Four teams have advanced into the OUA Women’s Hockey semi-finals and now look to move on to the OUA championship round and a chance at capturing the McCaw Cup along with a trip to the national championship. The top four seeds all advanced from the first round, setting up for two exciting matchups.
Guelph Gryphons (1) vs Waterloo Warriors (4)
The Guelph Gryphons are without a doubt the favourites heading into this matchup with the Warriors. The Gryphons have only dropped one game in 2017, and swept the Windsor Lancers away in round one. Guelph has a power-play firing at 37.5% and a penalty kill that has been perfect in the playoffs so far. Add in the fact that the Gryphons are still un-defeated on home ice this season and you have a team that is looking tougher to beat every time they step on the ice. Valerie Lamenta only allowed two goals in the two games against Windsor, so not only will Waterloo need to shut down the veteran offence of Guelph but they will also need to find a way to get pucks behind Lamenta.
On the other hand, the Waterloo Warriors should not be taken lightly. They are the only team to have beaten the Gryphons in 2017, doing so in a 3-0 shutout just a few short weeks ago. If the offence can come out how they did against the Western Mustangs in round one, this Warriors team could be a threat. And we should note, the Warriors have a star goalie of their own. Stephanie Sluys has been lights out so far in the post season, only allowing four goals and making 99 saves in three games against a strong offensive team in Western, this included a 31 save shutout in game three.
Nipissing Lakers (2) vs Toronto Varsity Blues (3)
After an extremely tight series against the Laurentian Voyageurs which saw the Lakers get stretched to three games, Nipissing will be tested once again as they face one of the hottest teams in the nation, the Toronto Varsity Blues. The Lakers will need to tighten up on the back end if they want to advance. Jackie Rochefort (Ajax, ON) was forced to make 96 saves in three games in round one and was the key reason as to why this team was able to move on. Expect head coach Darren Turcotte to make some adjustments heading into the semi-finals as his Lakers squad dropped both games to Toronto earlier this season.
The Varsity Blues have been deadly down the stretch. A hard-fought series against Queen’s saw them also go to three games. They were able to solve the Gaels goaltender Stephanie Pascal in the first round, so will this offence be able to do it again against Rochefort? Look for fifth year Taylor Day (Ilderton, ON) to lead the way in this series for Toronto. Day scored three times against the Gaels and will look to do the same as she gives one final playoff push.
Nipissing vs Toronto – Varsity Arena – 7:00 pm.
Waterloo vs Guelph – Gryphon Centre – 7:30 pm.
Nipissing vs Toronto – Memorial Gardens – 7:00 pm.
Waterloo vs Guelph – Columbia Ice Fields – 2:30 pm.
Nipissing vs Toronto (If Necessary) – Memorial Gardens – 7:00 pm.
Waterloo vs Guelph (If Necessary) – Gryphon Centre – 2:00 pm.