As the Battle of Ottawa rages on in the second half of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport season, one of the most visceral rivalries in women’s hockey was the stage to a once in a lifetime performance on January 20. Jessica O’Grady, a former competitor for the CWHL’s Ottawa Senators and Oswego College of NCAA Division III, provided a shootout performance that will immortalize her in Carleton Ravens women’s hockey history.
The road to the shootout began in the first period in which the first five minutes had very few scoring chances.
A lot of back and forth and hard skating was prevalent from both the Ottawa Gee Gees and the home team Carleton Ravens. The Ravens' first scoring chance belonged to Sydnie MacDonald. Weaving through traffic, her shot was blocked by former Princeton backstop Cassie Seguin.
Nifty passing was part of the Gee Gees first scoring opportunity. Dominique Lefebvre made a backhand pass to team captain (and Red Bull Crashed Ice World Champion) Fannie Desforges who streaked down the ice. She would make a no look pass to Elarie Leclair, but Leclair’s shot was denied by Tamber Tisdale.
Victoria Gouge of the Ravens would be called for tripping with 14:50 remaining, giving the Gee Gees their first power play. A blocked shot by Ravens captain Blaire Macdonald would lead to Sadie Wegner charging down the ice. Her backhand shot would be denied by Seguin as the score was deadlocked.
Two more penalties would be called in the next six minutes as Leclair was called for tripping with 12:29 remaining. Once again, the hard working Wegner tried to open the scoring but Seguin denied her.
Carleton’s Stephanie Plourde would also be called for tripping with 8:50 remaining and it led to a very aggressive Gee Gees power play.
On a second Gee Gees power play, Valerie Watson fanned on the shot, but freshman Cindy Laurin grabbed the puck and hit the post. Another freshman, Maude Laramee shot again but the puck bounced out of Tisdale’s glove. Watson then had another attempt but Tisdale remained her composure.
With heavy traffic in front of Tisdale’s crease, the play got physical as several players were knocked down.
After the whistle blew, the Gee Gees persistence would pay off. Laramee was near the boards and released a slap shot that was deflected by Asha Kauffeldt with 5:01 remaining.
Alternate captain Alicia Blomberg was credited with the second assist as the Gee Gees took the first lead of the contest.
Before the first frame would end, the Gee Gees would add to their lead. With less than two minutes remaining, Tisdale found heavy traffic in the crease.
Camille Pauck-Therrien buried the puck past her as Carolann Upshall earned the assist on the Gee Gees second goal.
Heading into the second period, the Ravens had the early momentum. Dominique Lefebvre was called for a penalty at 1:51 giving the Ravens another power play. With Ottawa’s Jen Delange having crashed into the boards during said power play, it provided the Ravens with an unexpected advantage.
With Delange on the ice, Sadie Wegner released a slap shot that the fans believed was a goal. Despite the referees disallowing the goal, the Ravens were determined to get on the scoresheet.
The trio of Alex Yallouz, Blaire Macdonald and Sydnie MacDonald would pressure Seguin in a crowded Gee Gees crease but to no avail. Ravens dependable defender Erin Beaver took a couple of shots on Seguin, but she remained calm between the pipes.
With 9:34 left on the clock, the Ravens logged their first goal of the contest. Yallouz had her shot blocked but with Seguin dropping to the ice, Ainslee Kent tucked the rebound into the net. The second assist went to fourth year player Kelsey Vander Veen.
After killing off a penalty called to Victoria Gouge (tripping), the Ravens went back to trying to tie the score. Stephanie Plourde shot on Seguin but Gouge could not redeem herself for her penalty as she was unable to tip in the rebound.
With 5:07 left, Yallouz would find herself involved in the Ravens second goal. A pass to MacDonald beat Seguin as the Ravens faithful erupted in shouts of joy.
Less than a minute later, the Ravens would grab the lead. In a remarkable display of hustle and determination, Sadie Wegner made one of the best scoring plays of the Ravens season.
She streaked down the ice on a breakaway and released a shot near the Ravens bench. Although Seguin blocked the shot, Wegner went across the ice like a laser beam to grab the rebound and bury it past Seguin as the Ravens enjoyed their first lead of the game.
