Badgers holding tight to playoff spot

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

The Brock women’s hockey team played two games this weekend with mixed results. They were strong against the University of Toronto, winning 4-2, but fell to Nipissing the next night by a score of 2-1.

The first game started strong for the Badgers. Annie Berg scored two goals, one after the other, in the first period. The second period had a slow start, but Kim Brown took a pass from Marissa Ryalls which ended up in the back of the net, putting the Badgers up 3-0 UofT rallied to score once before taking a penalty for cross checking, and a minute later, another penalty for tripping. Brock had a two man advantage which ultimately led Rebekah Feld to score the first goal of her OUA career. A late third period goal by UoT cut the Badgers lead in half, but Brock would go onto win 4-2.

“We were talking about it as a team. Corey [Williamson], our assistant coach and head scout was saying it felt like this was the first time our team believed that we could win,” said head coach Margot Page.

This game was a highlight of the Badgers’ season so far, Berg’s two goals have put her fourth in points amongst all OUA skaters, and Feld joined the many rookies who’ve scored their first goals in the past few months.

The following night Brock laced up to play Nipissing. However, it was a drastically different game for the Badgers. Brock had their chances early on but failed to make anything of them. Nipissing dominated scoring in the first as the Badgers scrambled to catch up. Lakers’ forward Jetta Derenoski scored two early on. The Badgers buckled down in the second to deny the Lakers another goal.

A glimmer of hope arrived early in the third  with an Amanda Ieradi goal, her first in nearly a month. As the seconds wound down, the Badgers pulled Jensen Murphy from the net. They were forced to send her back as Annie Berg took a penalty for boarding. In the end, the team just couldn’t generate the offense they needed to tie it up and fell to the Lakers 2-1.

The Badgers are still young and they’re still learning, but they’ve come farther since the beginning of the season than seems possible. At the beginning of the season it was noticeable, who the younger players were, you could see who was in their first year and who was more experienced without consulting the lineup. Now it’s harder to see. The rookies still make mistakes, but so do the seniors. The younger players are getting strong minutes, they’re getting time on special teams, and they’re contributing all over the ice.

Heading into the final two weekends of the season, the Badgers sit seventh in the OUA with 33 points. Only UOIT with 30 points and York with 22 points can catch the Badgers for a playoff spot, as Waterloo holds the eighth seed with 33 points as well. The door is wide open for the Badgers to potentially finish higher than seven, but it’ll be a close race.

They now travel this upcoming weekend to play Nipissing again and the Laurentian team on their heels. They’ll close the season at home against UOIT and a Queen’s team that the Badgers only trail in the standings by five points.

Last year was the first time the Badgers made the playoffs since the 2013/2014 season, but haven’t done so in back-to-back seasons since the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 season.

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