Despite being the No. 1 seed in the National Championships and the defending champions, McGill was unable to successfully repeat, falling flat in a 5-0 blowout to the Western Mustangs and settling for silver. It marked the Martlets’ eighth trip to the gold medal match. The squad defeated the St. Francis Xavier University X-Women 1-0 on Saturday night to advance to the final behind a lone goal from junior forward Gabrielle Davidson with less than a minute remaining in the contest. Against Western, McGill could not maintain the momentum from mits semifinal victory despite outshooting their opponents 38-15.
The Martlets had outshot the X-Women 51-12 but couldn’t find the breakthrough goal until a power play with only 49 seconds left in the final period. Centre Melodie Daoust gained possession of the puck along the right side of the boards, firing a pass into the middle of the rink and towards the net. After some bouncing around and a rebounded shot, Pointe Claire, Quebec native Davidson slammed in the winning goal.
“To get that goal with seconds to go was obviously huge,” said McGill Head Coach Peter Smith.
“We [believed] in ourselves, just kept going and we knew that it was going to come eventually, that we were going to get a goal, one way or the other,” Davidson said.
This marked Davidson’s 31st goal in 38 games this season, tying her for the team lead along with her linemate, forward Leslie Oles. The strongest performance from the St. Francis Xavier squad came from goaltender Sojung Shin, who recorded 36 saves and kept the X-Women in the game until the very end. On the McGill side, Martlet goaltender Taylor Hough of Toronto earned her first career shutout in 52 games played at McGill.
In Sunday’s final, the Martlets continued their blistering pressure on offence but once again failed to convert chances into goals. Things quickly fell apart at the other end of the rink. The Mustangs frustrated the Martlets’ offence and answered hard on the counterattack, finishing the game 5-0. McGill allowed the five goals on just 15 shots, including two power play goals. Hough’s performance was far from that of her semifinal shutout and was pulled five minutes into the second period after allowing three goals on just seven shots.
Hough’s counterpart, Western goaltender and tournament MVP Kelly Campbell, had the tournament of her life, allowing only one goal on the 94 total shots she faced in the tournament, including games against the two best offences from McGill and the Montréal Carabins.
Despite the obvious disappointment that comes with a silver medal, the Martlets still had a successful season—they won the RSEQ Championship and had multiple players placed on All-RSEQ and All-Canadian squads. However, given the level that Smith holds his program to, expect the Martlets to be in the title chase once again next year as this is a program that doesn’t rebuild–it reloads.