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Taciuk topples Waterloo in OT, sends Lakers back to McCaw Cup

'I saw it go over her shoulder and honestly it’s all a blur after that'
File Photo of Ashley Taciuk who scored the Game Winning Goal in Overtime against Waterloo. Photo by Brian Doherty.

The Nipissing Lakers women’s hockey team will have a chance to change the colour of the medal as they sweep the Waterloo Warriors in the semi-final series and not only will they have the chance to play for the McCaw Cup trophy for the second straight year, but with the win they have guaranteed themselves a spot at the U-Sports national tournament in Montreal from March 16-19.  

The reigning silver medalist Lakers were the runners up in both the OUA final and the national final just one year ago, losing to Brock in the McCaw Cup on home ice at Memorial Gardens and falling to the Concordia Stingers in the Gold Medal Game at the U-Sport national final.  

“The team is super excited to bring this momentum into the McCaw cup finals and we know what we need to do to avenge ourselves from last year’s silver medal,” says Ashley Taciuk who scored the game winning goal against Waterloo on Friday evening.  

“Our team has lots of confidence in each other and our coaching staff to get the job done.” 

To continue with the number two theme, the win over the Warriors gave Nipissing its second straight series sweep in this years playoffs, and it was the second straight game that was decided in overtime, after Katie Chomiak knocked in the game winner on Wednesday night at Memorial Gardens.  

Down south in Waterloo, it was Taciuk who played the hero this time around as her goal at 6:40 of the overtime period clinched the series victory for the Lakers. It’s her second goal of the post-season and third point in four games. She sniped in a shot from the left side circle that went high over goaltender Kara Marks shoulder and sealed the game and the victory for Nipissing. 

“My line went down on a 3-1 and Des (Madison Desmerais) passes me the puck and I shot high short side. I saw it go over her shoulder and honestly it’s all a blur after that,” says Taciuk as she was mobbed by her linemates just before the rest of the bench spilled out onto the ice to celebrate.  

“The team is extremely excited to be headed back to the McCaw cup finals and nationals this year,” she adds.  

Contrary to game one, it was the Lakers in game two who had to play comeback to force overtime. Down by a goal going into the third, Madison Laberge scored her first goal of the playoffs at 9:45 on the power play to tie the game 2-2.  

It was the third straight power play goal scored after Waterloo were given three straight power play opportunities in the second period and capitalized on two of those chances. Carly Orth (1) at 15:13 and Paige Rynne (2) at 18:54 seemingly gave the Warriors all the momentum they would need heading into the third.  

It was Kara Den Hoed (2) who put the Lakers on the scoreboard first at 7:14 of the second period.  

The Lakers outshot the Warriors 38-20 and went 1-4 on the power play with Waterloo going 2-5.  

Chantelle Sandquist made 18 stops between the pipes for the Lakers to pick up her 4th straight victory.    

The McCaw Cup game matchup is still to be determined as the Toronto Varsity Blues hold a 1-0 lead in their semifinal series against the Guelph Gryphons, with Game Two taking place on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. in Guelph and if necessary, Game Three would be played in Toronto on Sunday at 4 p.m. Should Guelph win the series, the Lakers would host the McCaw Cup game for a second straight year.  

Matt Sookram

About the Author: Matt Sookram

Matthew Sookram is a Canadore College graduate. He has lived and worked in North Bay since 2009 covering different beats; everything from City Council to North Bay Battalion.
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