Hockey topples mighty Hawks

Downs first-ranked Laurier 4-2, shuts out Waterloo 5-0

The Gaels bombarded their opponents last weekend and brought home two key victories.
The Gaels bombarded their opponents last weekend and brought home two key victories.

K-W stood for killer wins for the Queen’s Golden Gaels women’s hockey team this past weekend as their trip to the Kitchener-Waterloo area resulted in four huge points. A 5-0 win on Sunday over the Waterloo Warriors came on the heels of Saturday’s 4-2 upset victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks, who are ranked number one in the CIS.

Coming into the weekend, the Gaels were part of a logjam in the OUA standings from second down to eighth position, giving each game in this second-last weekend of the season even more meaning. The Saturday game against Laurier would of course be no picnic, as the Golden Hawks had already taken both meetings this season and the three previous ones, including the 2004 OUA final. The one thing working in the Gaels’ favour was that Laurier had shown some vulnerability in their previous few games, losing only their second game of the season to eighth-place Western, as well as allowing eight goals in two games to the lowly Mustangs.

Queen’s got off to exactly the start they had hoped for as veteran Keri Baker opened the scoring for the Gaels just five minutes in. Rookie Cassandra Sparks scored a powerplay goal from the left doorstep with just under three minutes left in the first period to give Queen’s a surprising 2-0 lead going into the first intermission.

Laurier came alive in the second period to give their goaltender some support, outshooting the Gaels by a 19-3 margin in the period, and got goals from Ashley Stephenson and Diana Cicchillo to tie the game at 2-2.

Queen’s did not allow Laurier’s dominating second period to carry over to the third, however, as Andrea Leblanc scored just four minutes into the period to give the Gaels a 3-2 lead. Rookie Victoria Kaufmann gave her team some insurance with a goal with just three minutes to play, sealing the 4-2 win for the Gaels.

Goaltender Claire Hunt was the story of the game, picking up 36 saves on 38 shots against the top-scoring team in the OUA. The Golden Hawks had Morgan Wielgosz in goal, who now leads the CIS with a goals against average of 1.22 and a record of 13-1-1.

After defeating the top team in the country, a letdown the following day would not be out of character, but Queen’s kept their foot on the gas pedal as they rolled over Waterloo 5-0 on Sunday, buoyed by a four-goal outburst in the first period. Molly Groenewegen, Baker, Sparks and Kaufmann tallied those goals, which would be followed by a second period goal from Amanda Morra to complete the scoring for the Gaels.

The strong weekend from the line of Miranda Costie, Kaufmann and Sparks continued their solid play evident over the last few weeks, combining for 13 points in the last three games. Sparks is in the midst of a five-game point streak which includes three goals and four assists.

Hunt has now started the last three games for the Gaels, picking up three wins and allowing a total of two goals in those three games—including two shutouts. She is now ranked fifth in the country with a goals against average of 1.57. The team remains outside the CIS top ten rankings, despite a three point lead on Brock, who is ranked eighth.

Queen’s will finish the regular season this weekend with two home games against the fourth-place Brock Badgers on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday at 2 p.m. Brock is led by the OUA’s leading scorer Kate Allgood, who has potted 24 goals thus far in the season, including four in Brock’s 4-1 victory over Queen’s earlier this season. Laurier’s Laurissa Kenworthy is second in the OUA with 11 goals.

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