill 1 / 2.
Calgary, Amanda Tapp (W, 1-0, 20 shots-20 saves, 60:00).
McGill, Charline Labonté (L, 0-1, 23 shots-22 saves; 58:57).
Linesmen-Danielle McGurry, Amanda Allaire.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
McGill: Mélodie Daoust
Calgary: Sinead Tracey
Pool A GP W OTW OTL L GF GA PTS
1. Montreal 1 1 0 0 0 6 5 3
2. UPEI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3. Laurier 1 0 0 0 1 5 6 0
Pool B GP W OTW OTL L GF GA PTS
1. Calgary 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 3
2. Alberta 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2. McGill 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0
NOTE (scoring system):
Win in regulation (W): 3 points
Win in overtime or shootout (OTW): 2 points
Loss in overtime or shootout (OTL): 1 point
Loss in regulation (L): 0 point
Thursday, March 8
Pool A #1: Montreal 6 vs. Laurier 5 - FINAL
Pool B #1: Calgary 1 vs. McGill 0 - FINAL
Friday, March 9
15:30 Pool A #2: Laurier vs. UPEI
19:00 Pool B #2: McGill vs. Alberta
Saturday, March 10
15:30 Pool A #3: Montreal vs. UPEI
19:00 Pool B #3: Calgary vs. Alberta
Sunday, March 11
11:00 5th Place
Earl Zukerman, McGill Athletics & Recreation, (514) 398-7012A
Matt Gutsch, University of Alberta Athletics, (780) 914-7096