Defence joins the rush in women’s hockey victory
Anyone can say that the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s hockey team has no trouble scoring goals. They could even say that when they were declared the top team in the country that it came as no surprise.
But despite their ongoing success, and an impressive 21-0-1 record, head coach Rick Osborne still looks to improve every aspect of this dominant team.
“We have been looking at [having a] fourth person join the rush,” he said. “We started midway through last season with that type of philosophy on our offensive and it’s carrying on. We do a lot of drills at practice that encourage the secondary wave of the attack.”
So when the cross-town rivals Waterloo Warriors visited the Golden Hawks Friday night, Osborne found exactly what he was looking for in this style of play.
Defender Maureen Mommersteeg scored a goal while point-men Alicia Martin and Fiona Lester added helpers in the 6-0 win in the battle of Waterloo.
“[Haley] Baxter is getting good at [being the fourth man],” Osborne said.
“[Martin] has always been good at it. Lester played a few shifts at centre tonight as well as defence and she’s really strong. She’s smart and she finds the holes and makes really good decisions with the puck.”
Laurier’s defence helps add depth to an already diverse team, where nightly there are more than half of the players on the score sheet.
In their win against Waterloo, the Hawks had ten players record a point or more.
The following night, when Laurier defeated the York Lions 5-3, eleven players were on the score sheet.
Among those players is Laura Brooker, who is tied for third in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) for most goals with 17.
Coming off a slow start to the year, Brooker has picked up the pace and has been unstoppable in the second half of the season, recording 26 points in 22 games.
“I think in the first half of the season, she was, after the year she came off of last year, maybe putting too much pressure on herself,” Osborne said of the sharp forward.
“She is just really starting to hit her stride right now and I think that’s really good news for us.”
“I wanted to do better than last year,” Brooker reflected. “You always want to improve on the year before, so I wanted to keep maintaining the goals and just keep playing it and be a great team player and keep improving as the year goes.”
With only four games left in the regular season, the Hawks now look toward maintaining their offense while preserving their strong defence.
With the added help of rookie goaltender Erika Thunder, the team has let in only 36 goals against, which places them fourth in all of Canada.
Their wins over the weekend against Waterloo and the York Lions solidify their place at first overall in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings.
Laurier will hit the road to face the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) on Thursday night and then travel to Kingston to face Queen’s University on Friday, with both start times at 7:30 p.m.