Gaels respond without trash talk

Women’s hockey takes two points from London after Homecoming showdown

Western’s women’s hockey team may have the edge in video production, but the Gaels prefer to do their talking on the ice. Back in May, the Mustangs posted a video to YouTube promoting Saturday’s home opener against Queen’s and promising “never to be outhustled,” to choose “grit over flash” and “substance over style” and to “work and sweat and suffer so that come game time, my team can shine.”

In Saturday night’s season opener, though, the Mustangs may have done the sweating and suffering, but it was the Gaels who shone, picking up a 4-0 win before a raucous Homecoming crowd in London.

Netminder Melissa John made 29 saves for the Gaels Saturday night. She said the team was thrilled with the victory on several levels.

“It was great to beat them after they posted something like that, but it was also great to beat them on their Homecoming,” she said, adding that the Gaels weren’t intimidated by the video or the trash talk.

“We thought it was more of a joke,” she said. “It was nothing anyone took to heart.”

John said she was happy to get a shutout in her first start, and didn’t mind facing a lot of shots.

“It felt like I was picking up where we left off from last year,” she said. “I feel like the more shots I have, the better I see [the puck] and the better I end up playing.”

On Sunday, the Gaels lost a close, 5-3 game to the Windsor Lancers. John made 33 saves but allowed four goals; the fifth was into an empty net after head coach Harold Parsons pulled her for an extra attacker. She said her team played well, though, and the main difference in the scorelines was the quality of the opposition.

“Windsor is definitely a much stronger team,” she said.

“We had a great weekend from a team point of view,” she said. “The team was strong both games. We were a little disappointed we couldn’t come away with two wins.”

Head coach Harold Parsons said he was pleased with the team’s play in the opening match.

“We felt confident, and the players really stepped up. … For probably the last three or four years, we’ve started a bit slow, so we were happy with that game.”

He said he was hoping for a better result on Sunday, though.

“We weren’t happy overall with the weekend, not finishing it with Windsor,” he said. “When you win your first game of a weekend, you expect to win both.”

Parsons said fatigue might have played a role in Sunday’s loss.

“That’s our longest trip of the year, so to do that on the first week of the season, that’s tough,” he said. “We left after [Saturday’s] game, went to Windsor that night, so there was a little bit of fatigue, I think, whether physical or mental, in Sunday’s game.”

The Gaels’ next games are on the road Oct. 18 and 19 against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and the York Lions.

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