Women’s hockey is imperfect, undisciplined, and fun to watch

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The Brock women’s hockey team is young and lacks discipline. They’re sloppy and aggressive. They lose games that they could have easily won, they win games that they probably should have lost. You never know exactly what they’re going to do when they step onto the ice. They’re unpredictable, and deeply frustrating, but this is what makes them so much fun to watch.

The Badgers played two games this past weekend, with the first coming against Laurentian. There wasn’t much to see for a period and a half of this game. Neither team could apply the pressure necessary to score the first goal.

The first and second goals of the game came in the back half of the second period, both of them from Laurentian. The game was far from over but Brock would have to fight to stay in it.

The Badgers moved into the third nervously. They relied heavily on veteran goaltender, Jensen Murphy to keep pucks out of their net. It was starting to look bleak as the seconds ticked away. With just under eight minutes left, Annie Berg took the puck through the neutral zone, past Laurentian’s forwards, through the legs of their defensemen and fired a shot into the back of the net. The Badgers were back and they wanted more.  It was a 2-1 game, they had seven minutes left, and winning suddenly seemed achievable. Two minutes remained and they decided to pull Murphy from the net. Murphy was barely off the ice when Annie Berg passed to Cassidy Maplethorpe giving the Badgers the game tying goal.

The Badgers would ultimately take the game to a shootout where goals from Maplethorpe and Maggie Spratt-Mallick would earn them the win.

By all accounts, the Badgers should have won their next game too. They were playing the last place team, Windsor, and were still riding the momentum of Friday night’s win. The first five minutes of this game saw the same kind of electric energy as the last five minutes of the previous night, but after that it seemed to fizzle out. A goal from Maggie Spratt-Mallick early in the second brought the Badgers back, but only momentarily. Windsor scored six minutes into the third and the rest of the period would go scoreless, bringing the Badgers to three on three overtime.

Emma Balazsi who started the game in net was bested by a determined Windsor team 43 seconds into overtime. This was Balazsi’s first game in the OUA regular season.

“She did really well. Really proud of her, I wish our team would have played a little bit better in front of her but she made some really good saves,” said head coach Margot Page.

The two games had few similarities and saw differences in pace and energy, but the one thing they did have in common, was penalties. In the game against Laurentian, Brock took four two minute minor penalties and in the game against Windsor they took three minors and one four minute double minor. The Badgers spent a combined 18 minutes on the penalty kill.

“This team is physical, and agressive, I don’t mind three or four penalties in a game, I think because of the way we play, I don’t mind it, but some of the penalties were undisciplined,” said Page.

Page pointed to an instance in the second where the Badgers had drawn a penalty, resulting in a four minute power play, but were given a four minute penalty for a similar infraction just seconds later, denying them of the opportunity to showcase their power play.

“You wanna keep the edge where you can play an aggressive game, and a physical game, and an assertive game but without taking those sloppy penalties and that’s something we’ll hopefully learn in the future, but if not, our [penalty] kill’s pretty good,” the coach said

The Badger’s penalty kill is currently at 96 per cent, which would explain why taking less penalties isn’t exactly their most pressing concern.

The team is set to take on the Western Mustangs next Saturday at 2:15 p.m. The Mustangs are near the top of the standings but Page thinks that her team has what it takes to beat them.

“You can win any time, Western is a top level team, so unless we bring our A-game it could be a very very long game, but I think we compete very well. It’s just a matter of what kind of team shows up.”

 

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