Hicks OT winner puts Gaels one win away from McCaw Cup

Photo by Ian MacAlpine
Photo by Ian MacAlpine

NORTH BAY, Ont. - The No.6 Queen's Gaels stole a 3-2 overtime victory on the road over the No.10 Nipissing Lakers to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three series.

Taylor Hicks (Whitby, Ont.) scored the winner in overtime to send the series back to Kingston with the Gaels ahead and looking to advance to the McCaw Cup final.

It was an intense first period that saw the series get off to a quick start. The Gaels controlled possession off of a strong forecheck, and the puck came to Michaela Smith (Cobourg, Ont.) at the left point. Smith unloaded a shot on goal that Emily Gervais (Kamloops, B.C.) was able to deflect past Lakers goaltender Danika Ranger to snap her two-game playoff shutout streak and give the Gaels an early 1-0 lead.

After a tripping call negated a Gaels power play, they were soon called for a delay of game to put the Lakers on the power play.

Stephanie Pascal (Sudbury, Ont.) steered aside an initial shot from Nipissing on their power play, but Jade Gauthier was able to score her first of the playoffs to tie the game up at 1-1.

Penalties continued to plague the Gaels as Jessica Wakefield (Lucan, Ont.) also got caught for a delay of game call, but Queen's was able to escape the period tied 1-1.

In the second, both goaltenders stood tall with Ranger stopping Katrina Manoukarakis (Scarborough, Ont.) firing a point-blank shot that was stopped. On the other end, Maria Dominico was stoned on a partial break by Pascal. After 40 minutes it was all square still at 1-1.

In the third period, the Lakers jumped ahead early. After an initial shot deflected to the left side of Pascal, Sam Strassburger scored into an empty cage to give the Lakers their first lead of the game.

After a failed five-on-three chance for the Gaels, they got another shot on the power play and made it count. Hailey Wilson (Pickering, Ont.) took a pass from Smith and deposited it between the legs of Ranger to even the score at 2-2.

Neither team could find another, and the game was off to overtime.

The two goaltenders continued to shine well into overtime, and Pascal was especially strong as she was able to hold on for big saves numerous times locking down the Lakers offence. 

In the late stages of overtime, Nipissing was unable to clear the puck in their own zone and turned it over in the slot. Addi Halladay (North Augusta, Ont.) picked up the puck and fired a quick shot on net, the rebound came loose, and Taylor Hicks (Whitby, Ont.) spun around and slid the puck in the net to seal the 3-2 overtime win.

Pascal finished with 38 saves to pick up the win.

The series now moves to Kingston for game two Friday night as the Gaels go for the series sweep.

Source: Queen's Gaels