The Laurier women’s hockey team started off their 2017 schedule by ending an eight game losing streak Saturday night with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Brock Badgers. The win was also the team’s first of the season in regulation.
At the beginning of the game, a possible Laurier victory did not seem likely. Through the first ten minutes of play, Brock was applying all of the offensive zone pressure and the Golden Hawks found themselves in their own end more often than not.
A Brock power play goal just 9:17 into the game put the visitors up 1-0. The Hawks, however, would get the spark they needed from rookie standout and team goal leader Emily Woodhouse.
After an attempted no-look backwards pass from a Brock player in the Laurier zone missed its target, Woodhouse collected the gliding puck and took it down the ice, evading Brock defenders, and fired a wrist shot top shelf over the Badger goaltender’s glove to tie the game. The goal was her sixth of the season and instrumental in jumpstarting the Hawks’ offence.
“I thought we had a slow start in the first period but the Woodhouse goal really got our bench excited and allowed us to regroup between periods and really pick the pace up in the second period,” said Laurier head coach Rick Osborne post-game.
The game was a physical and, at times, undisciplined bout. The teams combined to take 24 penalty minutes (Brock: 14 and Laurier: 10), leaving much of the game to be decided by the effectiveness of their respective special team’s units.
“Our penalty killing really saved us with [Carly] Aucoin and [Kaitlyn] Hatzes leading the way,” Osborne said, whose team killed four of five power play chances for Brock.
At the other end of the rink, Laurier’s power play was only able to capitalize on one of seven chances. The lone power play goal came from Madison MacCulloch, who fired a rebound home in the second period for her first goal of the season, giving Laurier a lead they would not relinquish.
The third period was tough for the home side as Brock looked like their first period selves, controlling the puck and leaving Laurier backed up in their own zone for most of the last ten minutes of the game.
The Hawks were able to stay on top, thanks to many key saves from goaltender Amanda Smith, who stopped 29 of 30 shots in the victory.
Brock’s barrage of scoring attempts in the final minutes was halted when the team took a cross checking penalty with just over two minutes remaining, which gave Laurier back possession of the puck. Aynsley Harrison then added an empty net goal with less than a minute remaining, securing the victory for the Hawks.
The Golden Hawks hope to pile up more wins over the remainder of the season, as they look to climb out of last place in the OUA standings.