Ottawa tops Carleton 4-0 in honour of former teammate Melisa Kingsley
The Minto Sports Complex was filled with fans, friends, and family for a matchup between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University on Friday night. The atmosphere was unlike regular games, this time, the focus was on more than just hockey.
This was the first Melisa Kingsley Memorial Game and marked the creation of a scholarship in her name. From Sudbury, Ont., Kingsley was first recruited by Ottawa in 2016 and played in the 2017-18 season. By then, Kingsley was already undergoing treatment for sarcoma. Kingsley passed away in October 2018 at only 20 years old.
Some of the current Ottawa roster had played with Kingsley in 2017-18 season, but also grew up playing with her in Sudbury. She was known for her positive energy, and for her scoring touch.
“Whoever knew her or even met her knew that she had this bubbly personality,” said Kailey Lapensee, a Sudbury native who played with Kingsley when the two were younger “She was always smiling and always laughing, and always trying to make other people laugh.”
After switching out of their yellow Kingsley warmup jerseys for their greys, the Gees were back on the ice, looking to stretch their win streak and earn the win for their teammate.
From the opening faceoff to the final buzzer, it was clear that the Ottawa bench was bringing a different kind of energy than they had been all season.
In the first, the Gee-Gees spent most of their time in the Ravens’ zone, and were not shy to shoot.
The first goal wasn’t on the board until late into the opening period.
After a faceoff in Carleton’s end, the Gees picked up the puck behind the net, passing it right in front of the Ravens goaltender. There, a huge scramble ended with a Gee-Gees goal by Meagan McGaughey.
After the first 20 minutes of play, Ottawa lead Carleton 1-0.
Coming out for the second period, the Gee-Gees came out flying again. This period, the Gees put up a ton of shots. Sophie Gareau and Melodie Bouchard were some of the most aggressive attackers for the Gees.
Finally, the Gee-Gees efforts were rewarded again. Katherine Birkby broke up a Ravens pass, sending the puck to Taylor McGaughey who passed the puck ahead to Jade Todd. On her own with the Carleton defence, Todd skated the puck all the way in, cutting to the net and flipping the puck in on her backhand.
With Ottawa leading 2-0, the period came to a close.
In the third, Carleton was able to put more pressure on the home team, but Aurelie Dubuc was solid in net. Even with a constant scramble of bodies in front of her, Dubuc didn’t slow down and stood up tall to multiple Ravens chances.
The Gee-Gees were granted a powerplay opportunity early into the final period when Hannah Dinovitzen was called for holding.
Moving the puck around the zone with the man advantage, Ottawa found the net for the third time. Melina Roy found the net on the right side after setting herself up with a give-and-go, scoring her first goal of the season.
With still 15 minutes left on the clock, no one was able to score another goal at even strength. The clock wound down, and the Christine Deaudelin shot into the Ravens empty net closed up the competition.
The Gee-Gees took the game 4-0, the win pushes their win streak to four. .
Ottawa assistant coach Greg Bowles had plenty of good things to say about his team.
“Our tempo and our energy were unbelievable tonight,” said Bowles.
Many Gee-Gees said that energy came from Kingsley.
“Playing for Melissa, we gave it our all,” added Lapensee.
Bouchard, a senior on the team, recently made history by becoming the first Gee-Gees women’s hockey player to earn over 100 points in their career.
“We came out strong, but I can’t describe it.,” Bouchard said about the Gees’ success in the game. “It’s hard to explain because it’s emotional for everyone, but we went out there and we won.”
Looking ahead, Ottawa only has four games left in the regular season. Next, they’ll be taking on the Concordia Stingers who have clinched first in the RSEQ standings with hopes of keeping their win streak alive.