Women’s hockey moves to 11-0

Luckily for the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ women’s hockey team, veteran Katherine Shirriff was on thier side as she dished out pain in more ways than one way on Saturday night as she scored twice in a 3-2 Hawks victory over the visiting Guelph Gryphons. The Hawks beat the Brock Badgers 4-0 the following night.

In a rematch of last year’s Ontario University Athletics (OUA) finals, the Hawks and Gryphons exchanged goals; Shirriff provided some dramatics as she capitalized on a penalty shot awarded in the second period and sniped a wrister blocker-side on Guelph goalie Danielle Skoufranis.

“She can be streaky,” said Hawks head coach Rick Osborne of Shirriff. “She’s scored five points in one game, and she’s had four in eight games in the past.”

The penalty shot marker would relieve the ailing Hawks, who trailed 1-0 after the first period on a goal by Guelph’s Jenna Lanzarotta, in which the right winger went upstairs on a rare rebound given up by Laurier goaltender Liz Knox.

Shirriff would fire up Laurier’s offence again early in the third, deflecting a shot from teammate Vanessa Bennett for her fifth of the campaign.

The Gryphons would tie it up just 54 seconds later; catching the purple and gold back on their heels. Guelph’s Dayna Kanis batted an airlifted puck into the net as the original point shot caught Knox’s stick and flew skywards.

Kate Psota would seal the game for the Hawks just 1:43 later with an easy bank in play that came off a perfect pass behind the net from Brittany Crago.

It wasn’t just Shirriff’s hands that were hot on Saturday; she got involved in an altercation late in the game with Gryphons’ centre Erin Small after Small tried to dig a loose puck free from Knox who had it covered up.

Shirriff and Small each got roughing minors, with the extra penalty going to Small.

The two chattered at each other in an animated dispute after arriving in the penalty box.

“Shirriff is an emotional player, and you have to like the passion she brings to the game,” commented Osborne.

Both players would cool down, but Osborne hopes that Shirriff’s scoring prowess doesn’t follow suit.

“When she gets a hot hand, you’ve got to go with her, and when she cools off, you’ve got to sit her down for a bit.”

With the extra penalty assessed to Small, Gryphons’ head coach Rachel Flanagan wasn’t impressed with the late-game call.

“The game was played a certain way all night,” she said. “We drove their net hard and they drove our net hard all game and the whistle hadn’t gone, so we expect consistency [in the ref’s calls].”

With emotions running high for both teams, the Laurier-Guelph rivalry hasn’t subsided since last year.

“There’s probably a little more bad blood after tonight’s game,” said a smiling Flanagan.

The number two nationally ranked Hawks play host to Windsor on Saturday and Western on Sunday.