EDMONTON – The University of Calgary Dinos defeated the Montreal Carabins 5-1 Sunday night at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton, capturing the first national championship in the program’s history. Hayley Wickenheiser scored twice and added two assists as the Dinos defeated the sixth-seeded Carabins, who are in just their third year of existence, for the national title.
It is the 44th CIS championship in the University of Calgary’s history and the first hockey title, and it’s an impressive debut for the Joan Snyder Program of Excellence, which made its debut in 2011-12 after a $500,000 donation by philanthropist Joan Snyder, who joined the team on the ice after the celebration.
Head coach Danielle Goyette, who took over the program five years ago and led the team from the basement of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference to the pinnacle of Canadian Interuniversity Sport in that short time, was thrilled for her troops.
“For them, it’s their Olympics. As a player, when you win something you have some emotion, but as a coach, when you win, you multiply that feeling by 23. It’s pretty amazing,” beamed Goyette after the win.
“I have to give credit to our goaltender. I said at the beginning if you want to win a championship, you have to have a good goaltender, I think she proved she was one of the best in Canada here this weekend,” she continued.
Wickenheiser, last year’s CIS Player of the Year, had two goals and two assists in the championship game to tie for first among all scorers in the tournament with five points. “She wanted it so bad, that I even had to calm her down,” Goyette said of her star’s performance. “You saw out there tonight that she was trying to do it all on her own, but all year we’ve had success with a team game and that’s what we needed to get back to.”
Sophomores Iya Gavrilova and Jenna Smith as well as fourth-year Elana Lovell each had a goal and an assist while Tapp stopped 27 of 28 shots sent her way by the top offensive team at nationals. The Calgary-born goaltender made 61 saves in three games, earning a .986 save percentage and 1.00 goals-against-average to be named a tournament all-star as well as the tournament MVP.
“I just tried to do whatever I could to get in front of pucks,” Tapp said. “There were some scrambles and battles in front of the net, but the girls did a lot and really helped me out a lot tonight. It was a great hockey game, and I’m really proud to have been a part of it. It’s a team game, and I made as many first stops as I could, and the girls in front of me helped me take care of the rest. I’m really proud to win this game with this group of girls.”
Defender Élizabeth Mantha scored the lone goal for Montréal, also earning a spot on the tournament all-star team. Fellow sophomore Josianne Legault had an assist to tie Wickenheiser for the tournament scoring lead, getting her third helper to go with two goals.
The gold medal win by Calgary marks the sixth different winner of the women’s hockey CIS championship.
“We know that not that long ago, the University of Calgary was thinking about cutting this program,” said Goyette. “So to win this championship, five years later, is pretty amazing. Our goal is to be one of the best programs in the country and we’re on the right track now.”
The Dinos, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, and the Toronto Varsity Blues now all have one title apiece, the Concordia Stingers have two, the McGill Martlets winning three (all in a four-year span from 2008 to 2011), and the Alberta Pandas lead with seven championship crowns.
The University of Montreal was playing in their first women’s hockey championship as well, despite only starting the program three years ago. In that short span, they have made two national championship appearances, winning the 5th place game in 2010, and collecting silver this year.