Searching for the right combo
After three shootout losses in four games, something had to give.
On Saturday night, the Wilfrid Laurier women’s hockey team lost to the Toronto Varsity Blues 3-2 in a shootout.
Earlier last week, head coach Rick Osborne decided to mix up his lines coming into the game against the Ryerson Rams, where the team pulled away with a 4-2 win.
“Our lines were going really well and each line had a rookie on it. Since the beginning of the year … the Degagne-Prevette line did all the scoring. Last night they did all of the scoring and a couple of [defence] scored. It was puzzling me why the other two lines couldn’t finish around the net,” Osborne explained.
“So I tried the three fastest players, the most skilled players on our team, and put them together because I assumed that they just weren’t seeing people. We were trying to establish the ones with good vision on the ice and put them together, and the ones who win the races, win the battles.”
Just like clockwork, the “fastest players” line — which consists of Laura Brooker, Megan Howe and Devon Skeats — connected, tying the game 1-1 late in the second period against Toronto.
Brooker also captured her 100th career point as a Hawk.
“The goal was created by knowing where each other was. It was like a tic-tac-toe and it was all created with competitive speed in their end,” Howe said.
“Sometimes you can think and you can think and you can think and other times it’s just blind luck. You just decide, you get ticked off with somebody and you put three out together and all of the sudden it becomes magic and it stays that way for a little while,” Osborne said regarding the line change. “You try to put the science into it, but sometimes it’s just gut feeling.”
So far, the line has picked up two goals and five assists over the weekend, with four of those points coming from the game versus Ryerson.
What is the next step forward if this line is to find success? Crashing the net is the answer.
“I think it’s good that we have a girl driving the net. Me driving around the side [and] passing over. It’s good when we have one girl over at the net and one girl that will hang back in the slot. [We] found that’s the most effective,” Skeats said.
“The blue paint is where it happens. You have to have the speed, the skill and the courage to go there. When you play the top teams, that’s where they are, around our net,” Osborne reasoned.
The Hawks look to continue producing when they go against the Queen’s Gaels on Saturday in Kingston. The game has major implications on the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings as two points separates the top four teams.
Game time is 7:30 p.m.