Women’s hockey rebounds from rare early-season loss
Having gone undefeated until the last game of the regular season in each of the past two years, losing is not something the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s hockey team is used to. However, on Saturday afternoon, the Hawks fell 3-2 to the Windsor Lancers, marking their earliest loss in a season since 2007.
“I think the first six wins this year, there were two or three games where we could’ve lost,” said head coach Rick Osborne. “[Windsor] had four lines who were playing well and they’re also a very well conditioned team … but you could tell it took a lot out of them to beat us. Like most teams that beat us, you would’ve thought they just won the Stanley Cup, but you don’t win anything in October and November.”
With the rare early-season loss fresh in their minds, the Hawks returned home on Sunday night for a game with the Western Mustangs. The purple and gold promptly got their season back on track, downing the Mustangs 3-1, out-shooting them 32-13, even limiting their rivals from London to a single shot in the third period.
“It was a good game to come back to,” said goalie Liz Knox. “It wasn’t quite a 180-degree turnaround, but it was a good stepping stone for sure. A little adversity is never a bad thing and I think we showed tonight that we can bounce back.”
Leading the way offensively for the Hawks was second-year Devon Skeats, who scored a pair of goals to go along with fourth-year Katherine Shirriff’s first-period marker. The two goals brought Skeats’ point total to seven, tying her with Shirriff for first on the team.
According to Osborne, Skeats came back for her second season at Laurier a much more mature player, which has enabled her to build on a 2009-10 post-season that saw her score six goals after scoring just four throughout the regular season.
“I’m really proud of the way she’s come back this year,” said Osborne of Skeats. “A lot of times you’ll see a player have one big performance and then kind of disappear but she’s really come back and proven herself as a solid top-six forward.”
For Skeats, the increased production has come from increased responsibility compared to last year.
“I feel like I have a much bigger presence on the ice, like I have a bigger role this year,” she said. “I think I’m more depended on than I was as a rookie and it’s a good feeling to be relied on like that.”
Skeats will look to keep her scoring pace up this Saturday when Laurier takes on the Waterloo Warriors.