Coach Paton remains optimistic despite winless home season

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Heading into their final two home games of the season this past weekend, Coach Kelly Paton and her players were still in search of their first home win.

In 10 previous games at the Waterloo Memorial Recreational Complex, the Golden Hawks team could not get a win, losing several tightly contested games.

Laurier entered this final weekend with games against Ontario Tech and Queens.

Coach Paton mentioned the importance of the final games at home, knowing that the team was unsuccessful there so far.

“Internally, as a group, we really want to get a win here at home and the girls are all aware and will try our hardest in order to get that done,” Coach Paton said before the game against Ontario Tech.

On Thursday, the Golden Hawks played one of their best offensive games of the season, as they were able to put 40 shots on Celine Tessier, the Ontario Tech netminder.

The 40 shots by Laurier was their highest total in nearly two years, but Tessier made crucial stops throughout the game, leading the Ridgebacks to a 3-2 win.

Coach Paton had her players prepared as they came out with energy and had a sense of passion. They looked like the better team throughout the game and opened the scoring on a Chloe Davidson goal.

After two early third period goals by the Ridgebacks, the Golden Hawks stayed focused and fought hard.

Rebecca Hall tied the game scoring her biggest goal as a member of the team with just over three minutes left.

“Overall I think the game went on par with the season, staying competitive, going into the third period and having a chance to come out with the win,” Coach Paton said of the game.

In the seven-minute overtime frame, Laurier was gifted a penalty shot and a powerplay, but still could not beat Tessier.

With 14 seconds left in overtime, Alex Frigon for the Ridgebacks beat Laurier goalie, Victoria Keaiditis and broke the hearts of Golden Hawks players.

Coach Paton was frustrated after the game. “We are making progress, but it is challenging to not be able to see that translate into results,” she said.

On Saturday, the Hawks had one more chance of winning at home and honoured six graduating players pre-game in what would be their final home game with the Laurier hockey program.

“The team did a really good job recognizing the seniors today, they did some stuff pre-game, that made some of the seniors emotional, which is really good to see, because it shows the staff and I that they care,” Coach Paton said.

Laurier came out with energy again and opened the scoring again, however they gave up three goals and lost 3-1.

Laurier finished the season 0-9-3 at home this season but were competitive in nearly every game.

Coach Paton was disappointed in that statistic becoming a reality but remained optimistic along with her team.

“We have been much more consistent in the second half of the season, we just need to do a better job in close games and pressure situations. Offensive puck skills are an area of growth for this team going forward,” said Coach Paton.

Coach Paton mentioned that it was a transition year for the program and it will be important to step back and realize who they are as a team, in order to continue to build a team that needs some help in getting back to where they were a decade ago.

Laurier will play Western on Thursday, before finishing the regular season against York on Feb. 15.

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