Last season saw the women’s hockey team lose in the first round of the playoffs to the first place Laurier Golden Hawks.
This season, competition elevated as two new teams — Nipissing and Laurentian — joined the OUA, making it even more difficult for teams to earn a playoff spot.
Waterloo also lost several key players to ineligibility or graduation and this season’s roster consisted of many first and second-year players. With this young of a roster, head coach Shaun Reagan did not have championship aspirations this year but still hoped to compete for a playoff spot.
“We’re a pretty young group, we knew making the playoffs would be a solid effort for us on the season so I think that’s what we were aiming for,” said Reagan.
The season started off with a bang as the Warriors faced the Windsor Lancers in a game that saw the Warriors trail 3–1. But they stormed back, winning the game in overtime behind a game-winning goal by Stephanie Dingess, who recorded a hat trick in the win.
From there on out it was a roller coaster ride of a season for the women’s hockey team. They were never able to gain the momentum needed to move up in the standings as a short losing streak followed many of their wins.
The losses themselves were a mixed bag, consisting of games where they were shut out or handed a heartbreaking loss in overtime, a stat in which they lead the OUA with five.
They finished off the season with a 8–11–5 record, good enough for eighth place in the OUA, just edging out Brock for the final spot.
Last year at this time, the team was nearly in the exact same position; finishing eighth and having to face the number one team in the first round of the playoffs. The only difference this time around was their opponent — now they were facing a Guelph team that dominated in the regular season.
Unfortunately, the Warriors’ fate was the same as last year’s, losing to Guelph in two straight games, knocking them out of the playoffs, effectively ending their season.
This year sees the end of the collegiate playing careers of Lindsey Ceaser, Katie Dods, Kelly Toms and Kate Wagner.
“We’re gonna miss their leadership but through their leadership we’re gonna be a better team next year,” said Reagan.
Rachel Marriot was named OUA rookie of the year, while Stephanie Digness was named to the CIS all-rookie team.
Fifteen of the 17 first and second year players are returning next season, providing Waterloo a great foundation for the next few years.
“Next year we want to finish in the top six and I think that’s achievable for us with this young group moving forward and having a year’s more experience under their belt,” said Reagan.