Slump continues on road trip

The women’s hockey team drops two straight to Western and Windsor, falling to fifth

The Gaels lost 2-1 in London on Sunday.
The Gaels lost 2-1 in London on Sunday.

Matthew Holmberg can’t figure it out.

The women’s hockey team suffered two road losses this weekend, falling 2-1 to the Western Mustangs on Saturday and 3-2 to the Windsor Lancers on Sunday. The Gaels have lost six of their eight games since the winter break.

“It’s hard to put my finger on it,” coach Holmberg said. “We’re battling to the end of the game ... and we’re getting lots of shots on net.

“That’s five games now where we’ve only lost by one goal.”

On Saturday, the Gaels outshot the Mustangs 34-32 and scored a power-play goal for the first time in four games, but they still came up short.

After the team fell behind in the second period, centre Morgan McHaffie tied the game with a power-play goal early in the third. But the Mustangs responded with a power-play goal of their own only two minutes later and held on for the 2-1 win. Goalie Mel Dodd-Moher made 30 saves in the loss.

Against the Lancers on Sunday, winger Alana Smith opened the scoring before winger Taryn Pilon scored what Holmberg said was “one of the best goals I’ve seen in six years.”

The Gaels led 2-1 at the start of the third period, but the Lancers equalized after two minutes and scored the winner with under four minutes remaining in the game. Goalie Karissa Savage made 29 saves in the loss.

The Gaels were successful on two of 14 power-play attempts over the weekend. Holmberg said it’s an improvement, but his team still wasted valuable scoring opportunities.

“In both games … we had a powerplay at the end of the game and we couldn’t make use of that opportunity either time.”

Winger Brittany McHaffie returned to the lineup after missing five games with a knee injury — but Holmberg said she isn’t fully recovered.

“I know she’s playing through some pain,” he said. “Hopefully, she’ll be ready to go again next weekend.”

The two losses bumped the Gaels to fifth in the OUA. With only four games remaining in the regular season, Holmberg said the team’s goal is to clinch a playoff spot.

The Gaels are back at home this weekend to take on the first-place Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks on Friday and the ninth-place Waterloo Warriors on Saturday. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. for both games.

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