Fresh off earning their first top-ten ranking in over a decade, the Warriors’ women’s hockey team looked to continue their success and increase their lead atop the OUA standings. However, it wouldn’t be easy, as both of their next two matchups would be against fellow top-five teams in the OUA, the Ryerson Rams and University of Toronto Varsity Blues.
The women took care of business against Ryerson, earning a decisive 3-0 win at home, but dropped a difficult 2-1 decision to Toronto on the road. The split drops the Warriors to third in the OUA, behind York and Toronto.
UW entered their Nov. 28 matchup against Ryerson hot after taking down Toronto 5-0 the previous weekend. The Warriors clogged the neutral zone and used their cycle to generate changes against Toronto, and this game showcased much of the same from the team.
The Warriors’ Taytum Clairmont opened the scoring midway through the game, stripping a defenceman at the blue line to go in all alone against Ryerson goaltender Rachel Seeley. The country’s leading scorer then reached deep into her bag of tricks, pulling the puck through her legs to misdirect Seeley before roofing the puck top-shelf to give UW the lead.
The score stayed the same until five minutes into the third period when Elizabeth Lenardon scored her first OUA goal on the rush. Lenardon added another later in the period assisted by Krystin Lawrence, who earned her 100th OUA point on the marker.
Mikayla Schnarr earned the shutout for the Warriors, stopping 29 shots along the way, including a couple stellar glove saves.
Two days later, UW travelled to Toronto to take on the Blues in a rematch of the last weekend’s matchup. Toronto was hungry for revenge, not wanting to be embarrassed in front of their home fans by their rivals.
Warriors’ coach Shaun Reagan tapped Schnarr for the start following her back-to-back shutouts.
The Blues set the tone with physical play, as captain Stephanie Ayres took an early hooking penalty to put UW on the power play. However, the Warriors were unable to capitalize, and shortly after killing the penalty, the Blues opened the scoring when Cristine Chao’s one-timer took a deflection.
UW put the clamps on in the second period, holding Toronto to only three shots and earning the lion’s share of possession. Unfortunately, their zone time only led to seven shots on Toronto’s Erica Fryer, who turned away UW to preserve her team’s lead.
The Warriors finally solved Fryer in the third period when Krystin Lawrence finished off a counter-attack to tie the game 1-1. However, Chao netted her second of the game with five minutes to, giving Toronto the one-goal lead and leaving UW scrambling for the equalizer. The Warriors kept Toronto deep in their own zone and peppered the Blues’ goal with shots from all angles, but Fryer stood tall, clinching the 2-1 victory for her side.
Schanrr stopped 26 shots in the loss. Lawrence’s goal was her eighth of the season, moving her to third place in the OUA. Clairmont and Lawrence hold the top-two spots in the OUA scoring race heading into the winter break, with 19 and 16 points respectively.
The Warriors will have the next few weeks off for some well-deserved rest. They will open 2020 at home on Jan. 3 against the Windsor Lancers.