High-intensity win

Win moves team into tie for first place

Amber Sealey (#9) registered one assist in the Gaels 5-1 thrashing of UOIT.
Amber Sealey (#9) registered one assist in the Gaels 5-1 thrashing of UOIT.

After a weekend off, women’s hockey returned to victory. With a 5-1 road win over UOIT on Saturday. The success places the Gaels’ record at 7-1-1, tying them for first in the OUA standings.

“It was probably our most complete 60 minutes of the year so far,” head coach Matt Holmberg said. “We’ve played some good games and came close, but right from the first puck drop to the last whistle we played with a slightly higher intensity, another level of passion and we were able to maintain that throughout the 60 minutes.”

Katrina Manoukarakis scored a pair of goals to lead Queen’s, while Michele Knecht, Kyla Crouse and Nadia Larocca registered the other markers in the win.

Queen’s scored the game’s first four goals, which Holmberg attributed to solid two-way play.

“We’ve been strong defensively all year long,” he said. “That’s been great, and we don’t want to lose sight of that. But in the last couple of weeks, we’ve deliberately practiced more offensive plays, getting the puck to the net with more urgency, more purpose.” 

The season’s scheduling has been  unusual to say the least, as the Gaels played this lone game in the stretch from Nov. 2 to 19. Holmberg said this break may have contributed to his team’s ability to put in one of their strongest efforts of the season.  

“We hope that we’re in physical condition that we can play two games in a high tempo every weekend,” he said. “But knowing that it was our only game of the weekend, I’m sure it allowed us to empty the tanks.” 

At the OUA level, women’s hockey had a new system implemented this season that awards three points for a regulation victory and two for an overtime win, compared to the traditional two points for a win regardless of when it occurs. Holmberg says the new system has pushed his team to look to take over games earlier, rather than looking to force an extra period. 

“It puts a premium on winning in the first 60 minutes as opposed to hanging on for overtime,” Holmberg said. “So far, I’m a fan.”

This weekend, Queen’s returns home for a pair of match-ups against the Windsor Lancers and Western Mustangs.

“If we can come out with six points we’ll be thrilled,” Holmberg said. “Windsor’s not having the season they’d like, but on paper they’ve got a fair amount of firepower.” 

Holmberg also didn’t downplay the stature of Western. 

“There’s a huge rivalry there. They’re the defending CIS champions. We’ll be looking to get pucks to the net and bury those chances when we get them.”

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