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Rookie Nicole MacKinnon scored the game-winning goal as the No. 3 Guelph Gryphons defeated defending-champion Manitoba Bisons 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the 2019 U Sports women’s hockey championship.

MacKinnon pounced on a Manitoba turnover and beat goaltender Lauren Taraschuk with a quick shot at 5:53 of the third period.

“Taking down any team would feel good right now, but just the fact that they’re the defending champions gave us that extra motivation,” MacKinnon said.

Captain Kaitlin Lowy and Sydney Davison also scored for the Gryphons, who are casing a first national title. OUA Goaltender of the Year Valerie Lamenta made 21 saves.

Alanna Sharman scored both goals for the Bisons, bringing Manitoba back form a 2-0 deficit.

The Bisons had a chance to take a lead with two consecutive power-play opportunities, but Guelph’s penalty killers came up big.

Taraschuk made 18 saves for Manitoba.

The Gryphons will face No. 2 Montreal in the semi-finals on Saturday after the Carabins beat the host UPEI Panthers 3-0 in the second quarter-final on Thursday.

Carabins goalie Aube Racine registered the shutout, while Alexandra Paradis, Kaleigh Quennec and Alexandra Labelle scored for Montreal.

Toronto faces Alberta and McGill meets St. Thomas in Friday’s quarter-finals.

Saskatchewan Huskies cruise to win over Guelph in U Sports quarterfinal

Carson Stadnyk scored two goals to lead the No. 5 Saskatchewan Huskies to a 6-1 win over the No. 4 Guelph Gryphons in the opening quarter-final of the U Sports men’s hockey championship on Thursday.

Levi Cable, Logan McVeigh, Wyatt Johnson and Evan Fiala also scored for the Huskies while Collin Shirley had four assists.

Scott Simmonds had the lone goal for the Gryphons.

Guelph out-shot the Huskies 32-27, but Saskatchewan was far better on special teams, going 3-for-4 on the power play while killing off the Gryphons’ three chances with the man advantage.

The Huskies will next face the winner of Thursday night’s quarter-final between the No. 1 Alberta Golden Bears and No. 8 Lethbridge Hurricanes, the host team.

Friday’s quarter-finals pit the No. 2 New Brunswick Varsity Reds against the No. 7 Carleton Ravens and the No. 3 Queen’s Gaels versus the No. 6 St. Francis Xavier X-Men.

The final is Sunday.

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