A dominant victory against the defending champions, Brock Badgers, on Feb. 22 displayed the Waterloo Warriors’ intent of heading into the play-off season and winning the OUA title. The first of three games was hosted at Columbia Ice Field (CIF). The Brock Badgers were subjected to the on-form Warriors, who beat them 6-0. This was the largest margin the Warriors have seen all season. Although the Badgers replied with a 4-1 win in Thorold, the Warriors took the series in game three, winning 2-1 at the CIF arena.
The Feb. 22 game was the Warriors’ most aggressive performance with six different goal-scorers, all within the first two periods, which meant an easy victory for the home team. The Badgers made it relatively easy with all three goals within the second period scored during a powerplay due to minor fouls by Paige Cohoon and Catriona Cormier. Cohoon’s initial holding foul led to Kassidy McCarthy capitalizing on the one-woman advantage on the ice, assisted by Elizabeth Lenardon and Brooklyn Cole. Cohoon’s slashing foul then gave the Warriors another powerplay advantage, with Tatum James converting the advantage. The defensive game by the Warriors was also commendable, with significantly fewer offenses and a clean-sheet on the record for Kara Mark.
It is fair to say that the Badgers were feeling the home-court advantage Feb. 24 during game two. Madison Cronkwright scored the only point of the first period for the Brock Badgers. Going into the second quarter, Cormier scored the second point for the Badgers, who were leading 2-0. Then, through the assistance of James and Leah Herrfort, Keiara Raitt answered with a goal to open the scoring for the Warriors. However, that was the only scoring from the black and gold, with Cormier scoring a third for the Badgers, and Cronkwright adding a fourth in the final period of the game.
With the series tied at 1-1, the Warriors hosted the Badgers once again on Feb. 25 at CIF. The Warriors were poised for victory in the semifinals, but the Badgers were the ones to open scoring during the two minute and 12-second powerplay, awarded for Cole’s tripping foul and Carley Olivier’s delay of game. The fouls let Cormier set up Mishayla Christensen for the first goal of the match. However, the Warriors did not let the Badgers take control of the game. Carley Molnar was only troubled 17 times in the second and third periods, through a good defensive strategy by the Warriors — this was in contrast to Kenzie Harmison’s evening, who had to defend 28 shots on target from the Warriors in the same two periods. The Badgers’ goalkeeper definitely proved her worth but was unable to defend the shots made by the Warriors. Harmison’s 26 saves meant Olivier’s first period goal and Elizabeth Lenardon’s third period goal were enough to beat the Badgers and take the series.
Winning the quarter-finals means that the Warriors are back in the OUA Top 4 for the first time since the 2016–17 season. This improvement comes with added pressure, as the Warriors start the semi-finals series at North Bay, home ice for the Nipissing Lakers. The first two games are scheduled for March 1 and 3, the latter held at the Columbia Ice Field. A provisional game three for the semi-finals is scheduled at CIF on March 4.
As the OUA season comes to a close, the women’s basketball team faces Queen’s for the OUA semi-finals, as does the women’s volleyball team.