Beginning the season on a positive note

The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s hockey team had their hands full last weekend.

Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros
Photo by Andreas Patsiaouros

The Wilfrid Laurier University women’s hockey team had their hands full last weekend.

Facing off against two very physical teams, the Nipissing Lakers and Laurentian Voyageurs, the Hawks were able to come away with two wins, starting their season record off on a good note — but it wasn’t easy.

The Lakers and Voyageurs, who entered the Ontario University Athletics division last year, proved to be a force to be reckoned with facing off against the Hawks.

Laurier won a close matchup against the Lakers on Oct. 2 in a 3-2 shootout victory, with second-year winger Dollee Meigs scoring the only goal for the Hawks during the shootout.

“It’s great. Feels good, it was a good start to the year,” Meigs said, referring to her goal against the Lakers.

Meigs goal is to play a bigger role on the team, both in terms of offence and defence and to contribute to the team as much as she can.

Goaltender Amanda Smith remained solid, earning her second overtime victory in her career.

She stopped 18 shots during regulation and overtime and turned away all three Laker shooters to capture the win.

“[Smith’s] play was solid in game one,” head coach Rick Osborne said. “She struggled during the preseason because she’s not anywhere near in shape just yet.”

Osborne is anxious to see Smith in the second half of the season, when she regains her form and conditioning.

According to him, Smith’s lateral movement and her conditioning needs to be improved for her to
return to the form she was during last season.

On Oct. 5, the Hawks hosted the Voyageurs in what would surely be a physical game for both teams, in which the Hawks won 4-0.

After a strong first period that saw the Hawks score three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, they remained disciplined and gained momentum coming into the rest of the game.

That was when the contact started.

“It was chippy,” Osborne said about his thoughts on the game against Laurentian.

“I was proud of the way our team kept their hands and their sticks down and skated today. You could see that in the first period by the penalties we drew.”

The only way for the Hawks to slow the Voyageurs advances was to meet their physical play. Near the end of the game, a Laurentian player drilled center Megan Howe, which saw the Voyageur get a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct.

“I believe our power play is going to be a determinant in that as the season goes on,” Osborne said. “We’ll continue to enjoy having power plays.”

Rookie goalie Nicholle Kovach got the start in net, shutting the door and turning away 12 shots to earn the shutout victory in her first game in season play.

Having two strong goaltenders and four lines that can contribute is the key to Osborne’s success in his formula to return to the OUA championships this year.

The Hawks go on the road next weekend, facing off against the Lancers and the Mustangs.

Puck drops on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Windsor Arena against the Lancers.

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