Women’s hockey wins fourth straight

Coming into the season, one could have questioned whether the Golden Hawks women’s hockey team they had what it took to defend their identity as champions.

Dissolving any doubt that may have been looming about the team during the pre-season games, the Hawks have been characteristically dominating their oppositions thus far. The Hawks’ games this past weekend against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the York Lions were no exception to their victorious streak. Defeating the Blues 4-2 and the York Lions 6-1, the Hawks have set their eyes solely on the objective of attaining the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) championship title yet again.

Out-shooting the Lions 47-29 on Sunday afternoon, the Hawks commanded the first, second and third period by exemplifying a stronger desire to win the battles in the corners, along the boards and behind the net. By capitalizing on York’s give-aways and their inability to clear their own blue line, third-year Vanessa Schabkar and rookie Laura Brooker buried the puck in the net and established an early game lead with a 2-0 advantage going into the second period.

According to head coach Rick Osborne, the Hawks were optimistic between the first and second periods.

“When we are at a two-goal lead we do not sit back and defend it all the time in league play, in playoffs circumstantially we may,” he said. “When teams have to start gambling then we are at our best to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Although York tried to diminish the gap on the scoreboard by repeatedly attempting stretch passes, they were continuously shut down by Laurier’s solid defence. By taking these offensive gambles York was caught with few players to defend, where the Hawks capitalized and first-year Tammy Freiburger set up defenceman Alannah Wakefield at the point which wrapped up the third period with the Hawks up three goals on their opposition.

York quickly began to show signs of fatigue and a loss of momentum during the third period, which led to an increasing amount of penalties drawn. Consequently, York fell apart on the penalty kill and crumbled under the offensive pressure where Paula Lagamba, Erin Weber and Caitlin Muirhead took advantage of goal-scoring opportunities.

Although York caught a lucky bounce that slipped past Hawks’ netminder Liz Knox in the last five minutes of the third, Laurier consistently kept up a pace that York could not contend with throughout the whole duration of the game.

Brooker emphasized that communication on the ice is an essential aspect to the Hawks’ successful game play.

“Skating hard is what led to our victory against York this evening,” she said. “If we keep our feet moving and we keep going then we can skate past any team.”

It is the unique qualities that the Hawks possess, such as their ability to find each other on the ice, that distinguish them from any other team in the league and result in Laurier’s conquest over their opponents time and time again. The future season for the Golden Hawks looks optimistic and promising with what appears to be another OUA championship brushing against the fingertips of the Laurier’s women’s hockey team.

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