Coming off of a tough loss against Nipissing last weekend, but never having lost two games in a row this season, the women’s hockey team picked up a couple of wins this weekend against two teams they lost to previously this season.
Unlike their typical back-to-back games, the Warriors were fortunate to have a rest day on Saturday before their 3-2 rout of the Windsor Lancers on Nov. 13 at Columbia Icefield Arena. Carolyn Burke led the offence for the home team as she picked up the first two goals of the game, while rookie goalie Taylor Reimer remained undefeated (3-0) and earned her first career win on home ice.
Fans saw many offensive opportunities for the Warriors in the first frame as they were able to take 11 shots, far more than the Lancers’ three. Despite not being able to convert on their first power play opportunity at the 9:25 mark, Burke was able to bury the puck on their second power play to open the scoring for the Warriors. The first goal of the game, tallied at 13:20, was assisted by Stephanie Digness and Alyssa Gee, whose shot rebounded off of the net minder’s pad and slid straight to Burke for the easy wrist shot. The power play goal would be the only display of offence in the period as the teams headed into the locker rooms for the first intermission.
Burke had no plans of slowing down her offensive play as she scored the second goal of the game at the 3:56 mark of the second. Coming as a power play goal once again, Digness picked up her second assist of the game and Alison Hanson would pick one up as well. Much later in the frame, Tegan Odland deked her defender on the right side of the net and sent a short backhand pass to Rebecca Rutherford who was waiting right in front of the net. With no traffic at all, Rutherford would also bring the puck to her backhand to deke the Lancers’ goalie, and easily lifted the puck into the net. Her first goal of the season came at the 14:02 mark, putting the Warriors up 3-0. In the dying seconds of the period, Lancers’ Krystin Lawrence slapped a bar down goal past Reimer to get her team on the score board, 3-1. The unassisted goal would ignite their efforts for a comeback in the final frame.
The third period saw a flurry of shots from the visitors as the Warriors struggled to get the puck out of their own zone to prevent more scoring chances for the Lancers. Halfway through the frame, Windsor would capitalize on a Warriors’ mistake to bring the game closer, 3-2. The goal at 12:11 came from a perfect pass by Reagan Kaufman from the boards to the front of the net, where Jillian Rops would be waiting to shoot. Reimer stopped Rops’s first shot but she was able to backhand the rebound high into the top pocket of the net. With under eight minutes left, the Lancers would keep the puck in the Warriors’ zone to create many close scoring chances. Despite coming close to blowing their lead again and again, the defence fought hard and came out with the exciting 3-2 finish.
Afterwards, Lindsey McDonald commented on the importance of the win, “Going into this game, we knew that it was going to be a tough battle and that we did not want to give Windsor any more points. We worked on the little things, fought hard until the last minute and were rewarded because of it.”
Two days prior to this victory, the Warriors earned their first win of the weekend in Toronto as they defeated the Varsity Blues 1-0. Angela MacDonald was the difference maker in the showdown with her goal midway through the third period, assisted by Gee and Marissa Redmond. Goaltender Stephanie Sluys stopped all 21 shots to secure her second shutout win of the season, and improve her record to 4-3.
“It was a gritty game from both sides. Both goalies played very well and we had to work hard to create bounces which won us the game,” said Warriors’ captain Siobhan Hewitt-Kenda.
The Warriors now sit at third place in the OUA with 20 points, trailing Guelph for the top spot by only three points.
After many back-to-back weekend games, the women will finally catch a break next weekend when they host the York Lions on Sunday afternoon.