Host Hawks in need of blow-out over Bisons
The Laurier Golden Hawks have only beaten the Maintoba Bisons once at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) women’s hockey championship.
But that win was by a score of 6-0. And that’s exactly the type of win the host Hawks will need at 7:30 when the teams play their third-ever meeting. The other past meeting between the two? A 3-2 Bisons win in 2006-07.
While a repeat of that 06-07 game will be just fine for the Bisons, even a reversal of that score is unlikely to help the Hawks. As a result of their loss last night to the St. F.X. X-Women, Laurier now needs to blow-out the Bisons and then hope for a narrow Manitoba win over the X-Women on Saturday if they want to keep their hopes of winning a national title at home alive.
But the Bisons will not likely be very accommodating to the purple and gold. Not only did Manitoba knock off Hayley Wickenheiser and the Calgary Dinos in the Canada West semifinals, they went on to upset the regular season champion Alberta Pandas to claim the conference title.
The Bisons come in boasting a balanced attack on offence, which features just one player, fourth-year Addie Mills, in the top 10 in Canada West scoring, but four in the top twenty. In net, second-year goalie Tara Lacquette caught fire in the post-season and despite facing nearly double the shots of any other goalie, finished with the best playoff save percentage and the second-lowest goals against average.
For the Hawks, reigning player of the year goalie Liz Knox will have to rebound quickly from the St. F.X. game which saw her allow an uncharacteristic four goals, on 18 shots. The purple and gold will also need a better game out of their blueliners as turnovers plagued the Hawks’ defence vs the X-Women, often hanging Knox out to dry.
Up front, stand-out Laurier rookie Laura Brooker showed no signs of nerves on the big stage, scoring a highlight reel goal in her first period of national championship action. Forwards Brittany Crago and Vanessa Schabkar also scored for the Hawks vs St. F.X. but they will need to be better as a group if they want to attain the blow-out they need to have any shot at playing for anything more than bronze on Sunday.