The third period found the Gee Gees on a power play as Jessica O’Grady was sitting in the penalty box for a roughing call. Despite being on the penalty kill, the Ravens had the best scoring chances.
Wegner cleared the puck down the ice, and the Ravens nearly added to their lead. MacDonald centered a pass to Yallouz. Despite the open net, the charismatic Yallouz fanned on the shot.
A lot of back and forth and clean play defined the first half of the third period. Both teams played extremely hard and gave a remarkable effort.
With 9:40 left in the period, Ainslee Kent tried to log the Ravens fourth goal but her backhand was denied by a determined Seguin.
Until the final two minutes of the period, both teams spent the period endlessly attempting to score. Wegner, Yallouz and Ellyn McCormick all had scoring chances for the Ravens. Tisdale was equally tested as Gee Gees skaters Kauffeldt, Laramee and Watson all had shots in close range.
An unlikely break developed with 1:44 left on the clock. A penalty to Jasmine Levesque resulted in a Gee Gees power play. Just 31 seconds into the power play, the Gee Gees capitalized on the penalty as Carolann Upshall released a slap shot that beat Tisdale on the top shelf.
A determined Wegner had the last scoring opportunity of the frame as she tried to beat Seguin on a breakaway.
Heading into overtime, Carleton held a 39 to 33 advantage in shots. Once again, Carleton was called for a penalty and the Gee Gees were hoping lightning would strike twice.
Carling Chown, a speedy second year forward hit the post as the echo could be heard throughout the arena. Janie Paquette had the next scoring opportunity but she fanned on a shot that would have gone into an empty Carleton net.
After a roughing call to Wegner, the Ravens went back into penalty kill mode. Tisdale showed tremendous poise between the pipes. She faced shots from Desforges, Upshall, Laramee and Leclair.
Under strenuous circumstances, Tisdale helped to nullify two Gee Gees power plays in overtime as Tisdale stopped seven shots. With overtime complete, the shot count was tied at 40 apiece.
With the shootout underway, fans would soon witness a historical performance.
Carleton would shoot first and Sydnie MacDonald was the first skater. She would overskate the puck and Seguin quickly poked at the puck with her stick. Ottawa’s Janie Paquette would skate next and her backhand would go between the pads of Tisdale for a 1-0 lead.
Jessica O’Grady would be the next skater for the Ravens and she did not miss a beat. With blazing speed, she deked Seguin and the puck past her on the stick side for a 1-1 tie. Carolann Upshall would try to respond for the Gee Gees but her backhand was denied by Tisdale.
After attempts from Ravens skaters Wegner, Plourde, McCormick, along with Gee Gees skaters Watson, Laurin and Kauffeldt, the shootout was still deadlocked at one each.
O’Grady was called to shoot again for the Ravens and she delivered as her backhand provided the Ravens with a 2-1 advantage.
With Paquette having been the only Gee Gees skater to have successfully scored in the shootout, she was called upon again to shoot.
Her backhand would beat Tisdale to tie the score as the Ravens fans witnessed the extremely rare accomplishment of two skaters logging two shootout goals each.
Holding the hot hand, the Ravens turned to O’Grady hoping for a miracle. O’Grady would not disappoint as she placed the puck between Seguin’s legs for an amazing third shootout goal (making her the first Ravens skater to accomplish such a feat).
Hoping for a similar miracle, the Gee Gees called on Paquette for a third time. Skating down the ice with great determination, the ambitious Paquette tried to beat Tisdale top shelf but the Ravens backstop got enough of the puck to deny her and provide the Ravens with a remarkable victory that will not be forgotten for seasons to come.
“I had confidence after my first move,” commented O’Grady. “The coaching staff asked if I could again and I said sure. (After the second goal), they asked if I had one more in me. I said, yeah, I do. You have to be confident when you go out. It is just you against the goalie.”
Her teammates were just as enthusiastic for her. “That was great for O’Grady coming up. It was a big moment,” stated Erin Beaver. “Wins like this are big character wins for our team. It is huge for our place in the standings, especially against rivals.”
“It was the Jessica O’Grady show,” remarked Ravens captain Blaire MacDonald. “We definitely needed this win. We were coming off a rough streak. It is a confidence builder for us. It was nice to see the entire team step up. There was a nice look around our room. You could see in them that they were proud and happy.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”