Aeros soar over Gaels Sunday

Women’s hockey team gets shellacked in exhibition game

Queen’s forward Victoria Kaufman (27) attempts a pass in Sunday’s game.
Queen’s forward Victoria Kaufman (27) attempts a pass in Sunday’s game.

The women’s hockey team got off to a rough start Sunday, falling 7-1 to the Toronto Aeros of the Ontario Provincial Women’s Hockey League in an exhibition game at the Cataraqui Community Centre. Forward Victoria Kaufman said there were plenty of hopeful signs for the team, though.

“There’s a lot we need to work on, but I think there’s a lot of positives,” she said.

Kaufman said the team’s new focus on one-on-one defensive coverage was tough to adjust to.

“We used a new system today for the first time,” she said. “It’s completely different from anything we’ve done before.”

The team improved as the game went on, Kaufman said, attributing the slow start to a lack of practice time.

“It’s just getting comfortable playing with different people,” she said. “I think we’ve got a good group of girls all around, and everyone really wants it this year.”

Head coach Harold Parsons said he wasn’t concerned about the loss because the Gaels have only had a few practice sessions so far.

“We’ve taught them some new systems in a very short period of time,” he said. “We’ve really never even practiced them, due to the shortness of camp. … It’s pretty hard for them to start a game at this level after competing for four days, but we do it because we really want to try and get them going.”

The Aeros dominated the early going, sending a flurry of shots at Queen’s goalie Katie Boyd. She held them off the scoreboard until late in the period when Toronto forward Kelly Babstock broke through the Gaels’ defence and fired a wrist shot home.

In the second period, the floodgates opened. Toronto kept the offensive pressure on, adding four more goals before the buzzer. The Gaels created a few chances, including a two-on-one break by forwards Liz Kench and Kelsey Thomson, but they couldn’t find the back of the net. Queen’s got on the board in the third when Kaufman walked out of the corner and wired a wrist shot over the glove of Toronto goalie Katie Jamieson, but they then conceded two more goals for a final score of 7-1.

Parsons said he thought the team’s play in the third period was much better.

“I think we got more aggressive,” he said. “We showed that we are a confident team and a proud team and that we weren’t happy to be getting beat.”

Boyd was hurt in the second period and was helped off the ice, but Parsons said she should recover shortly.

“Katie tweaked her shoulder again,” he said. “She’s doing fine, and she’ll probably just be off for about a week or so.”

The Gaels have plenty of natural talent this year, Parsons said.

“The raw talent’s there, and I think we have the ability to be a very competitive team,” he said.

“We’re very optimistic.”

He said conditioning and intense training will be key for his players.

“We’re going to have a bit of a shorter bench this year, so we really want to make sure that we develop our individual girls,” he said.

Parsons said the team will need a good start to lay the foundation for a stretch run to the playoffs.

“Our team historically is a much better team in the second half,” he said. “If we’re close to the top at Christmas time, we could legitimately finish in first place in the OUA.”

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