TORONTO, ON – In front of over a thousand fans in North Bay, Cassidy Maplethorpe and the Brock Badgers defeated the Nipissing Lakers to win their first OUA McCaw Cup Championship in program history by a score of 2-1.
The Badgers women’s hockey program, launched in 2000, had never made won the title in their 20 seasons, until their 21st year of competition, when Paige Cohoon’s 2-0 goal in the second period proved to be the winner.
“We can’t stop smiling, crying and screaming. We are so proud of one another because we promised we would do it for each other,” Cohoon told Brock Sports. “If I had one word to describe this team, it’d be family. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter the talent you have; what matters is the heart. This team’s heart is unstoppable.”
Visiting the Lakers, the Badgers were not the favourites in Saturday night’s nationally streamed clash, with the Lakers sitting in the U SPORTS Top 10 rankings all season and finishing second in the OUA Eastern Conference. Still, the Badgers prevailed with their second-period powerplay prowess.
“There is absolutely no one I’d rather celebrate this huge accomplishment with,” added Cohoon, who played her last OUA game before graduation.”There’s no one else I’d rather make history with.”
Both sides took a tentative approach to the first period, with neither offering too much in the way of attacking opportunities, allowing Brock’s Tiffany Hsu and Nipissing’s Chloe Marshall to settle into their rhythm in the crease, before being tested heavily in the second period.
The Badgers got on the board first just five minutes into the second period as Maplethorpe, OUA first-team all-star and leading scorer, fired the puck passed Hsu. Brock added a second goal soon after through Cohoon, and didn’t look back, despite surrendering their two-goal lead in the third period.
Brock scored both goals on the powerplay.
Nipissing’s Brianna Gaffney continued her stellar post-season campaign with her fourth goal of the playoffs, cutting the Lakers’ deficit in half, but it was not enough to spark a comeback for the home team.
Hsu stopped 19 of 20 shots by the end of the night in the Badgers net, while Marshall stood solid with her 22 saves on 24 shots.
Moving on towards nationals
While the Lakers lost and the Badgers wrote the latest chapter in OUA hockey history, the season is not done for either team as they make their way to the U SPORTS National Championship in UPEI from March 24-27.
With the McCaw Cup victory, the Badgers join the other conference champions in the top of the bracket, earning a place among the top four seeds with UBC, UNB and Concordia. Meanwhile, the Lakers will likely top the non-champion seeds based on their ranking through the regular season.
For the Badgers, it was a win on Feb. 22, that turned their season around, at least according to Maplethorpe. “That was pretty, that was pretty impressive [Beating Waterloo in Waterloo] was kind of an eye-opener just for us to realize, like if we really, really do play our best and we can really beat anyone as long as we try.”
With OUA gold medals around their neck, the Badgers enter the national tournament as underdog favourites. Although they are champions, their regular-season performance is tough to compare against the likes of the other three champions, especially Concordia, who walked through the RSEQ postseason.
For OUA and U SPORTS fans hoping to follow the Badgers and Lakers in their search for the National Championship banner and Golden Path Trophy, every game will be streamed live on CBC Sports’ digital platforms.