Photo by Alex D'Addese

Forfar, Gemmill earn first league awards for program

By Ontario University Athletics (OUA)

BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is pleased to announce the women’s hockey major award winners and all-stars from the 2017-18 season.

Following a season that placed her in and around the top of several statistical categories, Queen’s Gaels forward Katrina Manoukarakis (Scarborough, Ont.) has been named the 2017-18 OUA Player of the Year. Doubling her point total from a season ago, Manoukarakis was as electric an offensive player as the OUA had to offer this season, tallying a conference high in both goals (15) and points (30), while ranking second in assists (15).

The third year star, who becomes the first Queen’s player to take home the honour since the 2011-12 season, was also one of the league’s top powerplay threats, tallying five markers with the player advantage and was one of the more clutch skaters in the league, scoring five game-winning goals as well (2nd in OUA). These impressive accomplishments have also earned Manoukarakis the 2017-18 OUA Forward of the Year nod and a spot as a First-Team All-Star.

Not only did the Gaels boast the top offensive player, but the top netminder as well, as Stephanie Pascal (Sudbury, Ont.) has been named the 2017-18 Goaltender of the Year. What a season it was for Pascal between the pipes, as she took her strong play from a season ago to a whole new level for the McCaw Cup finalist Gaels.

Pascal ranked in the top five of several key statistical categories, including save percentage (0.944), goals against average (1.33), and saves (438), while also pacing the OUA in wins on the season (14). Her puck-stopping proficiencies have also earned her a spot as an OUA First-Team All-Star.

Also earning recognition from the Gaels is head coach Matt Holmberg, who in leading Queen’s to a first place regular season finish, has been named the 2017-18 OUA Coach of the Year. It was a strong season all-around for the Gaels behind the tutelage of their bench boss, with Holmberg guiding the OUA powerhouse to top three ranks in goals per game (2.75), goals against per game (1.53), powerplay percentage (16.7), and penalty kill percentage (95.1); making Queen’s one of the most complete squads across the province.

Rounding out the deserving recipients from the Kingston squad is fellow First-Team All-Star, Jessica Wakefield (Lucan, Ont.), who made quite an impact from the back end. Beyond being a standout defender, the Queen’s blueliner tallied top-20 totals in goals (7) and points (16), while also helping the Gaels to victory with a trio of game-winning goals.

It was another strong season for the reigning McCaw Cup finalist Nipissing Lakers, and it looks like the future will remain bright behind the likes of 2017-18 Rookie of the Year Maria Dominico (North Bay, Ont.). The rookie was able to keep pace with the conference’s elite when it came to scoring, tying for the OUA lead in goals (15). Dominico used three of those goals to give her squad the win, while also notching a hattrick on the year. All of this has also helped to catapult her near the top of the OUA in points, finishing her inaugural campaign with 26 (2nd in OUA).

The talented Lakers forward has also earned a place as a 2017-18 First-Team All-Star and headlines the first year standouts on the All-Rookie Team to round out her efforts.  

Joining her fellow Laker teammate as a First-Team All-Star is Zosia Davis (Cobden, Ont.), who not only showcased her skill in limiting the opponent, but also in setting up her teammates. In her fourth season with Nipissing, Davis put up career highs across the board offensively en route to her 18-point output, but none stand out more than her fourth-ranked assist total (14). All of this superlative play has helped Davis earn recognition as the 2017-18 Defender of the Year.

Rounding out the First-Team All-Stars is Ryerson standout Ailish Forfar (Sharon, Ont.), who not only shone brightly on the ice for the Rams – notching top-six totals in goals (11), assists (12), and points (23) – but also off the ice, helping her to earn the 2017-18 Marion Hilliard Award of Merit.

The Academic All-Canadian and Rams captain has been a standout in the community, taking part in such initiatives as the Ryerson University Athletics Humanitarian Trip to Ghana, where she will serve as a student leader helping to plan, organize, fundraise, and more; volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters to help develop and grow relationships with young females; Ryerson’s inaugural You Can Play game to raise awareness for LGBTQ rights; Do it For Daron fundraising team to raise awareness for mental health through campus and league-wide fundraising; and so much more with and beyond the Ryerson Athletic community.

