Women’s hockey expected to contend for OUA crown

Pre-season action showcases promising squad

The Gaels will have to rely on their potent offense if they hope to equal last season’s success.
The Gaels will have to rely on their potent offense if they hope to equal last season’s success.

The Queen’s women’s ice hockey team is tuning up for another run at the OUA championships. After finishing the regular season last year with a 17-4-1 record and went 2-1 in the playoffs, the Gaels came up short against Laurier in the OUA championships.

Given that they won the OUA silver medal on the strength of prolific goal-scoring, the Gaels promise to be a dangerous team once again this year. Last season was the team’s best result since the 1989-90 campaign, and has generated excitement for the coming season.

A number of the Gaels were honoured for their standout play last season, most notably Elizabeth Chiasson, the OUA’s most valuable player and a CIS first-team all-star, and Keri Baker, who was named an OUA second-team all-star. These factors combine to make the Gaels a serious contender for the Ontario crown this season. The team hopes to be able to maintain their level of play, as last year’s roster was packed with younger players—10 first-years and eight second-years. The Gaels scored 105 goals in 25 games and had five of the top six scorers in Ontario.

They showed they still know how to find the net Saturday afternoon, earning a gutsy 4-4 tie in an exhibition game against a talented team from Mississauga. The game was played on poor ice at Jock Harty Arena, where a fog hung over the ice as a result of temperature problems.

Queen’s battled back from 2-0 and 4-3 deficits to earn the tie. It was fitting that the tying goal was scored on a power play late in a game; Mississauga took seven minor penalties and Queen’s eight. The parade to the penalty box made it difficult for both teams to generate chances at various points in the game, but when opportunities arose, both teams did everything they could to capitalize.

Head coach Harold Parsons—named the OUA East Coach of the Year each of the past two seasons—will no doubt demand a more disciplined effort of his team in their next game.

The Queen’s penalty killers were forced to work hard and often and it was evident that they were tiring towards the end of the game. Mississauga’s fourth goal came moments after Queen’s had killed a two-minute five-on-three disadvantage. It was a disheartening time to give up the go-ahead goal, but the team maintained their confidence to earn the tie. The Gaels also merit a great deal of credit defensively. In 25 games last season, Queen’s opponents managed only 41 goals giving them a stingy 1.64 goals against average.

Despite allowing four goals, the team played strong defensively for the majority of the game and benefited from some good goaltending.

The women will play four more exhibition games before opening their season at Laurier on Oct. 22, when they will be looking to avenge last year’s season-ending loss. The Gaels will host Waterloo in their regular season home opener a week later on Oct. 29.

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