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Lakers women heading to hockey nationals … again!

by | Mar 4, 2023

The Nipissing Lakers women’s hockey team has qualified as repeat contenders in the USports national championships after earning a second-straight berth in the OUA McCaw Cup final (the top two teams in Ontario go to the nationals, which are hosted in Montreal March 16-19).

Nipissing won the opportunity with a pair of thrilling overtime victories in three days, beating the higher-seeded OUA West Division-leading Waterloo Warriors twice in a row to sweep their best of three semifinal 2-0. The series win echoes their dusting of the Queen’s Gaels the week prior, winning in Kingston and Powassan. See the details of their semifinal performance against host Waterloo in the story by Matt Sookram.

See the videos of Lakers action below

Worth noting, the Lakers attracted the largest crowds of the OUA playoffs this year with 935 fans showing up to see them play Waterloo at the Gardens March 1 and 875 in Powassan against the Gaels Feb. 24. Guelph was third best with 844 showing up when they hosted Toronto March 4. The next highest was 244 in Waterloo to see the Lakers win in OT to finish their series March 3.

The Lakers are eager for another chance at Canadian university gold after settling for silver on the East Coast last year against the Concordia Stingers, matching their 2022 McCaw Cup bride’s maid finish against the Brock Badgers at Memorial Gardens 12 months ago.

But it won’t be a skate through the park with a tough opponent for the provincial gold. The Toronto Varsity Blues, ranked top in Ontario, blanked the Guelph Gryphons Sunday 4-0 to claim the other McCaw Cup final berth. Their series was tied 1-1 after Guelph edged Toronto 2-1 following a 4-1 loss in Guelph Wednesday.

You can watch the playoff action on for free. (There is a sign up with email needed, plus a commercial to watch).

The McCaw Cup championship is a one-game affair taking place Saturday, March 11 in Toronto because the Blues topped the OUA East Division. If Guelph had come back to win the series, Nipissing would have hosted. Toronto was ranked 2nd in the country with Nipissing slotted in the 6th spot in the top 10 of Canada before the playoffs started, with Nipissing beating Toronto in OT twice at the Gardens the second-last weekend of the regular season.

Small Town Times had its Canon G4- Camcorder rolling for Nipissing’s 4-3 OT win against Waterloo March 1 at Memorial Gardens, capturing offensive star Maria Dominico’s latest highlight reel scoring performance. As the skills coach and product of Dan Selin’s hockey development training program, she’s been practicing a toe-drag move that flips the puck into the air and then taps it by the defender while she slips behind to retrieve it for a shot. The video below shows her converting the “Dominico Dangle” to score for the first time. She was the USports Rookie of the Year in 2019 and a national all-star in 2022 while helping the Canadian university team to FISU gold just a month ago. And below that are the prior video highlights of Lakers women’s hockey over the years, with more such hockey action of other teams found at the Dave Dale’s Small Town Times YouTube channel (search ‘hockey’ for a list of them among the nearly 400 videos uploaded since 2016).


Dave Dale
Dave Dale

Writer, photographer and proud father. My mom’s family is from the Soo with its Algoma Highlands, dad hailed from Cobden in the Ottawa Valley and I spent my teen years in Capreol. Summers were at the beach on the Vermillion River and winters at ‘The Rink.’ Born in East York but Toronto never was my thing. Ever since a kid looking out the window on long trips, I imagined living on the highway in a little house with a big yard and trees growing all around me.

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