Brock Women’s hockey has been outstanding this season, with the team posting their best stats and records in years. Every player contributes in their own way and the team requires skill from end to end to be successful. However, when it comes to goaltending, the Brock Badgers have a decicive advantage over other teams.
Starting goaltender, Jensen Murphy, is only in her second year at Brock studying medical sciences. The netminder hails from Kingston, Ontario and started playing hockey when she was six years old. At a young age Murphy was an avid hockey fan and watched games with her father on a regular basis. Her father took her to her first NHL game to watch the Buffalo Sabres. The two sat close to the goalie, Dominik Hasek, and Murphy ignored the game and watched him all three periods. From this experience, Murphy’s love for the sport and the position grew.
“From the first time I got on the ice, I was a goalie,” Murphy said. “I chose it even though my mom said I shouldn’t be a goalie. She still finds it stressful watching me play net and she probably didn’t like that it is the most expensive position in sports.”
From then on, Murphy committed hours and hours of practice and play to hone her skill between the pipes. Standing at a height of 5’5”, Murphy’s style of play has to accommodate her smaller stature.
“Most goalies today are butterfly goalies. As a smaller goalie, I rely more on a reaction thing. I can’t put a name on my style but being smaller I have to move faster and be aware of what’s going on. I can’t hope the puck will just hit me, I have to work for every save. That’s not a bad thing, It’s something I like,” said Murphy.
She played for her high school, Holy Cross Catholic School where she won rookie of the year in grade nine and led her team to a silver medal at OFSAA in 2014. She also played in the PWHL for the Kingston Ice Wolfs where she experienced success. Her impressive play in net garnered attention from scouts looking to bring new talent to the OUA.
“I was scouted — the reason I picked Brock over the other options was I wanted somewhere I could be most academically successful and I felt really comfortable when I visited the campus.” Murphy said.
As soon as the Badgers acquired her, they utilized Murphy often in her rookie season. Out of 24 games in the 2015/2016 season she played 18 games, a statistic that Murphy says she was lucky to have. At the end of that season she was awarded rookie of the year for the women’s hockey team. This season, Murphy is proving to be an essential piece who clicks with the Badger defensive system. Resulting from the communication and efficiency she has with her defense, Murphy tops several statistics throughout the OUA. As of February 5, Murphy leads the league in saves (573) and games played (19), is fifth in save percentage (.942) and top ten with her goals against average (1.87 goals per game).
When asked to comment on these impressive stats Murphy said, “Honestly, I don’t focus on stats too much. It’s something you can’t worry about. It’s nice to have good stats but it’s not what I’m worried about. What I’m doing in the moment, in this game, on this shot, one thing at a time is what I focus on.”
Seven of the Badgers’ 12 wins have been within 2 goals. This shows two things: Murphy plays extremely well under pressure and she has been instrumental in the majority of Brock’s victories this season. Added on is the fact that Murphy has also kept her team in two overtime situations, both of which her team scored to take the victories.
“I do better under pressure, I find I’m able to use it and I see it as more of an opportunity than anything. When that happens in a game that’s when I’m having the most fun and playing my best, when the game is tight and I’m getting a lot of shots,” said Murphy.
On January 28, Murphy posted her first shutout of the season against the Ryerson Rams, turning away all 34 shots she faced. The Badgers took that game 1-0 and Murphy was subsequently named Badger of the week for her stellar performance. This past weekend, Murphy got her second shutout of the season against the York Lions.
Murphy has no problem mentally preparing for high pressure games.
“I just focus on the moment, something I do for most of my games is I break the game down into five minute chunks,” said Murphy. “I get through this five then I see how I’m doing, and assess like that every five minutes. I’m not worried about playoffs or getting the win, just this save at this time and that’s what I find works best for me.”
These two victories are assuredly helping her team move past their four game losing streak and push for a playoff spot.
In the last four games, the Badgers have come away with three wins and have only allowed four goals. Murphy attributes this success to her relationship with her defense.
“I find that my defense and team have good communication and they allow me to focus on the person with the puck,” Murphy said. “They take away people in front and move them for me which allows me to play better because I’m able to do my job and I can trust them to have the backdoor person or passing options. Trust is key.”
Her ultimate goal is to go to the U Sports Championship with the Brock Badgers. Until then Murphy and the rest of the Badgers hockey team play an integral role in the St. Catharines community as they are role models for aspiring female hockey players. Murphy and the badgers are closely affiliated with the Junior Badgers which is a league made up of several novice to midget all female teams. The badgers attend their practices and Junior Badger teams attend Badger games to support Murphy and her team.