Oles scores more goals as hockey Martlets sweep Gee-Gees, extend win streak to seven; To meet Carabins in RSEQ final for Enos Cup
OTTAWA -- Leslie Oles of Beaconsfield, Que., scored twice as the top-ranked McGill University women's hockey team extended their win streak to seven, blanking Ottawa 4-0 at the Minto Sports Complex, Saturday, to sweep an RSEQ conference semifinal series in two straight.
The Martlets advance to the best-of-three Quebec league final for the Dr. Ed Enos Cup, against the No.2-ranked Montreal Carabins -- who swept their semifinal against Concordia -- in a series tentatively slated to open March 5 at McConnell Arena. More importantly both RSEQ finalists have automatically received a berth to the CIS Final Eight national championship in Calgary, March 12-15.
For McGill, the defending national champs, it will be their 15th appearance at the CIS tourney in the past 18 years.
All the scoring was produced in a nine-minute span during the opening period. The Martlets then entered into shutdown mode as goaltender Brittany Smrke, a 5-foot-8 sophomore from Oakville, Ont., kicked aside all 16 shots faced to earn her first career playoff shutout and her sixth whitewash in 33 games overall since joining the team last season.
Katia Clement-Heydra, a senior from St. Bruno de Montarville, Que., who became just the third member of the Martlets to play 200 career contests overall, was credited with the game-winner at 8:35 of the opening frame, converting a pass from Melodie Daoust, who circled around the net and fed her linemate with a nice backhand pass, and all she had to do was tap it in the open net.
Clement-Heydra fell awkwardly after her shot and stayed down for maybe 90 seconds before skating off with the team therapist. She returned in time for the next shift. It was her fifth goal in two playoff games and her fifth winning tally this season in 34 games overall. She now has an impressive lifetime mark of 17 goals and 40 points in 25 post-season contests.
Daoust, who has 13 points in five games since being activated after missing almost the entire season, then teamed up with forward Gabrielle Davidson to set up Oles on a power-play at 10:18.
Oles added her third of the post-season, with an unassisted effort on a breakaway, at 14:30, to make it 3-0. She made a sweet deke, faked the goalie to her right, then came back to the left to deposit the puck.
The fifth-year physical education senior is now tied with Davidson for the team lead this season with 27 goals in 33 games overall. Oles, who is an alternate captain, ranks third among the team's all-time goal leaders and is fourth in points with a 140-144-284 record in 193 career contests. She is also the team's all-time penalty leader with 308 PIMs.
"She plays with unbelievable energy and speed," said Peter Smith, who was coaching his 598th career contest behind the bench for McGill. "There was one shift where she carried the puck into the zone deep and was the first one back on the backcheck, then picked it up in our zone and brought it up ice again. Leslie is very intense and plays with such tenacity that it rubs off on her teammates. She's a real leader on this team."
Stefanie Pohlod rounded out the scoring at 17:30, on another power-play, with rearguards Kelsie Moffatt and Michelle Daigneault, drawing assists. Moffatt took a slapshot from the point, which was deflected in front by Pohlod. It was the seventh career post-season marker for the chemical engineering senior from Calgary, who only has 26 goals in 144 games overall with the Martlets.
The game was a physical affair that featured 15 penalties, nine of them to the Gee-Gees, including a game misconduct -- rarely called in women's hockey -- to forward Carol-Ann Upshall, the team's scoring leader, for a checking-from-behind infraction at 18:35 of the final period.
McGill, which had a 35-16 edge in shots, went 2-for-7 on the power-play and erased all five shorthanded situations. They have now won 18 consecutive outings against the Gee-Gees and improved to 85-12-7 in 104 lifetime meetings.
The Gee-Gees appeared to cut the deficit to 4-1 with 1:40 left in the middle period while on the power-play but an apparent goal was waived off when the referee lost sight of the puck -- which was sitting at the feet of the goalie Smrke -- and blew the whistle before Ottawa stuffed the puck in the net..
Ottawa goaltender Maude Levesque-Ryan saved 31 of 34 shots and took the loss.
McGill now turns their attention to the much-awaited conference final against the Carabins. The Martlets lifetime record against their bitter archrivals stands at 35-10-0 overall, with a 3-3 record in head-to-head meetings this season (including a 3-2 overtime win for McGill in preseason play). In playoffs, McGill is 10-4 versus UdeM, including a pair of wins at the CIS championship. The teams have crossed paths in seven different playoff series, with McGill winning five of them.The RSEQ final is slated to be played on March 5, 7 and 8 but the schedule won't be confirmed until released by the league on Monday.