Offence overpowers opposition in rout of York

Rookies shine in women’s hockey blowout

Netminder Caitlyn Lahonen made 23 saves on the way to her first shutout of the year.
Netminder Caitlyn Lahonen made 23 saves on the way to her first shutout of the year.
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The Gaels have outscored their opposition 16-2 in their first three games this season.
The Gaels have outscored their opposition 16-2 in their first three games this season.
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Women’s hockey continued their hot start to the year with a nearly perfect performance Friday afternoon.

The Gaels rolled over the visiting York Lions 5-0, for their second straight shutout performance. The five-goal performance meant Queen’s (3-0) has hit that number each game this year.

Head coach Matt Holmberg said as impressive as the offence has been early, his squad’s defensive play sticks out a little more.

“We’re getting balanced scoring up and down the lineup, which is nice,” Holmberg said. “Getting the offence is good, [but] for me the fact that we’ve only allowed two goals in three games is probably almost a better stat.”

The defensive strength became a factor against York (2-2), as smart play on the backend, a tenacious forecheck and solid play in goal from netminder Caitlyn Lahonen led the Gaels to the win.

Queen’s pressure kept the Lions pinned in their zone for the majority of the opening period. Regardless, the Gaels were unable to get on the scoreboard until late in the frame.

With the Gaels holding a five-on-three advantage, winger Taryn Pilon buried her league-leading fifth goal of the campaign to put Queen’s up 1-0.

Ninety-four seconds later, winger Addi Halladay took a pass from fellow rookie Amber Sealey along the blueline, firing home the one-timer to double the Gaels’ lead.

Holmberg was impressed by the play of the rookie pair, though he said it wasn’t unexpected.

“Amber was really solid on the point — she’s developing really quickly. Not too surprised given that she’s a very a similar players as her sister [teammate Alisha Sealey], so I think she’s playing great,” he said. “Addi, we knew coming in that she had a big shot and she certainly proved it today.”

The Gaels continued to take advantage of York’s undisciplined play, converting twice more on power play chances.

“An element of focus for us this year was special teams,” Holmberg said. “York is a physical [team] and this particular ref was calling it a bit tighter today, so that resulted in some power plays. I thought we moved it around pretty well and I’m glad we were able to capitalize.”

Defenceman Mary Coughlin and forwards Nadia Larocca and Clare McKellar added goals, while captain Shawna Griffin provided a pair of assists. Lahonen kept out everything that came her way, making 23 saves on the way to her first shutout of the year.

The game was played at the K-Rock Centre, with around 1,500 local schoolchildren attending the game. Coughlin said playing at a venue other than the Memorial Centre changed the way the Gaels played.

“It was nice to play on a pretty wide surface so the D were able to move it well,” Coughlin said. “We had lots of room up top, so that’s kind of where the goals came from. On the power play, they weren’t really pressuring us up top.”

The Gaels will put their undefeated streak on the line this weekend when they host the Toronto Varsity Blues (3-0) on Saturday and the Ryerson Rams (1-2) Sunday afternoon.

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