After returning home following a four game road trip, the Badgers could not capitalize on home ice advantage, falling to the Nipissing Lakers by a score of 4-0 on Saturday.
Heading into the matchup, the Badgers found themselves near the top of the OUA standings with a 4-1-1 record so far this season. The Lakers were near the bottom with a 2-2-1 record.
Brock was looking to find their scoring touch back after scoring two goals last weekend in their games against Ryerson and the University of Toronto.
Both teams got off to slow starts, with a feeling that neither wanted to make the first mistake. As a result, neither managed to generate any offense, let alone scoring chances. An uneventful first period ended with the score tied at 0-0, while Nipissing held the edge in shots 8-6.
It took until 8:58 into the second period before the deadlock was broken, after Nipissing forward Brooklyn Irwin slid the puck past Jensen Murphy on a rebound. The Badgers tried to get even, but could not find a way to generate any sustained pressure in the attacking end. When asked what the Lakers did well to limit the amount of chances the Badgers had, head coach Margot Page noted how quickly Nipissing closed in on the Brock forwards.
“They used their speed defensively against us and put pressure on us right away,” said Page.
That speed in the defensive end carried into other aspects of their game as well. Just over a minute into the third period, the Lakers used that speed on the forecheck, forcing a turnover which lead to a breakaway for Samantha Strassburger who capitalized on the opportunity to double the Nipissing lead to 2-0. The game opened up after this, evident by the shot totals in the period, with the edge going to Nipissing once again 17-13.
Despite more offensive play in the period, it was the Lakers who were able to pull away late. Robyn Degagne capitalized on the Lakers’ only powerplay opportunity of the day, managing to get a shot past Murphy from a bad angle, pushing the score to 3-0. Just 1:29 later, Marilyn Fortin added the fourth and final goal for the Lakers, ending Murphy’s game. She finished with four goals against, while also stopping 30 shots in the loss. Julia Pettella played the final 5:09 of the game, stopping all four shots she faced in that time.
While the result was not what the Badgers were hoping for, there were still some positives that can be taken from the game.
“Anytime you play a game you can learn,” said Page. “Some players played a very disciplined game and executed everything we asked.”
When asked what changes she was looking to make before their second game of the weekend, this time facing Laurentian, Page said the plan remains the same.
“Not a lot of changes need to be made. We still need to have better defensive play in all zones of the ice and work on getting shots through to the net.”
Whatever Page told her team heading into Sunday’s matchup worked. The Badgers came away with a 3-1 win against Laurentian to get back on track. While Brock struggled to get shots on net, finishing the game with just 22, they made them count, scoring three times. The Badgers built their lead on goals from Maggie Spratt-Mallick and Amanda Ieradi — before Annie Sheridan of Laurentian cut the lead to just one goal. Then with just over a minute left, Hunter Accursi found the empty net to secure the win for Brock. After allowing four goals on Saturday, Jensen Murphy rebounded quickly with a 35 save performance.
“Incredibly important,” is what Page had to say about the performance of her goaltender this season.
Next up, the Badgers look to build on momentum from their win from Sunday as they play host to Guelph and Windsor November 18 and 19.