By Steven Smeall
CORNWALL, Ontario – The St. Lawrence College Cornwall Sharks women’s hockey team has finally won the gold they’ve wanted all season, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
The St. Lawrence College-Cornwall women’s hockey team won a thrilling overtime championship game against the Humber College Hawks to win the OCCCR Challenge Cup.
After finishing 12-5 through the regular season, Cornwall secured the third-place ranking heading into the Ontario Colleges Committee on Campus Recreation (OCCCR) Challenge Cup playoff tournament.
The Sharks were able to breeze through their first two preliminary round games. To read more info on them, go to: http://www.cornwallseawaynews.com/Sports/2014-03-28/article-3667560/Sharks-book-ticket-to-Challenge-Cup-semi-final/1
After winning the first two games of the tournament, Cornwall placed first in their pool. That gave them a bye to the semi-final, where they would play rival Fanshawe College Friday.
Fanshawe, the top ranked team throughout the OCCCR, beat Cornwall twice through the regular season. Both games were the finals to earlier invitational tournaments.
With vengeance in mind, St. Lawrence was looking to strike first. Sharks forward Lacey Taylor-Payne would score in the first period, giving Cornwall the 1-0 lead. That would prove to be enough as the Sharks would shut down the Fanshawe offense.
The shutout victory was Cornwall goaltender Amber Lapierre’s second straight shutout (one coming earlier in the day against Sault College) and seventh this season.
St. Lawrence advanced the final of the tournament which took place later that day. Their opponents for the game were the sixth-ranked Humber College. The last time these two teams met were at the Seneca College Invitational where Humber defeated Cornwall by a score of 3-1.
“Last time we played them (Humber), we were down 3-0 after the first period. We reminded the girls about this during the intermission, and it must have motivated them because we came out flying in the second period,” said Sharks co-head coach Sean Boulerice in a statement.
In a similar situation compared to the semi-final, Cornwall knew they had to grab the lead quickly. Unfortunately for the Sharks though, things wouldn’t work out the way they did in the semi-final.
In an all-out war between the teams, the game would go scoreless through three periods, requiring overtime to crown a champion.
Within minutes, Sharks forward Annie Young put the puck in the back of the Humber net, giving Cornwall their first Challenge Cup victory in the history of their women’s hockey program.
“Every tournament this year has had ‘nail biter’ games, and the Challenge Cup was no different” said Boulerice.
The Challenge Cup road was definitely one of vengeance for Cornwall. Three out of four teams that St. Lawrence defeated through the tournament beat Cornwall earlier this season.
“It’s fair to say that we felt great beating those teams at the Challenge Cup. We proved that we 100% deserved the title today,” he said.
The Sharks will now return home with gold medals and a great memory. Next year it seems clear that Cornwall will be looking to defend their title.
“Mike and I are really proud of this team," said Boulerice. "They came together as one unit at this tournament, and finally got the Gold medal they deserve.”