From fifth year standout to first year standout, meanwhile, Ryerson rookie Brooklyn Gemmill (Cambridge, Ont.) has earned a spot on the 2017-18 All-Rookie Team, racking up 12 assists and 18 points (11th in OUA) during her inaugural campaign for the Rams.  

The final major award winners is a student-athlete who not only made an impact on the score sheet, but also with her demeanor. Claire Merrick (Oakville, Ont.) finished with impressive totals of 15 assists (2nd in OUA) and 22 points (7th in OUA) on the year, but her style of play, respect for her teammates and opponents, and her dedication to a sportsmanlike effort have earned the Guelph Gryphons forward the 2017-18 Most Sportsmanlike Award.

Fellow Gryphons Kaitlin Lowy (Toronto, Ont.) and Kelly Gribbons (Port Elgin, Ont.) have also been recognized for their strong seasons, with each earning a spot as 2017-18 Second-Team All-Stars. The former was tied for the OUA lead in goals scored with 15, while also checking in third in points with 24. Her strong special teams presence and overall game-changing touch were also standouts, as Lowy earned top-five totals in both powerplay goals (4) and game-winning goals (3).Gribbons, meanwhile, was even more impactful with the game on the line, lighting the lamp six times for game-winners, while also finishing in the top five in both goals and points.

Also picking up a pair of Second-Team All-Stars nods are the Western Mustangs, who see standouts April Clark (St. Mary’s, Ont.) and Emma Pearson (Richmond Hill, Ont.) represent the purple and white therein. Clark is another of the OUA’s elite when it comes to finding the back of the net, potting 12 goals on the season, while joining her fellow all-star forwards as top-10 point-getters in the OUA (22 points). Pearson, meanwhile, has been one of the best on the blueline in the OUA, and in addition to her defensive prowess, also chipped in with 11 assists to bolster her fellow purple ponies.

Fellow defender Christine Chao (Toronto, Ont.) from the Varsity Blues has also been named a 2017-18 Second-Team All-Star, thanks to her efforts on both ends of the ice, but the accolades don’t stop there for Toronto. A trio of Blues has also earned spots on the All-Rookie Team, as Louie Bieman (Guelph, Ont.), Gabrielle De Serres (Ville Mont-Royal, Que.), and Madeline Albert (Whitby, Ont.) have all been awarded for their first-year performances. The former two combined to put away 25 points on the year, ranking 27th and 32nd, respectively, while Albert, was in fine form to backstop her squad. The U SPORTS Female Athlete of the Month (October) secured an OUA-best 0.945 SV%, second-ranked 1.32 GAA, and finished second with a 0.750 winning percentage.

Final spots on both the Second-Team All-Stars and All-Rookie Team belong to a pair of Badgers.  Goaltender Jensen Murphy (Kingston, Ont.) and defender Paige Cohoon (St. George Brant, Ont.) turned in strong defensive season for their Brock squad, which included top-five OUA ranks for all-star Murphy in saves (leading the conference with 732), wins (12), and save percentage (0.942).

The complete list of major award winners and all-stars can be found below:

OUA Major Award Winners
Player of the Year – Katrina Manoukarakis, Queen’s
Rookie of the Year – Maria Dominico, Nipissing
Defender of the Year – Zosia Davis, Nipissing
Forward of the Year – Katrina Manoukarakis, Queen’s
Marion Hilliard Award – Ailish Forfar, Ryerson
Most Sportsmanlike Award – Claire Merrick, Guelph
Coach of the Year – Matt Holmberg, Queen’s

OUA First-Team All-Stars
F – Katrina Manoukarakis, Queen’s
F – Ailish Forfar, Ryerson
F – Maria Dominico, Nipissing
D – Zosia Davis, Nipissing
D – Jessica Wakefield, Queen’s
G – Stephanie Pascal, Queen’s

OUA Second-Team All-Stars
F – Kaitlin Lowy, Guelph
F – April Clark, Western
F – Kelly Gribbons, Guelph
D – Emma Pearson, Western
D – Christine Chao, Toronto
G – Jensen Murphy, Brock

OUA All-Rookie Team
F – Maria Dominico, Nipissing
F – Brooklyn Gemmill, Ryerson
F – Louie Bieman, Toronto
D – Gabrielle De Serres, Toronto
D – Paige Cohoon, Brock
G – Madeline Albert, Toronto

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