Women’s hockey earns split on opening weekend

WHockey

On the day they celebrated 20 years of women’s hockey at Brock University, the Badgers couldn’t find the back of the net against Queen’s, falling 2-0.

Junior goaltender Jensen Murphy came up with a huge save off a 2-on-1 rush midway through the first period to keep Queen’s off the board. Brock turned the momentum around after Murphy’s save, and had two great chances at the other end, though the Badgers couldn’t capitalize off a rebound from Queen’s goaltender Stephanie Pascal.

The Badgers struggled to generate any offense, being outshot by Queen’s 37 to 22 on the game. Head coach Margot Page said she would have liked to have seen the Badgers play with more poise and confidence with the puck, rather than just throwing it somewhere.

“We were a lot smaller than them, and you have to be able to sacrifice and expect a body on you pretty hard. You’re going to get bullied in front of the net, but you have to stand strong, and we really didn’t. We played on the outside and shot some pucks but nothing on the inside,” Coach Page said of her team’s performance offensively on Saturday.

Brock and Queen’s were locked at seven shots a piece after the first period, however, Queen’s came out for the second period with an extra jump in their stride, getting a solid opportunity in the high slot, but Murphy came up with another huge save.

The Badger forwards had a lot of rushes into the Queen’s end during the second period, buteither missed the net or couldn’t get pucks through to Pascal.

Brock’s Kat Whiteye took a slashing penalty with just over ten minutes to go in the second, but the penalty kill for the Badgers stood strong, only allowing Queen’s to stay in the zone for under half of the power play. The Badgers penalty kill was put to the test again less than five minutes into the third period. Again, Brock and Murphy shut the door on the Gaels to keep them off the board.

“We’ve been really successful with our penalty kill, we take a lot of pride in that, but what’s really good about it is our kids dialled into it, it’s a system of heart and head, you’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to play smart,” Coach Page said of her team’s short-handed play, “But it doesn’t win you a hockey game.”

Queen’s found the back of the net with 12:48 remaining in the third period, and beat Murphy again just 38 seconds later to make it a 2-0 game. Coach Page took a timeout immediately following the second goal, but the Badgers couldn’t get on the board despite pulling Murphy with 3:40 left in the game in attempt to pull within one.

When asked what the Badgers needed to improve on for their game against UOIT, Page noted the tempo for her team.

“We didn’t really play at the speed we wanted to consistently through three periods. Each period was like a different game being played. We want to get our speed back and let the puck do some moving and have a bit more confidence, it’s so early in the season, it just gives us an idea of where we’re at. We’re ready to bounce back.”

Bounce back may be an understatement as the Badgers topped UOIT 5-1 on Sunday with goals coming from Christina Ieradi (two), Amanda Ieradi, and Hunter Accursi (two). Annie Berg had two helpers and Christina Ieradi added a helper on Brock’s third goal for a three-point total against the Ridgebacks. Jensen Murphy stood strong again, with 32 saves on the day for a weekend total of 67 saves on 70 shots.

The Badgers go on the road for the next two weeks. They travel to Western on Friday night and Windsor on Saturday night this week, and travel to Toronto next weekend to face Ryerson and Toronto before returning home on November 11th against Nippissing.

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