Women’s hockey comes out of weekend with two wins

Gaels drop York and Brock, Arsenault posts consecutive shutouts

Women's hockey currently holds a 4-2 record, good for second in the OUA.
Women's hockey currently holds a 4-2 record, good for second in the OUA.

While most students spent their long weekend at home, the women’s hockey team (4-2) stayed in Kingston, picking up two wins against the York Lions (1-2) and Brock Badgers (2-1).

In their third straight weekend of back-to-back games, the Gaels beat York 1-0 on Friday in a “particularly sloppy” game, according to Head Coach Matt Holmberg.

We’re certainly happy with the overall results, but I didn’t think our execution with the puck was all that great,” Holmberg told The Journal. “When you don’t play your best you’ve just got to stick with it.”

From a statistical standpoint, the two teams were even throughout the game. York outshot Queen’s 21-19 by the end of the third period, and both teams went on the power play four times—all unsuccessful.

The only thing separating the teams was their position in the OUA. Queen’s is currently second in Ontario while York, though playing three games less than the Gaels, sits 11th.

To earn their second-place position, fourth-year Katrina Manoukarakis scored the game-winning goal midway through the first.

On Saturday, Queen’s put forward a more consistent effort against Brock, winning 3-0. Once again, Manoukarakis scored the game-winning goal midway through the first in a strong lone effort to bring the Gaels up by one. First-year Nicole Posesorski scored her first career goal for the Gaels in the second period, and later in the period, Manoukarakis netted her third goal in two games.

By the end of the game, Queen’s had peppered Brock with 38 shots while giving up just 21 of their own, which were all stopped by goaltender Makenzy Arsenault.

“I thought we had a much better overall game,” Holmberg said of his team’s play against Brock, crediting Arsenault for recording two consecutive shutouts over the weekend. “She’s been great. She’s making the most of this opportunity and is one of the big reasons for our success this weekend.”

With the pair of wins, Arsenault—who’s been the Gaels’ starting goaltender since fourth-year Stephanie Pascal’s preseason injury—put herself first overall in the OUA for saves (121), third for goals-against average (1.35), and a seventh-best .938 save percentage. However, eight of the OUA’s 13 starting goalies have played four games or less, meaning Arsenault has had to stop more shots than most in the season’s early days.

Despite a pair of wins—the first time they’ve done so in a weekend series this year—Holmberg described his team’s play over both games as inconsistent. He hopes the Gaels can find their stride as they move into their fourth week of the regular season.

Holmberg said the Gaels' difficulties in establishing a steady stream of performances is a symptom of his roster's youth, as well as injuries to some players. Queen’s currently has three rookie defencemen in their lineup and four players on the injured reserve.

“[Youth and injuries] just naturally sets you back from where you want to be,” Holmberg said. “There certainly have been flashes of consistency and the type of play we hope to achieve, and I think when we watch the games and look at the statistics, we’re trending in the right direction.”

This weekend, Queen’s will travel to UOIT Ridgebacks in Oshawa (2-3) for a game on Saturday. They’ll return to Kingston to host the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and Ryerson Rams the following weekend.

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