Middlebury drew first blood in the game as it approached the midway point of the first period. Nina Kieves knocked in the rebound off a Michelle Labbe shot giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead. The score remained 1-0 until the Golden Hawks tied the game on a power play goal by Jacqueline Grahek 4:13 into the second period while Middlebury’s Erin Neil was serving a slashing minor.
Wilfrid Laurier took a 2-1 lead three minutes later when Lisa Backman scored on what would be her first of three goals in the game. However, Middlebury regained momentum after giving up the goal to Backman. While short-handed, Panthers’ Amber Neil scored with 11:10 remaining in the period to tie the game at 2-2.
Late in the period, Panthers’ Laurie Richmond set up a perfectly placed Amber Neil at the side of the net, scoring her second goal of the game and giving Middlebury a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission. As the two teams headed for their respective locker rooms, Middlebury was outshooting Wilfrid Laurier 22-11.
The Golden Hawks took over as the puck dropped to begin the third period. They threw a barrage of shots towards Panthers’ goalie Kati Madouras who remained solid between the pipes. Eventually, the aggressiveness of the Golden Hawks paid off as Heather Allan tied the game on a power play goal with only 5:26 remaining. Less than a minute later, the Golden Hawks took the lead for good on a short-handed breakaway goal by Lisa Backman.
With Middlebury pressing in the dying minutes of the game, poor discipline led to a slashing penalty to Amber Neil, thus nullifying the advantage of the extra attacker when the goalie was pulled. Shortly after the penalty was called, Backman potted an empty netter giving her a hat trick and a total of four points on the night securing a 5-3 victory for Wilfrid Laurier. Coach Bill Bowker was very pleased with the victory.
“I’m glad we were able to come out strong after a tough loss to Toronto. Lisa Backman gave us a very motivational speech after the second period which our players seemed to respond very positively,” Bowker said.
Bowker also mentioned how the tournament was a great experience for his team. “This is a very high quality tournament with a tremendous amount of significance regarding CIAU rankings,” he added.
Audrey Pellerin, a Middlebury scratch for the game couldn’t hide her disappointment with the loss.
“I feel that the referee called too many penalties although it is easy to judge when you are watching from the stands. I can’t say enough about the tournament though, the competition was excellent.” Pellerin said. Middlebury was relegated to the bronze medal game after a 3-2 overtime loss to host Concordia in the semi-finals.
Lisa Backman, the captain for Wilfrid Laurier took player of the game honours for her side scoring three goals and adding an assist. Goaltender Kati Madouras was player of the game for Middlebury making 22 saves, the majority coming in the third where she turned aside fifteen shots.