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2004 QSSF Women's Hockey Champions

Team poses with trophy on ice.
2003-04 QSSF Conference Champions

The 2003-04 Gee-Gees women's hockey team captured the program's first conference championship on home ice by defeating the Concordia Stingers 2-1 in triple overtime to win game two of the conference final best-of-three series, having previously taken game one by a 4-3 score in Montreal. The team raised the conference banner at the Sports Complex on Sunday, February 29, 2004 and earned its first trip to the national championship tournament. 

Mandi Duhamel, then in her first year in Garnet and Grey, scored both goals in the game for Ottawa.

Ottawa reached the conference final by defeating McGill two games to none in the conference semifinal. Both series wins were considered upsets as the Gee-Gees held a 6-7-4 regular season record and finished third in the standings. However, it was Ottawa's second straight appearance in the conference final as the team won silver medals in 2002-03.

The Gee-Gees went on to win silver at the national championship hosted by McGill, losing the national championship game by a 2-0 score to the Alberta Pandas after defeating Saskatchewan 6-2 to reach the final.

Sarah Balch and Torill Thomas were named QSSF conference All-Stars for the Gee-Gees in 2003-04. The QSSF is now named the RSEQ.

RECAP : Gee-Gees women sweep to finals, Cinderella hockey team will play for national title

Perhaps not wanting to be overshadowed by their athletic peers, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s hockey team did their best to outshine them. The Gee-Gees, ranked fifth nationally despite a sub .500 record, ended the season of the country’s no. 2-ranked Concordia Stingers yesterday – and in a sweep.

Mandi Duhamel scored in the seventh minute of the third overtime period to give the Gee-Gees a 2-1 win over the Stingers at the University of Ottawa Sports Complex. The win allowed the Gee-Gees to advance to their first national championship by virtue of sweeping the best-of-three series.

All this comes on the heels of the successful weekend turned in by the basketball clubs at U of O, with the women claiming the Ontario University Athletics Eastern Division crown, while the men advanced into the semifinal.

The hockey Gee-Gees gained their high national ranking after sweeping the McGill Martlets in two games last weekend.

While that result stunned the favourite Martlets, the Stingers were downright flabbergasted. After all, the Stingers had an exceptional regular season record at 13-1-3 and looked at the Quebec Student Sports Federation series with the Gee-Gees (6-7-4) as nothing more than a stepping stone to the national championship weekend that will begin at Montreal’s McGill University on March 11.

Former Gee-Gees star Karine Bombardier opened the scoring for Concordia when she stuffed a loose puck behind Ottawa netminder Megan Takeda less than two minutes into the game. Little did the Stingers know that their offence had just expired for the season.

Duhamel, prior to her later heroics, had tied the score in the third period to force the extra sessions.

“This is extremely historic,” player Sarah Balch said of her team’s win. “What we’ve achieved here is amazing, but to be honest, it’s going to take a few days to really sink in. Right now, it’s amazing.”

“I’m so happy for these girls. I knew they had it in them,” said Ottawa coach Shelley Coolidge. “Now we just have to keep working hard and keep working on our program. This year was a step, next year we’re really going for it.”

This article originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on Monday, March 1 2004. It was written by Darren Desaulniers.