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HIGH ACHIEVERS: Nepean Jr. Wildcats alum wins NCAA women’s hockey title with Wisconsin

HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic

By Martin Cleary

Welcome to another Weekend Wrap, where two former Ottawa juniors met in the NCAA women’s hockey final, and a team captain from the capital scored an epic goal to give his school its first men’s conference hockey title.

Forward Maddi Wheeler of Erinsville (who played four seasons with the Nepean Jr. Wildcats) and defenceman Lily Yovetich of Los Angeles (two seasons with Ottawa Lady Senators) made their NCAA debuts this season, after playing in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League.

The large white W on the Badgers’ sweaters stood for more than Wisconsin. How about Win as the No. 2-ranked Badgers defeated the No. 1 Northeastern University Howlin Huskies 2-1 in overtime for their NCAA-record sixth national championship.

Maddi Wheeler of Canada (#28, centre) scores an overtime winning goal against Skylar Vetter of USA during the match of USA vs Canada gold medal game of the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship at Obihiro Forest Ice Arena on January 13, 2019 in Obihiro, Japan. Photo: Robert Hradil/HHOF-IIHF Images

Wheeler (2-2-4, +5, this season) skated for the defending champion Badgers, who were welcomed home to Madison, Wisconsin, early Sunday morning with a noisy police and fire truck escort and a scheduled virtual celebration Monday night.

Yovetich (0-3-3) played defence for Hockey East champion Northeastern, putting 15 shots on goal in 23 games. She was part of the Howlin Huskies’ 22-game winning streak, which was snapped in the national championship game.

UMass hockey captain Gaudet scores historic championship goal

University of Massachusetts senior captain Jake Gaudet of Ottawa and the Central Canada Hockey League’s Kemptville 73s scored the only goal of the Hockey East men’s conference championship as the Minutemen blanked University of Massachusetts Lowell 1-0 in the historic match.

The victory gave the Minutemen their first-ever conference championship and an automatic berth in the four-division, 16-team NCAA regionals, where they will meet Lake Superior State. Gaudet was named to the Hockey East all-tournament team.


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Gaudet (17-31-48 in 118 career games) counted the game-winning goal using extra effort. His first shot hit the side of the net, but he tracked down the rebound, shot from behind the goal line and deflected the puck off the UMass Lowell goalie.

CCHL products Sam Knoblauch of Rochester, Michigan (Carleton Place), a junior forward (0-2-2), and Charlie Levesque of Russell (Hawkesbury), a senior forward (6-6-12), played for U Mass Lowell in the conference final.

Chris Theodore of Beaconsfield, Que. (Cornwall) scored the game-winning goal in the third period as American International College defeated Canisius College 5-2 in the Atlantic Hockey Conference final. He also assisted on the tying goal.

All four of Theodore’s goals this season have been in the GWG category and he has added 14 assists. Sophomore goalkeeper Jarrett Fiske of Erie, Pennsylvania, (Kemptville) also plays for American International.

American International will face NCAA top-seeded North Dakota in its regional opener, after the Fighting Hawks beat St. Cloud State 5-2 for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference championship. North Dakota has four Ottawa Senators prospects.

Sophomore forward Shane Pinto (drafted 2019, Round 2, 32nd overall) and freshman defenceman Jake Sanderson (2020, Rd. 1, fifth) earned assists in the final, duplicating their semi-final performance. Sanderson also was named to the all-tournament team.

Jacob Bernard-Docker (2018, Rd. 1, 26th), had one goal and one assist as the Fighting Hawks defeated Miami of Ohio 6-2 in the tournament quarter-final. The junior defenceman was 3-14-17 this season. Tyler Kleven (2020, Rd. 2, 44th) is a freshman defenceman.

Pinto was a major award winner: NCHA player of the year, unanimous first-team all-star, forward of the year and Hobey Baker finalist (top 10), while Bernard-Docker was the NCHA defensive defenseman of the year and a second-team all-star.

Junior forward Peter Veillette of Drummondville, Que. (Ottawa Jr. Senators) collected two assists as Lake Superior State defeated Northern Michigan 6-3 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship final.

Veillette finished the WCHA tournament with two goals and three assists, and was a WCHA third-team all-star. Bowling Green junior defenceman Will Cullen of Pelham Manor, N.Y., (Carleton Place) was a first-team all-star (6-19-25).

Miskew, Weagle, Morris in contention at curling mixed doubles nats

Meanwhile, Ottawa curlers have climbed to the top of the standings at the Mar. 18-25 Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Championship in Calgary’s curling bubble.

Emma Miskew (playing with Ryan Fry) sits tied for first in Pool D with a 4-1 record, while Lisa Weagle (with John Epping) carries the same 4-1 mark.

Tied with Weagle atop Pool E is Ottawa-raised John Morris, who is representing Canmore Curling Club alongside Danielle Schmiemann. Morris won mixed doubles Olympic gold with Kaitlyn Lawes in 2018.

Nakkertok closes nordic season with fundraiser for snow groomer

In cross-country skiing, Nakkertok Nordic said farewell to winter with its Enduro 2021 – The Groomer Edition, which attracted 176 skiers, who skied 6,593.85 kilometres and raised more than $12,000 for a new snow groomer.

Steven Paradine of the Coaches team posted the longest one-day ski of 201 kilometres and an unmatched three-day total of 250.8, while uOttawa’s Benjamin Racine was second with respective numbers of 103.7 and 221 kilometres.

The top three fundraisers were Lisa Allan of Trails and Boards, $1,200; Jen Tomlinson of Coaches, $1,153; and Paradine, $800. The U18 team skied the most kilometres at 1,637.22, while the Coaches were second at 1,130.20

Athletics, coaching & leadership notes

Coming off an achy Achilles tendon, Melissa Bishop-Nriagu of the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club recorded her first race in a while, placing second in the women’s 1,500 metres at a Victoria Twilight meet March 13, tying the club record of 4:09.36.

Ottawa curler Lisa Weagle will be paired with Quebec coach Julie Hamel in the coming months as part of the provincial curling mentoring program. They will focus on various aspects of elite players’ training and development.

Former University of Calgary athletic director Jason Kerswill of Kanata is returning to the Edge School for student-athletes in Springbank, Alta., where he will serve as director of athletics and programming. He was the director of athletics from 2005-10.


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