Hockey splits doubleheader

On opening weekend at Western women recover after opening game loss

The women’s hockey team split a pair of games against Western to open their season in London last weekend. The Gaels lost their league opener 2-1 despite holding a 1-0 lead going into the third period and outshooting the Mustangs 18- 7 in the final frame. The Gaels bounced back on Sunday with a convincing 4-1 victory thanks to a three-point game from rookie Tori Boeckh and 34 saves from rookie goaltender Katie Boyd. Despite several promising new additions to the team and high expectations going into the season, the Gaels came out flat in their first game.

“We had a lot of nervous rookies who were just a little keyed up,” said assistant coach Roger Healey.
“We expected a lot of our team and were disappointed after the first game, but our players recovered in the second game.” He said his team’s strengths are their speed and puck pursuit, but it was lacking in the first game. “We didn’t take care of our own end first,” head coach Harold Parsons said, adding, “Once we stop skating we become just like any other team.” Western goaltender Danielle Le Ber made 41 saves in the victory, but the 18 shots directed at her in the third period were mostly from the outside and never posed a significant threat, Parsons said. “We didn’t do the things we’d practiced all week—driving the net, jumping on loose pucks, boxing out for rebounds. It wasn’t for lack of trying; we were just too nervous to perform in the first game.” The Mustangs bided their time and capitalized on their only two opportunities in the final period. Sunday proved to be a different story as the Gaels went back to basics and emerged with the win. An early shorthanded goal from captain Miranda Costie set the tone and put Western on their heels. Healey said the turning point came soon after with a power play goal by Boeckh. “I could sense that Western wasn’t going to come back after
that goal,” Healey said. Boeckh added another goal in the second period and Becky Conroy, also a rookie, scored in the third. Parsons said the Gaels’ success was due to a renewed commitment to speed and driving the net. “We didn’t have to say much after the first game,” Parsons said. “They drove the net, they didn’t try to do everything themselves, and they played a skating game that used speed to their advantage.” With a team largely comprised of first and second-year players, the
coaching staff was encouraged by the rookies’ collective performance in the win. “Our recruits are hard-working character players and some of them have offensive ability as well,” Parsons said.
He said Boeckh, who was brought in as a second or third-line winger, impressed the coaches with her contributions. The Gaels’ home opener is on Saturday at Jock Harty Arena against the Guelph Gryphons.

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