The season came to an end for the Queen’s Golden Gaels Friday night when they dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting Nipissing Lakers in an Ontario University Athletics women’s hockey playoff game at the Memorial Centre.
The victory gave the Lakers a two-game sweep of the best-of-three quarter-final series.
Though the Gaels dominated play in the first period, they were unable to capitalize on three power plays and Lakers goalkeeper Jacqueline Rochefort kept them at bay.
The game remained scoreless midway through the second period, but Nipissing erupted for three goals in a span of less than five minutes—during which the Lakers, for good measure, killed another penalty—to take a commanding lead. Carly Marchment scored the last two goals just 83 seconds apart, the second one on a power play.
Marchment had just five goals during the regular season, but two of them were game winners.
The Gaels responded two minutes after that, when Nadia Larocca tipped a point shot from Kaylie Dennis past Rochefort, as Nipissing’s lead was cut to 3-1 going into the third period.
Again the Gaels squandered a power-play opportunity at the start of the third period, but eventually they drew to within a goal of the lead in the period’s eighth minute, as defence player Mary Coughlan finally scored while Queen’s skated with a player advantage.
Outshot 12-6 in the final 20 minutes, the Gaels nonetheless had a good chance to tie the game but Jessica Wakefield was denied on a breakaway.
A key to the Lakers’ victory was their coverage of Queen’s forward Katrina Manoukarakis, who led the team with 25 points during the regular year. In a splendid rookie season, Manoukarakis was second in the league with 15 goals, and she lead the nation with nine power-play goals—three more than McGill’s Melodie Daoust, a member of Canada’s national team, who was second in the CIS with six.
In the two games of the series, Manoukarakis was held without a point.
“Give Nipissing credit,” Gaels coach Matt Holmberg said, in a release. “(The Lakers) are a very good team. It’s obviously not the result we wanted, but our girls, I’m proud of them. They represented our school very well all season, played their hardest, and should be proud of themselves.”