In front of their home crowd on Jan. 3, the Warriors’ women’s hockey team found some holiday magic with a 3-2 (OT) comeback victory over the visiting Windsor Lancers. Brooklyn Sarnovsky netted the overtime winner on the powerplay, capping off the comeback from down 2-1.
The Warriors went into the holiday break as the hottest team in the OUA, earning points in seven of their last 10 games to move into second place in the conference. They were dominant, outscoring their opponents 29-17 in the process, and touted the conference’s two leading scorers, Taytum Clairmont and Krystin Lawrence. The team began the 2020 calendar year with one goal in mind: passing York for the top spot in the province.
The path to that goal began at home against the Lancers, and the Warriors were ready. Just under three minutes after the opening faceoff, Lawrence put the home team on the board, intercepting a pass at centre ice before firing a shot over the shoulder of Lancers’ goaltender Jaydlin Spooner. The unassisted tally was Lawrence’s ninth of the season.
Three minutes later, UW’s Brooklyn Cole took an ill-advised penalty, tripping a Lancer defenceman in the offensive zone. The Warriors were strong on the penalty kill, but with under 30 seconds left, Clairmont took a goaltender interference penalty, crashing into Spooner on a rush to the net. The Lancers wasted no time on the ensuing 5-on-3 when Avery Mertz scored just 10 seconds in to tie the game.
Later in the period, the Warriors had a 5-on-3 of their own, but Spooner stood tall in net to keep the game tied at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
Midway through the second period, Windsor scored a second goal. Following a faceoff win, defenceman Aubrey Lefler walked the line before floating a wrist shot towards the net. Lancers’ forward Avery Mertz tipped the shot in the high slot, sending it past Warriors’ goaltender Mikayla Schnarr to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.
In the third, the Warriors turned on the heat, sending shots from all angles towards the Windsor cage. However, Spooner turned away everything the Warriors threw at her to keep the lead for her team. Finally, after wearing down the Lancers during the lengthy 5-on-3, the Warriors broke through. Emma Pye sent a sent a skilled cross-seam pass to Brooklyn Cole, who then fired the puck home to tie the game at 2-2.
Despite two more power play opportunities, the Warriors were unable to solve Spooner and score the go-ahead goal. Unfortunately for Windsor, with the game certain to go into overtime, Jessica Gribbon took a cross-checking penalty. After a mere four seconds in regulation, the penalty spilled over to become a 4-on-3 for the Warriors in overtime, who struck quickly with the extra ice.
With the puck in the high slot, Clairmont was able to get two Windsor defenders to commit to her. She then passed to Sarnovsky, who fired home the one-timer to earn the extra point for the home team.
Following her strong play at the end of the last calendar year, Schnarr earned the start for the Warriors. She stopped 29 shots to earn her seventh win of the season.
The victory was the 100th of head coach Shaun Reagan’s career, a fitting milestone considering the success he has brought the team over the last nine years.
The Warriors will play their next game on Jan. 12 on the road against the Ryerson Rams, before travelling to Sudbury to take on the Laurentian Voyageurs. The will be the first two games of a four-game road trip for the team.