Women’s hockey team splits weekend games
In what has been a tough season for the Golden Hawks, Coach Paton finally believes the team is hitting their stride.
Two big upsets in two weeks have the team members feeling great as they return home for the final stretch of the season.
With two road wins against two nationally-ranked programs in the last two weeks, the Golden Hawks have played the role of the underdog well.
Following an impressive 3-2 shootout win over the fourth- ranked team in the country last week, the Hawks played upset again this weekend.
This is as the team travelled north and went into Nipissing’s arena to defeat the ninth-ranked team in Canada, the Nipissing Lakers, by a score of 3-2.
The team faced back-to-back weekend games; Friday against Nipissing and Saturday against Laurentian.
The upset win over the Lakers may have taken all the energy out of the Hawks as a slow start hurt them the next day against Laurentian.
This led to a split of the weekend games for Coach Paton’s team.
On Friday night, after Nipissing opened the scoring six minutes into the game, Emily Woodhouse answered back quickly with a nice goal nearly five minutes later.
The first period ended 1-1 and the second period relatively repeated the first.
Nipissing opened the scoring midway through the second period, but just like the first period, that was answered quickly on a power play goal from Olivia Muhar, her first goal of the season.
Muhar’s goal was an encouraging sign as it tied the game up and was also the fourth straight game for the Golden Hawks where they scroed on the power play.
This was a good sign as the team went through the first ten games of the season, having only scored one powerplay goal.
Coach Paton was impressed by the power play unit and the opportunities they have been making out of it recently.
“Our power play contributed early and we tried to build off of that momentum,” Coach Paton said after the game.
An outstanding third period by team MVP, Cohen Myers kept the Golden Hawks in the game and forced overtime, where Laurier was able to end it quick.
Just 30 seconds into the extra period of play, Emily Visser capitalized off of a Nipissing turnover and sniped the game-winning goal past Lakers goaltender Chantelle Sandquist.
Cohen Myers continues her incredible career with the Golden Hawks, as she has played in all but three games for her team this year.
In the games that she has played, she has been fantastic. Myers sits just inside the top ten in save percentage and goals against average, while also posting the third most saves in the OUA this year, stopping on average 27 shots a game.
Myers’ performance is even more impressive when you consider the offensive stats for the Golden Hawks, a team that has struggled all year on the offensive side, only averaging 1.50 goals per game (second last in the league).
Coach Paton focused on how crucial Myers play was, as she highlighted the big stops made in the third period that led to the game going into overtime.
Myers stopped 26 of 28 of the shots that she faced in the game, including stopping all 10 shots in the third period of the game, which was crucial in the 3-2 upset win.
“She is the team leader and continues to do an amazing job in that role,” Coach Paton said of her goaltender.
Despite a tough schedule second half, we feel like we are progressing and taking the right steps forward in our team play.
– Kelly Paton, coach of the Laurier women’s hockey team
After the energy filled game of Friday night, the Hawks looked flat-footed and a bit tired on Saturday afternoon when they took on the Laurentian Voyageurs.
The Voyageurs scored three minutes into the game and increased their lead by one each period.
Laurentian was in complete control of the game from start to finish, led by a strong defense and steady goaltending. The only bright spot for Laurier in what was a 3-1 loss to Laurentian was rookie forward Chloe Saxton scoring her first goal as a Golden Hawk.
Coach Paton was thrilled with the goal from Saxton and continues to emphasise the good play of her rookies.
“We have eight first years, contributing in the right way and it was good to see her get her first,” Paton said after the game.
Aynsley Harrison also hit the double-digit mark for points over the weekend and increases her lead in the Golden Hawks stats.
Harrison in her fourth year is having a career year with three goals and seven assists on the season.
She becomes the first Golden Hawk in three years to break the ten point mark, with Emily Woodhouse being the last player to break that threshold back in 2016.
Although Laurier’s slow start may have spoiled their season, the team is in the midst of their best stretch of hockey and Coach Paton is not diminishing that one bit.
“Despite a tough schedule second half, we feel like we are progressing and taking the right steps forward in our team play,” Paton said.
Laurier’s forgettable start has unfortunately plummeted them in the bottom of the standings as they are 14 points short of a playoff spot.
With one more loss in the next 6 games, the Golden Hawks will be eliminated from playoff contention for the fourth straight year.
The Golden Hawks have had an overall poor season, but have played tough all year, losing a total of six games in the overtime or shootout frames.
Laurier has also been physical all season, as they lead the OUA in total penalty minutes. .
Although it is looking as if Coach Paton will miss the playoffs again with her team, she is remaining optimistic.
“Our expectation as a group is we are competitive each and every game,” said Coach Paton.
She is now focusing her team on their next game against Waterloo this Thursday.
The women’s team looks forward to the Batttle of Waterloo this Thursday at home as they face the Warriors.
This is the second matchup between the two teams, as they met in the season opener in Waterloo’s arena.
The game on Thursday kicks off a four-game home-stand- their final four home games of the season.
Following the game against Waterloo, Laurier will have a rematch against the University of Toronto, who they beat last week on the road.
On Saturday, Laurier is hosting the annual community skating game day, which will include food, drinks and an opportunity for members of the community and fans to skate in between the games.
The event also gives a chance for fans to get autographs from any of the Laurier players and should bring a more energy-filled environment to the Recreational Complex this weekend.
Coach Paton is looking forward to the day, as she compared it to the school day game the team hosted a few months back.
The women’s team will be the first team up as they start the rare double-header playing at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, before the mens team plays Toronto at 7:07 p.m.