Women’s hockey eye spot in national rankings

WomensHockey5_Sam

With wins over the Guelph Gryphons and Windsor Lancers, Brock remains in second place in the OUA with 20 points.

On Saturday, the Badgers were host to the Gryphons, who entered the game ranked seventh nationally. Last season, Guelph was the winner of the Judy McCaw Memorial Cup, the trophy awarded to the winner of the OUA Conference. For Brock, this was a chance to show that they are not just a fluke, but actually one of the top hockey teams in the province.

Both teams got off to a fast start, but it was the Badgers who were generating the majority of the scoring chances. The best opportunity came with just under four minutes left in the first period, when Kimberly Brown saw her shot ring off the post on a three-on-one opportunity. On the other end of the ice, Jensen Murphy was solid once again, stopping all 10 shots against her in the period. While neither team was able to get on the board, it was the Badgers who had the momentum through the first period.

Unfortunately for the Badgers, that momentum did not carry over into the second period. It was Guelph who carried the play right from puck drop. Despite their efforts early on, they were unable to find a way to score. When Brock managed to get the puck on their stick, they were unable to get it out of their own zone. Guelph kept the puck deep in the Badgers end. With much of the play happening in their defensive end, Brock failed to generate much offense at all in the period, recording just five shots on net. After Brenna Murphy was called for a body checking penalty with just eleven seconds left, it was Jensen Murphy who was able to bail out her captain, making a sprawling save to keep the puck out with just under four seconds left on the clock. While Brock was able to keep the Gryphons from scoring, head coach Margot Page said that the defensive game was responsible for their lack of offense.

“We’re in our zone a lot, and we don’t have the puck a lot. When we play better defensively we actually end up playing better offensively,” said Page. “We get tired as soon as we get the puck, we get into their zone and we’re tired and we have to change. If we clean that up and work on that, it’ll help us offensively.”

The Badgers started the third period shorthanded, but as was the case all season long, the penalty kill was strong again, finishing the day four-for-four. Not long after the Badgers returned to even strength, they managed to score the first and only goal of the game. After Annie Berg carried the puck into the attacking zone, she bounced it off of the end boards and to the front of the net, where Kiana Tobia was in the right place at the right time and was able to chip it past Gryphons goalie Valerie Lamenta. The Gryphons were pushing for the equalizer when Carley Blomberg was called for a penalty with 2:23 left in the period, forcing the Badgers to go on the penalty kill once again. The Badgers defence were able to keep the Gryphons off the scoreboard in a 1-0 victory.

“Today we played a great first, a terrible second, and an okay third, but we really had to gut out that third period and block shots and play kind of scrappy to win,” said Page

With the win, Jensen Murphy recorded her second shutout of the season, once again proving her case as one of the best goalies in the province. As far as her importance to the team, Page acknowledged how the goaltenders play has been seen in improvements in other aspects of the game.

“Obviously a great goaltender helps, she played outstanding once again. Our penalty kill is one of the top in the league, and part of that is because of [Murphy].”

The Badgers were on home ice again on Sunday, this time playing the Windsor Lancers who entered the weekend with a 0-1-6-1 record and were in last place in the standings. Despite the difference in standings at this point in the season, the Badgers needed a shootout to finally get the 2-1 win. The Badgers got on the board with a first period goal when Kat Whiteye found the back on the net with an assist from Kimberly Brown. Windsor answered back around the halfway point of the third period when Danielle Butler scored for the Lancers on an assist from Kennedy Snively. After neither team was able to score in overtime, it took eight rounds of a shootout to decide a winner, when once again Whiteye proved to be the difference. Jensen Murphy had another strong performance, stopping 33 of 34 shots, along with six more saves in the shootout.

The Badgers are now at 20 points on the season with a 5-2-2-1 record, sitting behind only Queen’s in the standings. The Badgers next game is on November 23 at Laurier, followed by another away game at Waterloo on November 25.

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