Slowly slipping in the standings

After two straight losses over the weekend, women’s hockey is no longer nationally ranked


 

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Photo by Will Huang

After an uncharacteristic start to the season, the Wilfrid Laurier University women’s hockey team is ready for a break.

Following their two losses this past weekend against the Waterloo Warriors and the Toronto Varsity Blues, the Hawks have an overall record of 7-4-3 coming onto the midway point of the season.

They now slip to fifth place in the province, and only five points ahead of the 11th place University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks. This marks the first week that the club has not been nationally ranked dating all the way back to the 2003- 04 season.

Laurier lost a close decision to the Blues that needed a shootout to settle the game. None of the Laurier shooters were able to put it past the Blues net minder during the shootout, losing 2-1.

The previous night, Laurier was held off the score sheet by very strong goaltending when the Waterloo Warriors shut out the Hawks in a 2-0 showing on home ice.

“I have to say, I know we faced a couple of good goaltenders, but I am extremely surprised that we only scored one goal in two games,” head coach Rick Osborne said.

Nicole Kesteris of the Blues and Stephanie Sluys of the Warriors are both in the top five list of goaltenders in save percentage, with Kesteris owning a .932 save percentage and Sluys at .959, tied for first in Ontario University Athletics.

Saturday also marked the first time the Laurier Golden Hawks have lost a game to the Warriors since Dec. 4, 2004.

“They played a really smart tough checking game. They certainly wanted it very badly. It’s been a while since they beat us— they deserve what they got tonight; good goaltending, good special teams from them and they were tenacious all night long,” Osborne said.

“It was a night I truly did not want to fall more than one goal behind, knowing the way their team checks, knowing their goalie — it’s just I’m a little shocked that they were able to shut us out on our home ice.”

The Hawks were also missing a few crucial pieces to the lineup, as fourth-year centre Megan Howe and second-year defender Montana Merante were both out with injuries. First-year defender Molly Handsaeme played both games but she was not 100 per cent.

Going into the winter break, the Hawks are looking forward to refocusing their energy for the second half of the season.

Osborne said he thinks right now is a good time for Laurier to take that break.

“It’s going to be good for people to go home and see their families and that will give them some more energy as well. I know school can be really tiring this time of year,” fifth-year captain Laura Brooker said.

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