Statement weekend for women’s hockey

Queen’s defeats Guelph and York in perfect weekend at home

Queen's goalie Makenzy Arsenault made 26 saves against York.
Queen's goalie Makenzy Arsenault made 26 saves against York. 
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It couldn’t have been a better home opening weekend for the women’s hockey team.

With matchups against the nationally seventh-ranked Guelph Gryphons and the York Lions, Queen’s looked to continue their undefeated start to the season. After beating the Gryphons 3-1 on Saturday and the Lions 4-1 on Sunday, women’s hockey coach Matt Holmberg said the team had a great weekend.

“Any time you can get six points out of six is huge and with the parity in our league, that’s really important for us,” he said.

With 29 saves, goaltender Stephanie Pascal played a major role in upsetting the nationally ranked Gryphons. Queen’s was able to take a 2-0 lead into the second period thanks to goals from Katrina Manoukarakis and Michela Smith.

After only needing to make four saves in the first period, the Gryphons went on the offensive in the second and third period, registering 26 shots. Although Guelph was able to cut their deficit in half with a goal in the second period, Addi Halladay scored an empty-net goal in the third period, securing the win for Queen’s.

Despite being winless on the season, York was a handful for the Gaels on Sunday as well. After a scoreless first period, Halladay picked up from where she left off on Saturday, snipping a shot through the five-hole of the York goaltender on a Gaels power play to take a 1-0 lead.

Forward Bryce Desa scored off a cross-ice pass from Taylor Hicks just two minutes later, increasing the Gaels lead to 2-0. Even though York was able to raise their intensity following Hick’s goal, they were unable to gain momentum. With five penalties on the day, Queen’s was able to capitalize on their opponents mistakes, going 2-5 on the power play against York.

“One of the three keys to success today was to win the special teams game. Unfortunately we gave up one but scored two of our own so we won that,” Holmberg said. “Last year, our power play was not very successful at all and we definitely targeted that as one of our keys for this year to ramp that up.”

With the two wins, the Gaels currently sit atop the OUA standings with 13 points and a perfect 4-0 record.

Even though the Gaels might find their way into the U Sports top 10 because of their undefeated record and win against a nationally ranked opponent, Holmberg said the Gaels are focused on something much bigger.

“The national rankings are what they are — they’re a bit subjective and we don’t make it a part of our goals or strategy,” Holmberg said.

The Gaels now set their sights on the tenth ranked Nipissing Lakers, who will be travelling into Kingston on Saturday night to take on the Gaels.

“That’s going to be another test. Certainly we have good reason to go into that game with confidence, but I think that will be tempered with the fact that we know it’s going to take a great effort to be successful against them,” Holmberg said.

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