It was a busy Feb 20 for the Waterloo Warriors women’s ice hockey team, who hosted the last place Ryerson Rams at Columbia Ice Field, besting them in a close 2-1 hockey game. The tilt was the last game of the regular season for the Warriors, who finished the year in sixth place of their 13-team division with a final record of 14-9-1.</p>
The Warriors took the time before puck drop to thank the fourth-year players on the team, recognizing them for their play and dedication to the team throughout their university career.
Captain Kaitlyn McDonell, starting goalie Rebecca Bouwhuis, and forwards Lindsey O’Neill and Paula LaGamba were honoured by the Warriors in their final regular season game of their OUA careers.
Waterloo opened the scoring at 19:37 of the first period as Amy Bernard entered the Rams zone with the puck, beat a defender with a nice move to the side, and quickly passed the puck to Alison Hanson. Hansen then beat the Rams goalie cleanly with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle, giving the Warriors a lead they would never relinquish.
At 14:00 in the second, the Warriors struck again on a quick LaGamba breakaway goal after a relatively clean faceoff win in the Waterloo zone. Gathering the puck near the boards, McDonell started to carry it up the ice but realized she didn’t have much room, as a Rams defender was closing in on her. Instead, she chipped the puck up the boards past the defenseman and right to LaGamba, who let the puck slide right through the second defenseman’s legs, resulting in a breakaway that she made no mistake on. Waterloo dominated the first two periods, outscoring Ryerson 2-0, outshooting them 22-16, and putting lots of pressure on the Rams goalkeeper.
The visitors had a strong third period, however, and it was up to Waterloo to weather the storm and come out with a win. Ryerson had the only goal of the period, at 9:24, on a strange play in front of the Warriors goal. The play started behind the net, where a battle for the puck along the boards was won by the visitors, who then centered and managed to get a shot on goal. The shot appeared to be gobbled up by Bouwhuis without a rebound, but Ryerson forward Melissa Wronzberg saw otherwise and batted the apparently loose puck into the net. It would be the last goal of the game as Waterloo ended the day with a 2-1 win. In their comeback effort in the third period, Ryerson outshot Waterloo 12-5, but senior goaltender Bouwhuis saved 27 of 28 shots for the win.
Waterloo’s women’s hockey team opens the playoffs at 7 p.m. in London Feb. 25 as they face the Western Mustangs in a best-of-three series. The Mustangs finished the season in third place in the OUA, with a final record of 15-8-1.