Women’s hockey moves up

Gaels claim second straight victory with win over nationally ranked Gryphons Sunday at the Memorial Centre

Queen’s forward Becky Conroy battles Guelph’s Stephanie Dykes for the puck Sunday at the Memorial Centre. The Gaels beat the Gryphons 3-1 with goals from Kelsey Thomson
Queen’s forward Becky Conroy battles Guelph’s Stephanie Dykes for the puck Sunday at the Memorial Centre. The Gaels beat the Gryphons 3-1 with goals from Kelsey Thomson

The women’s hockey team’s 3-1 win over the number-five Guelph Gryphons Sunday—their second consecutive win—was the pinnacle of the season thus far, head coach Harold Parsons said.

“I thought that was our best game all season,” he said. “We really started well in the first period, and came out of it 0-0, even though it could have been two- or three-nothing. Second period I felt we dropped off a little bit and managed to keep the scores at zero. Then in the third period I thought we really picked it up. By far our best 60 minutes of hockey this year.”

With the win, the Gaels improve to 11-9-1 on the year and leapfrog the Brock Badgers to take fifth place in the OUA, giving them a comfortable league position heading into the final stretch before the playoffs.

The Tricolour had an impressive outing against the Gryphons, outshooting them 31-27 and taking 17 shots in the third period alone. All the scoring came in the third, where Queen’s captain Cassie Sparks opened the game’s scoring with a power-play goal, Thomson gave the Gaels the lead again after Guelph responded, and Amanda Morra iced the game with a late power-play goal on an empty Guelph net.

Thomson said the victory was crucial for the Gaels’ momentum.

“It’s what we needed,” she said. “We wanted to start a winning streak right before playoffs and we wanted to peak now. It’s a big win for our team.”

Guelph’s only goal of the game was the result of a sloppy line change from the Gaels. Thomson said the team is focused on improving that aspect of their game.

“Harold has been emphasizing line changes a lot lately,” she said. “We got caught off a bad line change and they scored against us, so I’m sure we’ll be concentrating on that again.”

Coming into the season, the offensive production from the line consisting of Thomson, Becky Conroy and Elizabeth Kench received a lot of attention, but for this game, Parsons elected to break up that line, moving Thomson onto a line with Sparks and Victoria Kaufmann.

“We mixed up the lines today, which was nice,” Sparks said. “Sometimes when you switch it up you have more motivation to play well. Definitely on the power play we came out flying and we were going back to being simple.”

Sparks said the Gaels still need to work on the technical side of their transition play, though.

“I still think we still need to do a better job in our zone,” she said. “We’re constantly trying to go up the boards. I think teams know that about us and they’re clogging up the boards. I think we need to look at our other options and move the puck up the middle sometimes.”

The Gaels host the 14-7-1 University of Toronto Varsity Blues in a two-game series this weekend. The teams will play at the Memorial Centre at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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