Brooker chases milestone
Laura Brooker has known she’s been under pressure since before the statistic was mentioned a few weeks back.
“She’s just feeling the weight of the world, and it’s going to come from within her, she’s going to work out of it,” head coach Rick Osborne said.
Since Jan. 13, Brooker has been chasing the 50th goal of her career with the Laurier Golden Hawks. Off a faceoff against the Ryerson Rams, Brooker beat goaltender Dana Carlson to restore Laurier’s three-goal lead. The Hawks won 5-2.
This marked Brooker’s 49th career tally — a feat that took three years of consecutive and impressive offence to achieve. She now sits one away from the 50-goal mark and has for the last four games.
“I think Laura is kind of over-pursuing,” Osborne said. “She is certainly squeezing the stick a little bit tight. I would like her to focus on real good defence, which is going to spring her on some counter attacks, instead of trying to make the big highlight reel goal.”
“It all comes down to how I mentally think about it,” Brooker said. “Obviously, coming into a game there’s more than just scoring goals so I’m focusing more on the team and our aspects and keys to the game. It’s in the back of my mind.”
Brooker joined the Hawks in 2010 where she scored 19 goals and recorded eight assists for an impressive 27 points — good enough for second overall on the Laurier squad and an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) rookie of the year award.
The following year, Brooker continued to be an offensive force with 17 goals and 13 assists for 30 points, which tied her for first on the team.
“Coming out of junior, it’s always different coming up to OUA,” she said. “Rick’s definitely a huge part of that, playing for the team, also it’s a new style so his coaching definitely picked me up to a new level and working hard with the girls.
“They challenge you every practice, every game. You become a better player.”
Brooker currently sits at the top of Laurier’s goal scorers with 13, putting her sixth in the OUA in scoring.
However despite the impressive performance she has put on for the last 23 games, Brooker is still dealing with the looming pressure of that 50th goal.
Despite the minor drought that has kept Brooker off the score sheet, Osborne has confidence that his veteran will find her way.
“It’s either going to be this weekend or next weekend or first round of the playoffs, so I have lots of confidence it’s going to happen,” he said. “When you talk about her process she’s just a little off center right now and we’re going to get her focused at practice this week on defence and maybe generating good strong counterattacks from different places.”
With three games left in the regular season, Brooker will continue to pursue that 50th tally while helping Laurier move toward a solid playoff mentality.
“Every year’s different; new team, new players,” she said.
“This year, right now, we’re all training hard. We’re just basically worrying more about these last couple points to pick up and then when the playoffs come we’ll be ready for it.”