With her team down 2-1 against the No. 2 ranked Montreal Carabins in the deciding game of the RSEQ Finals, junior centre Melodie Daoust took over the game like superstars are meant to do, tallying two back-to-back goals to propel the No. 1 ranked McGill Martlets to a 7-2 victory and a RSEQ title.
Daoust, who has only played in eight contests this season due to an injury-related absence, scored three goals on the night, pushing her total to 18 points since her return. Senior winger Leslie Oles added a pair of goals, while forwards Gabrielle Davidson and Olivia Sutter rounded out the scoring with one goal apiece. The well-rounded attack was typical of the Martlets, who had nine different players score during the three-game series.
In net, junior netminder Taylor Hough started her first game of the post-season, replacing sophomore Brittany Smrke, who had been scorched for five goals on 16 shots in a 5-1 loss during game two of the series. Head Coach Peter Smith’s faith in Hough was rewarded, as the Toronto native was stout in net, overcoming a shaky first period to blank the Carabins in the final two periods.
In net, junior netminder Taylor Hough started her first game of the post-season instead of sophomore Brittany Smrke who had been scorched for five goals on sixteen shots in a 5-1 loss during game two of the series. Head Coach Peter Smith’s faith in Hough was rewarded, as the Toronto native was stout in net, overcoming a shaky first period to blank the Carabins in the final two periods.
“[Hough] was ready to go, and I didn’t think our whole team had a great game on Saturday, so we made a switch like that, “Smith explained. “It made a difference and I think it worked out pretty well.”
In Game 1 of the series, the Martlets were able to race out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period, which they stretched to a 6-2 final score behind Oles, a second-team RSEQ All-Star. Oles was one of five McGill athletes to merit league-wide recognition last week. Davidson was joined by reigning CIS Player-of-the-Year Katia Clement-Heydra and defenceman Kelsie Moffat on the first team, while defenceman Brittany Fouracres joined Oles on the second team. All of these individual accolades will be for nought, however, if the Martlets are unable to perform in the coming week.
With the victory in Game 3, McGill moves on to the CIS Championships, where they will be joined by their arch-rivals, the Carabins, in the eight-team tournament in Calgary from March 12 to 15. The two teams, who have been jockeying for pole position in the CIS rankings all season long, will likely face each other for the 10th time with a National Championship on the line–it would only be fitting for the two most recent national champions. While the Martlets will be the No. 1 seed in the tournament, a repeat championship is far from guaranteed, and the squad must maintain its focus.
“It’s a very hard-working group and we need to go out there and play with tempo and pace and play a good team game,” Smith said. “We’ve prepared all year long for this [….] We’re playing real good hockey right now, and we just have to go out there and be ourselves–nothing less and nothing more.”