Badgers top Ridgebacks, lose 14th straight to Queen’s

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

Photo Credit: Mackenzie Gerry

The Badgers women’s hockey team found a way to get back on the right side of the score sheet against Ontario Tech. However, the Badgers were stopped in their tracks after being shut out by Queen’s on Saturday       .

The first was in Oshawa against the 1-9 Ontario Tech Ridgebacks.

Brock took the game against the Ridgebacks 2-1. Hunter Accursi’s strong wrist shot put the Badgers on the board in the second after the first went without a goal for either side. Cassidy Maplethorpe followed suit with a goal of her own, taking the puck end to end, outskating the Ridgebacks to beat their goaltender with a well placed shot that put the Badgers up 2-0 going into the third.

The Badgers made a familiar mistake in the third, allowing the opposing team to score in the dying minutes of the game. Goaltender Jensen Murphy’s shutout was spoiled by Ontario Tech defender Jillian Banks with just over two minutes left in the game. In the end it didn’t matter as the Badgers earned their first win after a three game dry spell but their tendency to ease off the pressure in the third is something that may end up costing them down the line.

It was a low shooting game as well as a fairly low scoring game with neither team taking more than 30 shots. The Badgers took 26 and the Ridgebacks, 27.

It was a very different story the next night. The Badgers traveled to Kingston to face the Queen’s Gaels. The teams have played each other 13 times since the 2014-15 season; the Badgers have not taken a single game. Most recently the Gaels met the Badgers at home, winning 4-3 in overtime. It was the closest the Badgers have come to toppling the Gaels in recent memory.

It’s no secret that the Badgers rely on starting goaltender Jensen Murphy to steal games for them but this game was particularly telling in that regard. Murphy has a .932 save percentage, having stopped 219 goals over the course of eight games. Murphy faced a jaw dropping 41 shots against the Golden Gaels.

The game was a loss for the entire team, but Murphy stopped 39 of 41 shots, good enough for a .951. Murphy has yet to record a shut-out in the regular season.

The Golden Gaels were able to rely on their backup, Kathryn Jalink who has a .936 over two games, giving their starter, Makenzy Arsenault, a rest after her uncharacteristic .895 start to the season.

The first Gaels goal came on a power play. Murphy is an integral part of the Badgers penalty kill but there’s only so much she can be expected to stop. The Gaels sent a barrage of shots her way. Murphy stopped the initial shot and the rebound but Alex Maw from the Gaels managed to squeeze the puck over the line to put the Badgers down a goal.

They played a scoreless second only for the Gaels to score three minutes into the third. Maplethorpe had a brilliant chance to tie the game just moments before but found herself unable to bury.

It’s near impossible to score on Murphy unless she’s lured out of position and that’s exactly what the Gaels did to score the game winner. Scout Watkins Southward took a shot that rebounded onto the stick of Hannah De Coutere who was patiently waiting on the wing.

Murphy readjusted, diving to get back into position but De Coutere was too fast on the release, firing a shot above an over-extended Murphy.

The Badgers had a few other opportunities but the Gaels locked in defensively to take the win.

The Badgers will have a chance to prove that they’ve gotten themselves back on track on Thursday when they play the Waterloo Warriors at the Seymour-Hannah Centre, before facing the Guelph Gryphons in their first meeting since the Gryphons ended their playoff run last February.

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