By: John Mignelli- Assistant Sports Editor
It was a forgettable weekend for the Brock Badgers women’s hockey team (1-9-1 OUA), who dropped both games of a home back-to-back, including an overtime loss to the Windsor Lancers (5-5-1 OUA) on November 8 and a loss to the Western Mustangs (7-3-0 OUA) on November 9.
This weekend was the conclusion of a four game home stand for the Badger women, who do not play again at the Seymour Hannah Centre until Jan. 9 against Laurier. The team will play on the road against Guelph before rematches with both Windsor and then Western in the meantime.
In the game against Windsor, things were tight, and despite another two-goal performance by Laura Neu (Ayr, Ont.), Brock eventually lost in overtime.
Neu scored the opening goal (her fourth score of the season) on a power play assisted by Ally Graham (Thamesford, Ont.).
Entering the second period with a lead, Brock dug themselves a hole by taking a minor penalty and two double-minor penalties, after Windsor’s Erinn Noseworthy (Appin, Ont.) tied the game. The collection of penalty minutes in the second period culminated in power-play goals by Candice Chevalier (Essex, Ont.) and Jenny MacKnight (Regina, Ont.), giving the Lancers a 3-1 lead over Brock.
Although Windsor scored three times, the second frame was not a complete failure for the Badgers, as Neu added her second goal off of an assist by Katie Howlett (Burlington, Ont.).
Down one goal in the third, alternate captain Jessica Fickel (Fort Erie, Ont.) tied the game a little over seven minutes in. Captain Leigh Vanderveen (NOTL, Ont.) and other alternate captain Brianne Veale (Sault Ste Marie, Ont.) registered assists on the goal.
A boarding penalty taken by Neu at 19:46 in the third meant the Lancers would start overtime with a power play and it took just 13 seconds for MacKnight to score the game-winning-goal, adding to her OUA leading 16 points in 11 games.
No doubt a heartbreaking loss, the Badgers looked to bounce back a day later against Western. Unfortunately, this game was not as close as the previous one was and Brock ultimately lost 5-1.
Carly Rolph (Guelph, Ont.) and Casey Rosen (Toronto, Ont.) each scored two goals for the Mustangs, while Michelle Saunders (Oakville, Ont.) and Marlowe Pecora (Sarnia, Ont.) also had multi-point nights with two assists each. However, goaltender Olivia Ross (Huntsville, Ont.) was the best Mustang, coming painstakingly close to recording a shutout, which would have capped off a stellar performance nonetheless.
Brock did not play particularly well defensively throughout the game and almost every one of Western’s goals were scored by counterattacking after Brock turnovers in either the neutral zone or their own defensive zone.
The Badgers’ breakout was often mistimed and intercepted passes led to many Mustang rushes. Brock goaltender Jenna Sosnoski (New Dundee, Ont.), despite allowing five goals, actually played far better than the scoreboard suggested and Western easily could have scored more had Sosnoski not been playing the way she did.
12 penalty minutes against Western were not enough to get Brock back into the game, even though their power-play was threatening at times. Unluckily, Ross made many great saves to keep her team’s lead unchanged.
Brittany Gillmor (St George Brant, Ont.) scored the consolation goal for the home team with just over one minute left in the game. Forwards Victoria Chapman (Belleville, Ont.) and Melissa Hurrell (Caledon, Ont.) assisted the late goal. Gillmor played a solid offensive game, tantalizingly deking Western defenders in the offensive zone but it was too late for when she finally broke Ross’s shutout by popping in a loose puck in front of goal. Rosen’s first goal was the game-winner.
After the game, coach Jim Denham spoke with an optimistic tone while addressing the team’s issues.
“We need to get better defensively. We need to take some responsibility in our own end and we need to make sure we’re a little stronger in front of the net… when we do get the puck in our end we’ve got to make smart plays to get it out,” added Denham.
When asked what the team will work on before their three upcoming road games, he said, “We have four practices this week before we go to Guelph and our main focus will be defensive zone coverage.”
Guelph will host the Badger women on Nov. 16, in the first of three chances for Brock to improve their record away from home.