On March 17, the McGill Martlets (14-6) fell short in the U Sports National Championship game, losing 1-0 to the Guelph Gryphons (19-3-3) to place second in the nation. With a successful, silver-medal season now in the books, The McGill Tribune provides a season in review, looking back at the Martlets’ successful year.
The U Sports championship tournament began for the Martlets on March 15, when they defeated the St. Thomas Tommies (22-5-1) in a 10-2 quarterfinal rout. On the following day, a late goal from second-year forward Stephanie Desjardins sent McGill to the championship game with a win over the number-one ranked Alberta Pandas (23-5). Unfortunately, the Martlets’ efforts came up just short in the final game of the season, and an early second period goal carried the Gryphons to a 1-0 victory and the national title.
In addition to a silver medal, the Martlets received a number of other awards at the national championship tournament; with five points and four assists, third-year centre Jade Downie-Landry was named the tournament MVP and earned a spot on the championship all-tournament team along with first-year centre Valerie Audet. Additionally, four of the tournament’s top five scorers were Martlets, and third-year goaltender Tricia Deguire posted the second best save percentage of all goalies.
En route to the championship tournament, McGill put together a 14-6 regular season campaign to finish third in the RSEQ standings behind the Université de Montréal (UdeM) Carabins (15-4-1) and Concordia Stingers (13-4-2). In the first round of the RSEQ playoffs, McGill faced Concordia in a best-of-three series. The Martlets took a 6-2 road win in the first game and completed an incredible comeback on home ice to secure the series victory. The opening match of the championship series against UdeM went to double overtime, but, unfortunately, the Carabins came out victorious by a score of 3-2. UdeM won by the same score the next day to complete the sweep and claim the conference title. However, because the Martlets were fifth in the U Sports rankings, they still advanced to the championship tournament in Charlottetown, PEI for the chance to compete against the best hockey teams in Canada.
Martlet Head Coach Peter Smith praised the team’s dedication and passion throughout the season.
“Honestly, I couldn’t be prouder of our group,” Smith said after the championship match. “Over the years, I’ve been privileged to have so many good teams with great character, and this team ranks right up there with the best of them. [It is] a special group that worked hard all season. Not many people outside of our dressing room would have thought that we were going to get this far. We battled from start to finish. There was no quit on this team.”
Beyond their postseason performances, four Martlet players were recognized for their standout play throughout the regular season, with both conference and national awards. Downie-Landry, who had 45 points and a team-high 32 assists, and Deguire made the RSEQ first team all-league and second team all-Canadian. Second-year forward Kellyane Lecours and fourth-year defenceman Emilia Cotter were named to the second team all-league. Additionally, Cotter won the RSEQ Leadership Award for her community engagement with organizations such as the Shoebox Project and The McGill Students for Best Buddies as well as for her coordination of McGill Athletics initiatives like the Bell Let’s Talk Game.
In addition to the award winners, several other Martlets had strong campaigns: Third-year forward Lea Dumais led McGill in goals with 21 in 37 games; second-year centre Marika Labrecque finished with eight goals and 17 assists; and fourth-year defenceman Kate Devries, who had 12 assists, was a crucial defensive presence all season long.
Captain and fifth-year defenceman Alison Mackenzie is the only Martlet player graduating this year. The team will miss her defensive talent and leadership, but, if this season’s results are any indication of what is to come, the Martlets should have another successful year ahead of them.