The Brock Women’s hockey team returned to OUA action this past Saturday January 7 against the Laurier Golden Hawks. Up until the holiday break the team had won five of their last six games and was looking like a formidable force within the OUA. At that point the team had an 5-3-4-1 record, several lines were clicking in the offensive zone and supported a goalie with a 2.01 goals against average and a .938 save percent in her 11 games played. In their last six games the Badgers outscored their opponents 55 to 9. With a swelling momentum behind them, the 2016 season came to a conclusion and the team was off for a lengthy break.
Getting back into the season, the Badgers travelled to Laurier for their away game against the Golden Hawks, a team who had yet to win a game in regulation in their season. The Badgers and Golden Hawks met recently on November 26 in St. Catharines. In that matchup the Badgers had won quite handedly with a final score of 4-1. Despite the momentum on the side of the Badgers as well as the favorable matchup, the Golden Hawks came away with a 3-1 victory. One major change to the Brock lineup was the separation of Cara Sayles from her typical and extremely productive line with Christina Ieradi and Annie Berg.
“The goal for that was to balance out the lines and hopefully get other opportunities on other lines as well,” said Ieradi.
Brock began their game in typical fashion taking the lead early and capitalizing on a power play situation. Midway through the first period Isabella Triolo was fed by Brenna Murphy and Kimberly Brown for her first goal of the season putting the Badgers up 1-0. Laurier would answer back with a goal of their own with five minutes left to go in the first period from Emily Woodhouse. The second period saw some back and forth action, however, the Badgers struggled to find their scoring touch and would be shut out for the period. On the other end of the ice, when the Badgers took a penalty, Golden Hawks’ Madison MacCulloch put one past Brock goaltender Jensen Murphy for a power play marker and the go ahead goal. In the third period the Badgers continued to get shots on net but still couldn’t answer with a goal to equalize. Laurier goaltender Amanda Smith turned away 15 shots in the final period. When the Badgers became desperate in the dying minutes of the game and pulled Murphy for the extra attacker, the Golden Hawks responded with an empty net goal by Aynsley Harrison. The insurance goal put the game to 3-1 for Laurier giving them the victory. The Badgers offensive drought could be explained by a combination of the holiday break killing their momentum or the separation of Sayles from her former line.
“It did seem like a decent strategy but the lines weren’t clicking at all and mid third period Berg, Sayles and I got put back together and you can definitely tell the change of momentum,” said Ieradi. “We didn’t have enough time to pop in a goal to tie up the game but I’m remaining positive in the future that the coaches will continue to do what’s best for our teams success.”
This loss pushes the Badgers into the middle of the pack in the OUA in seventh place with a 8-6 record and 22 points overall.
The Badgers host the Toronto Varsity Blues on January 13 at the Hannah-Seymour Centre. The Varsity Blues are currently in fifth place in the OUA and won four of their last five games.