Stephanie Pascal leading the way

Women's hockey goaltender ready to bring Queen’s to OUA glory after stellar regular season

Stephanie Pascal has 13 wins this season.
Stephanie Pascal has 13 wins this season.
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This year, the women’s hockey team has been making a lot of noise in the OUA as the conference’s best team. Quietly behind all this success has been goaltender Stephanie Pascal.

After spending the 2015-16 season on the injured reserve with a concussion, Pascal’s journey to become one of the league’s top goaltenders has come with very few hiccups along the way.

In her first year back, Pascal finished the 2016-17 season third in the OUA in saves and wins — 538 and 13 respectively. With a full summer to prepare for this season, Pascal was excited to see where her game could go next. 

“If that was what I could accomplish without really playing over the summer, I was kind of curious to see how much better it could be if I spent the entire summer focusing on getting into shape,” Pascal said in an interview with The Journal.

For the goaltender, things have gotten a lot better.

With two games to go before the playoffs, Pascal owns an OUA third-best goals-against average at 1.31. Moreover, six of her 13 wins have been shutouts.

With the full summer to improve her fitness and no concussion to restrain her training, Pascal said her summer training has been a contributing factor to her recent success.

“It wasn’t like I was trying to catch up mid-season,” Pascal said, noting that the 2016-17 season was largely spent trying to feel confident and comfortable back in the net.

Although Pascal has had a successful two seasons, she knows her team still has room for improvement. Now in her fourth year at Queen’s, Pascal has yet to see her team get past the first round of the OUA playoffs. But after playing at the U Sports Championships last March and having first place in the OUA now within arm’s reach, Pascal has her sights set on making a deep postseason run.

“Hopefully we make [nationals],” Pascal said. “I think our team, as long as we’re giving it our all and everyone’s working as hard as they can, I think we’ll be pretty successful.”

At the same time, she understands wins are never guaranteed — even if the team has led the OUA for the majority of the season.

“It can be pretty intense,” Pascal said. “We’ve had a pretty successful year, but I think when playoffs come around, it doesn’t really matter how it went. Any team can beat any team.”

Pascal has also seen herself and the team find confidence from their run at nationals last season, which saw them finish in sixth.

“I think just being there was such a great experience,” Pascal said. “We saw nationals and how well the team could play. All the girls that were returning were like, ‘okay, we can do this.’”

Currently having won four of their last six games, Pascal and the Gaels are riding a wave of confidence with hopes of treading into the late stages of the OUA playoffs. And if the Gaels can be sure of one thing, it’s that Pascal will be there every step of the way.

 

 — With files from John O’Flaherty

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