Women’s hockey sweeps the Warriors

The women’s hockey team shrugged off Waterloo’s clutching and grabbing to win 5-1on Saturday.
The women’s hockey team shrugged off Waterloo’s clutching and grabbing to win 5-1on Saturday.

After starting the year with two losses, women’s hockey has bounced back in impressive form winning four games on the trot.

While many at Queen’s were preparing Halloween costumes on Saturday afternoon and recovering from excess partying on Sunday, the Gaels quietly extended their winning streak with back-to-back home victories over the Waterloo Warriors. Playing in front of sparse crowds, the Gaels treated those watching to a freewheeling brand of hockey, outskating and generally outplaying their opponents.

Saturday saw the Gaels emerge with a 5-1 victory in a game notable for the Warriors’ undisciplined play. From the first shift, Queen’s demonstrated superior speed and team play, and were it not for the strong play of Waterloo goaltender Tamara Low-Foon, Queen’s could have been as much as three goals up within the first 10 minutes.

By the midway point of the period, the Warriors had abandoned trying to skate with Queen’s and resorted to clutch and grab tactics to try and stem the Gaels attack. That the Gaels would get the breakthrough goal

seemed inevitable, and unsurprisingly—given the propensity of Waterloo to drawing penalties—it came on a powerplay, with defender Amanda Stenson finding the net on a point shot through traffic.

Queen’s added one more before the end of the period, with Miranda Costie finishing off a fantastic feed from rookie forward Chantelle Johnson on a two-on-one rush.

The second period saw more of the same from the Gaels, who dominated play but failed to score on several opportunities that could have killed off the game. Low-Foon was kept busy throughout the frame, and it took a spectacular team goal by the Gaels to solve her.

Amanda Morra caused a turnover in the Waterloo zone with her persistent forechecking.

First-year Kingston local Alison Bagg passed the puck through two Waterloo defenders to Gaels captain Molly Groenewegen, who was left alone to finish from the slot.

Queen’s goalie Claire Hunt had had only seven shots to deal with by the end of the period, but nonetheless made several crucial saves to stop the Warriors from gaining a foothold in the contest.

Queen’s added a fourth goal early in the third period, as Victoria Kaufmann out-raced a Warriors defender to the puck and passed for Andrea LeBlanc to finish in front.

Coach Geraldine Heany’s team came back, however, to spoil Hunt’s shutout bid with a good individual goal by Jo-Ann Scott.

Queen’s didn’t retaliate against their opponents’ strong-arm tactics , and any chance for Waterloo to close the gap was snuffed out by a steady parade to the penalty box. Miranda Costie closed the scoring with her second goal, a powerplay effort assisted by Cassandra Sparks and Kaufmann.

Gaels head coach Harold Parsons said he was satisfied with the way his team played and was pleased with his players’ creativity.

“[They] had begun trying to be more creative with the puck and unafraid to try new things on offence,” he said.

Though this year’s team has lost all-time leading scorer Elizabeth Chiasson and scorers Michelle Clark-Crumpton and Jenni Gunn, Parsons said he believes with increased opportunities will come increased confidence for many of his players.

“[Part of gaining confidence] was to make sure everyone had an opportunity tonight out on the ice and on the powerplay,” he said.

Parsons’ strategy paid off, as several different players scored goals. Besides Costie, who had a standout game, Parsons also singled out the leadership of Groenewegen, the steady play of goalie Claire Hunt, and the maturity of rookies Bagg, Johnson and Sparks as keys

to the victory.

Sunday saw the Gaels emerge with a 2-1 victory on the strength of two powerplay goals and the goaltending of rookie Melissa John, who was spectacular in earning her first career win.

Overshadowing the victory was concern for Gaels forward Cassandra Sparks, who was injured on a second-period hit. Sparks had to be helped off the ice after being attended to for several minutes.

As in the previous night’s game, Gaels defender Amanda Stenson opened the scoring on a powerplay at 14:56 of the first period. Assisting the goal were Groenewegen and Bagg. Unlike the night before, however, Queen’s could not press their advantage into more goals, spurning several chances to open up a larger lead.

For the rest of the first period and throughout the second, Queen’s could not convert their opportunities into goals, allowing Waterloo to grow in confidence and begin to strongly test John.

Waterloo tied the game at 1:10 into the third, with a goal from Kirsten Lindstol. Queen’s began to take the play back to the Warriors, who, when confronted with superior skating ability, ran into penalty trouble as had been the pattern on Saturday night.

It was on a power play at the 16:54 mark that Kaufmann scored the winner, beating Warriors goalie Alexis Huber upstairs through traffic. Queen’s was far from being home and dry, however, and were it not for two great saves from John in the dying seconds, the game could have ended in a tie.

The next games for the Gaels will be on the road next weekend with two games at Windsor.

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