Upsets run rampant at U SPORTS in Montreal

MONTREAL, QC – The quarterfinal round of U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Championship is complete and it did not disappoint. Let’s take a look at each of the four games and analyze each result.

#8 Mount Royal 3-2 #1 Toronto

Upset alert! The OUA Champion Toronto Varsity Blues, who were ranked the number one seed at Nationals after finishing with an OUA best 23-2-2 record were stunned by the number eight seeded Mount Royal University in the quarterfinal round after conceding two goals in the third period. 

The Cougars came out of the gates strong, unfazed by the Varsity Blues offensive skill. The first period was a defensive battle that saw a combined 11 shots on goal. 

The Cougars’ defence used their physicality to win puck battles, they weren’t afraid to block shots and they took away passing lanes with their sticks. They used their speed to quickly attack in transition after blocking a shot or stealing the puck in the defensive end. 

At the end of the first period, their transition attack paid off when left winger Aliyah Jomha completed a stretch pass to Courtney Kollman who got the Cougars on the board with 45 seconds left in the first period. 

The Varsity Blues regained all the momentum in the second period and dominated the period offensively. They spent the majority of the frame in the offensive zone and outshot their opponent 12-7 in the second.

Nearly 6:30 minutes into the second period, the Varsity Blues equalized after Caroline Eagles’ wrist shot found the back of the net. 

The Cougars’ defence was on its heels the entire period and goaltender Kaitlyn Rosa – who stopped 20 of 22 shots she faced – made several huge saves to keep the game tied at one. 

Late in the second period defenseman Emma Potter buried a one-timer set up by Taylor Trussler to give the Varsity Blues a 2-1 lead. 

In the third period, both teams exchanged chances and both goaltenders made some crucial saves to keep their teams in the game, but the Cougars capitalized on their chances better than the Varsity Blues which was ultimately the difference.

Nearly nine minutes into the first period, Jori Hansen-Young tied the game with a powerful wrist shot to complete a tic-tac-toe play to tie the game. 

The Cougars kept pressing and with under four minutes left, Breanne Trotter tucked home a loose rebound to give the Cougars the lead and ultimately the game. Kiana McNinch and Athena Hauck each recorded two assists. 

#4 UNB 1-4 #5 Montreal


The Montreal Carabins handily defeated the UNB Reds to advance to the semifinals thanks to their fantastic powerplay that scored three times. 

The Carabins doubled the Reds in shots 28-14, dominated both sides of the puck all game long, and scored four unanswered goals to seal the victory.

The Carabins spent the majority of the game in the offensive zone, creating plenty of scoring chances with their excellent playmaking ability and their speed in transition. 

On the other side of the ice, the Carabins defence was solid and didn’t allow the Reds to set up scoring chances or maintain possession in the offensive zone. The Carabins were physical, seemed to win all the puck battles and got all the bounces. 


The Carabins opened the scoring midway into the first period after Kaleigh Quennec forced a turnover in the offensive zone before juking around the goaltender and putting the puck into the empty net to give her team the lead.

Mylene Lefebrve scored two goals on the man advantage – one in the second and one in the third – to contribute to the Carabins’ 4-0 lead. Amelie Poire-Lehoux finished a well-executed passing play on the man-advantage with a strong one-timer to give the Carabins a 3-0 lead near the end of the second period. 

The Reds got on the board with a short handed goal with under three minutes to go in the third period, but it was too little, too late. 

Carabins goaltender Aube Racine stopped 13 of the 14 shots she faced and Kaleigh Quennec led her team in scoring with a goal and two assists.

#7 St FX 2-3 (OT) #2 UBC


The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds survived a scare from the St FX X-Women and defenseman Sophia Gaskell’s second goal of the night was the overtime winner to send the Thunderbirds to the semifinal.

Gaskell finished the night with a pair of goals and an assist and was a crucial element of all three of UBC’s goals.

The Thunderbirds have gotten balanced production from all four forward lines and their three defensive pairings all season and it was key again in their win tonight, as all three of their goals came from defensemen.

For most of the night, the game was an even affair between the two sides with both teams exchanging scoring chances and using their speed to attack in transition.

Defenseman Rylind Mackinnon broke the scoreless deadlock late in the first period on the powerplay after burying a one-timer on a pass from Annalise Wong.

The game remained a scorless tie until near the midpoint of the third period. Both netminders – Jamie Johnson for the X-Women and Elise Hughes for the Thunderbirds – made numerous key saves to keep their team in the game, particularly Johnson who stood on her head multiple times in the second to prevent UBC from doubling their advantage.

Gaskell made it 2-0 almost eight minutes into the third period with some brilliant stickhandling to get around a defender before tucking it past Johnson. 

It only took 1:20 for the X-Women to respond. After conceding, the X-Women snatched all the momentum back after scoring two goals in less than three minutes courtesy of Ellie Brown and Lauren Dabrowski. The X-Women controlled the game offensively for the rest of the third period, outshooting UBC 12-6 and the Thunderbirds hung on for dear life. 

The X-Women also controlled possession in overtime and outshot the Thunderbirds 5-2 in overtime, however, a save from Hughes led to a rush in transition. Cassidy Rhodes advanced the puck into the neutral zone before finding Gaskell on the break who made no mistake after receiving the pass to send the Thunderbirds through.

#6 Nipissing 1-5 #3 Concordia


The Concordia Stingers cruised into the semifinals after beating the Nipissing Lakers 5-1 thanks in part to a red-hot powerplay unit that struck gold four times. 

The Stingers outshot the Lakers 34-12 and controlled the entire game – the outcome was never in doubt. 

The Stingers’ powerplay was so lethal because of its excellent ability to get the puck to the open players and find open spaces to create shooting lanes. Their ability to get pucks to the net, shoot for rebounds and move the puck quickly and accurately helped their success on the power play. The Stingers were 4/10 on the man advantage.

The Stingers spread the puck around well and had five different goal scorers tonight. They emphasize getting everyone involved and it was certainly a factor against the Lakers.

The Stingers’ defence was also nearly perfect. They limited their opponents’ ability to sustain possession in the offensive zone, move the puck and the Stingers were able to effectively close  down shooting and passing lanes very quickly. 


The Lakers never recorded more than six shots in a period and they only recorded one shot on goal in the third period. Stingers’ goaltender Alice Philbert didn’t have much to do but stopped 11 of the 12 shots she faced in the win.

The Stingers stormed out to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to powerplay goals from Sandrine Veillette and Chloe Gendreau.

The Lakers cut the lead in half early into the second period after Maddison Desmarais tipped home a mid range shot from Maddison Stitt, but that would be the closest the Lakers got to tying the game.

The Stingers regained their two goal lead courtesy of Alexandra-Anne Boyer’s powerplay marker late in the second period. The Stingers added two more goals in a dominant third period display on both sides of the puck to seal their victory and a spot in the semis.

The Reds and Varsity Blues play their consolation semifinal March 18 at 10 a.m. The X-Women and the Lakers kick off their consolation semifinal at 1 p.m.

The Cougars play the Carabins in the first semifinal at 4:30 p.m. while the Reds take on the Stingers in the second semifinal at 7:30 p.m. on March 18.

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