Women’s hockey shutout in game one
It’s not like the Wilfrid Laurier women’s hockey team hasn’t been here before.
In an identical scenario last year, the first-seeded Hawks lost game one of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) semifinal to the Windsor Lancers 1-0.
And Thursday night, the first-seeded Hawks lost in the OUA semifinal to the fourth-seeded Western Mustangs 2-0, and now face elimination in the best-of-three playoff series.
“I think the game was won in the first 40 minutes,” said head coach Rick Osborne. “Our team really struggled for the first two periods. We haven’t had a really good 60-minute effort since playoffs started.”
Western scored 15 minutes into the game when Cassidy Gosling beat second-year netminder Erika Thunder. In the second, on the powerplay, the Mustangs would net their second of the game when Katelyn Gosling slid one past Thunder.
Laurier was unable to find the net through two periods of play, playing a man short for 12 out of 40 minutes.
Although the Hawks would find their effort in the third, they were unable to beat Mustangs’ goaltender Kelly Campbell, and would give up home advantage in game one.
Thunder stopped 29 of 31 shots while her counterpart, Campbell, stopped all 45 shots she faced.
“I think we have a lot more that we can give,” said fifth-year assistant captain Caitlin Muirhead. “I think everyone can look at themselves in the mirror and we know that our backs are against the wall on Saturday and we have to bring it every shift and not just play 20 minutes in the third period.”
Despite playing part of the final three and a half minutes with a 6-on-3 advantage — after the Mustangs took a pair of penalties and Thunder was lifted for an extra attacker — the Hawks were unable to produce any tangible opportunity.
Laurier will now travel to London Saturday night for game two of the series. The Hawks need a win to force a game three, which would be Sunday night at the Waterloo Rec Complex.
“We just had a work ethic and an energy level issue in the first 40 minutes tonight,” Osborne said. “I think the third period was a closer indication of what the Golden Hawks are all about but now we’ve got to go into London on Saturday and prove it.”
“You’re definitely going to see a different team, a different Laurier team,” Muirhead said. “We rise to the occasion, rise to pressure and I think everyone’s ready to give it every shift we have out there.”