Women’s hockey routes Toronto to secure top-spot in the OUA

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Varun Venkataramanan

After going an impressive 7-3 over their last 10 games, all eyes were on the Warriors’ Women’s Hockey team as they played host to the nation’s number three ranked team, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. UW struck early and often, cruising to a 5-0 victory to secure first place in the OUA Division standings.

Eight minutes in, a cross-checking penalty by Toronto’s Shaelynn Waite put UW on the power play, and it didn’t take the home team long to convert, as forward Taytum Clairmont finished off a nice passing play from Krystin Lawrence and Emma Pye to put the Warriors up 1-0. 

UW doubled their lead with four minutes remaining in the period when Brooklyn Cole banked a pass off the boards to send Lawrence in on a breakaway. Lawrence made no mistake, going from her forehand to her backhand to deke Toronto goaltender Erica Fryer before finishing top-shelf. 

Clairmont almost added to the lead a minute later, but Fryer stood tall for the visitors, turning away the initial attempt and the rebound to keep it a two-goal game.

Toronto began the second period with a focus on puck retrieval and was sending in an extra skater for every battle. As a result, the game began to get chippy, and the teams combined for 18 penalty minutes in the frame. Later in the period, with the Blues’ Stephanie Ayres in the box for body checking, UW’s Alison Hanson tipped in a point-shot from Hannah Street to score her first goal of the season.

Toronto struggled to generate offence for the rest of the period, and UW made it a 4-0 lead with just over a minute remaining in the period. Cole took a pass from Samantha Burbridge and skated down the right-wing one-on-one with a Blues’ defenceman. She then cut inside with a power move and used her strength to finish glove-side despite being held illegally by her defender. 

The Blues tried to make a surge in the third period and pulled their goaltender on a late power play, but the Warriors’ Mikayla Schnarr shut the door to keep Toronto off the board. Clairmont added a shorthanded empty-netter late to secure the 5-0 victory for her team.

Schnarr stopped 26 shots in the win to earn her first USports shutout. It was a strong defensive showing for UW who rebounded after giving up three unanswered goals in their last game.

Toronto’s backup, Fryer, earned the start and stopped 28 shots in the loss. 

UW has continued their impressive offensive play, outscoring their opponents 17-7 over their last five games. Clairmont, the reigning OUA Athlete of the Week, led the way again, netting two goals and an assist to increase her OUA leading point total to 18. Clairmont is tied with Saint Mary’s Brooke Murphy for the most points in the country.

Lawrence also scored three points in the win and now has 14 for the season, third in the OUA. 

The win moves the Warriors to 8-3-1 on the season, including an impressive 4-1-0 at home. They are also 3-1-0 in matchups against teams ranked inside the top 10.

The Warriors will be back in action on Nov. 28 when they  host Ryerson. They will then travel to Toronto on Nov. 30 to close out their term in a rematch against the Blues.

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