The Gee-Gees sophomore goaltender was stellar in 2-1 win. Photo: Bridget Coady/Fulcrum
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Gareau and Godbout-Parent provide the offence in hard-fought win

It’s mission accomplished for Chelsea Grills and the University of Ottawa women’s hockey team. A mere couple of hours after being named the team’s interim head coach, the Stittsville native’s first win is in the books.

“It’s about the girls, they put in the hard work today and they came together and played as a team,” said head coach Grills.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Gees — Montreal dominated the opening minutes of the first period. Goaltender Jennifer Walker faced a breakaway less than 40 seconds in the game and had to stand tall on numerous dangerous chances early on. 

“She was unreal, she made some key saves, but it was a team effort tonight,” said Grills about Walker performance against Montreal 

But she couldn’t save them all, as Montreal’s Breanne Dondo opened the score on a rather weak shot along the ice from the point that found Walker five-hole to give the Carabins a 1-0 lead with 16 minutes left in the first.

The Gee-Gees finally found their legs at around the 10-minute mark of the period and started getting some chances, which lead Montreal to take a penalty with around seven minutes left in the period. 

On the ensuing powerplay Gee-Gees defenseman, Marie-Camille Theoret found forward Marimee Godbout-Parent open on the backdoor to tie the game at one.

In the second period, both teams traded chances but no one was able to find the back of the net. The Gee-Gees were once again badly outshot by a well-coordinated Montreal offence but Walker was able to shut the door.   

The Gees finally broke the tie with 14 minutes remaining when Sophie Gareau banked in a rebound in the slot off a shot from Christine Deaudelin. 

Gee-Gees celebrating their second goal against Montreal. Photo: Bridget Coady/Fulcrum

“It was a really important goal because they had the lead at first and then we came back, tied it and then we had the lead, so it was important to bounce back and then protect the lead,” said rookie Adele Dossou 

The Carabins then once again dominated Ottawa, but Walker blocked multiple dangerous chances. With help from her defence, she managed to keep the puck out from the back of her net save guarding the lead and leading her team to victory.

“She played amazing, Jennifer’s incredible, she played on her head,” said forward Katherine Birkby

“Today was a little bit of a whirlwind we had to come together as a team and that’s what the girls did,” said Grills after the game.

Grills compliments old bench boss

Interim head coach Chelsea Grills. Photo: Bridget Coady/Fulcrum

Former head coach Yanick Evola stepped down just hours before the game. Evola held the position for 10 years and stepped down to “seek other opportunities,” Sports Services said in a press release on Friday.

After the game, Grills was not shy in telling the Fulcrum that Evola had been one of her “great” mentors and was lucky to have coached with incredible people along the way.

“All I know is Yanick decided to step down to seek other opportunities and we wish him the best,” said Grills. As for what she will remember Evola for, it’s “a lot of passion” 

The Gee-Gees will look to extend their winning streak to three games on Friday when they take on the Carleton Ravens on home ice at 7 p.m. 

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