March 11, 2013 – Team captain Kim Deschênes scored two goals and earned MVP honours in leading the Montreal Carabins to their first CIS title in program history.The Carabins edged the defending champion Calgary Dinos, 3-2, to cap off the 2013 CIS women’s hockey championship Sunday night at Varsity Arena.
Not only is it their first national women’s hockey title, but also the first-ever CIS championship banner since the resurgence of the Montreal Carabins athletics program in 1995.
“To win a Canadian championship is a big accomplishment,” said Carabins head coach Isabelle Leclaire. “It’s a real honour to win the first of our organization. We will remember that moment for the rest of our lives.”
The Carabins join a list of six other teams to have claimed the banner since the inaugural championship in 1998. Montreal opened the tournament with a thrilling 1-0 overtime win over the host Varsity Blues and secured their spot in the final with a 5-3 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds last night.
Despite only starting the program four years ago, Montreal has made three national championship appearances, winning the 5th place game in 2010, collecting silver in 2012 and earning the gold tonight.
“We won a championship in four years and that’s the same time that you have to prepare for the Olympic Games,” said Danièle Sauvageau, general manager of the Montreal Carabins women’s hockey program and former Team Canada head coach. “It’s the same kind of feeling as when we won Canada’s first Olympic gold in 2002.”
“It’s unbelievable,” commented Deschênes after the game. “I don’t know what to say. It’s magic. It’s not about who scored the goals, it’s about our memories in years to come.”
The Dinos, who were without three-time Olympic champion Hayley Wickenheiser due to a lower body injury, opened the scoring just 5:14 into the contest. Fourth-year forward Sinead Tracey of St. Albert, Alta., jumped on an Iya Gavrilova (Krasnoyarsk, Russia) rebound and deked around Carabins goalie Elodie Rousseau Sirois (Pohénégamook, Que.) to find the back of the net.
With Montreal on a 4-on-3 advantage, Deschênes evened the score with her first tally of the game when she buried an Élizabeth Mantha (Longueuil, Que.) rebound with 23 seconds remaining in the first period.
The Dinos dominated the first half of the second frame and finally scored when second-year forward Stephanie Zvonkovic of Edmonton banged in a Gavrilova rebound off the back post.
Carabins forward Marion Allemoz of Chambery, France notched the equalizer just three minutes later when she ripped a shot through the legs of Dinos goalie Amanda Tapp (Calgary).
Tapp kept the game equal with a sprawling pad save on a Deschênes breakaway; however, one minute later the Carabins team captain picked up a rebound and made no mistake, firing it into the top corner of the net to notch the eventual game-winner. Montreal carried a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Rousseau Sirois was honoured as a tournament all-star after making 23 saves, including eight in the third period, to secure the win.
“You have to believe that you can come back and we were unlucky,” said Dinos bench boss Danielle Goyette. “Two or three times we could have put the puck in the net. Sometimes the bounces just don’t go your way and tonight it felt like the puck was square. The way we finished the season, we played together and played as a team and that’s what I’m proud of.”
2012-2013 CIS WOMEN’S HOCKEY AWARDS
Brodrick Trophy (player of the year): Mélodie Daoust, McGill
Rookie of the year: Christine Grant, Guelph
Coach of the year: Graham Thomas, UBC
Marion Hilliard Award (hockey, academics & community service): Kayla Blackmore, St. Thomas
Tournament MVP: Kim Deschênes, Montréal
R.W. Pugh Fair-Play Award: Sophie Brault, Montréal