If anything was shown this week in OUA women’s hockey, it is that you have to expect the unexpected. Every team has to be taken seriously, as all 13 teams have proven that they can win. The top five in the OUA standings were shaken up over the last few days as the Queen’s Gaels and U of T Varsity Blues continue to strive while the Waterloo Warriors dropped their lone game of the week to the worst team in the league—their cross town rivals—the Laurier Golden Hawks.
Queen’s Gaels vs. UOIT Ridgebacks
The Ridgebacks are fighting for their playoff life as every game from here on out is a crucial one. The Queen’s Gaels on the other hand were looking to make it seven wins in a row, as they have leaped out of the gates to start 2017. UOIT took a 1-0 lead into the third period before a goal from Kyla Crouse (Mount Brydges, ON) tied things up and sent the game to overtime. It only took 12 seconds of the extra frame before Nadia Larocca (Mississauga, ON) scored on a wrap-around to extend the Gaels win streak to seven. Stephanie Pascal (Sudbury, ON) made 30 saves on route to her tenth win of the year.
Toronto Varsity Blues vs. Nipissing Lakers
Toronto is one of just three teams that have yet to lose in 2017 as they carried a four game win streak into a tilt with the second place Nipissing Lakers, who have been inconsistent to start the second half. The Lakers were able to get off to a quick start, taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, however, the Varsity Blues were able to silence the Lakers in the final 40 minutes, adding two goals from their captain Kristi Riseley (Pickering, ON) and Taylor Day (Ilderton, ON) as well as a 25-save performance from fourth year Katey Teekasingh (Toronto, ON). Nipissing is now 3-3 to start 2017, and has a bye week ahead which possibly comes at a perfect time to allow them to regroup as playoff season lingers.
PLUS / MINUS
Western Mustangs and Windsor Lancers – PLUS
The Western Mustangs entered the weekend on a three-game losing streak. In order to remain in the top eight, a two-game weekend with games against Brock and York was set to be crucial. As they usually do, the Mustangs proved that they belong in the playoff picture, picking up two wins while scoring eight goals on the weekend. Western was able to spread the wealth a bit, as all eight goals were scored by a different player. The depth of this team may prove to be a major factor down the stretch. First year goaltender, Shelby Ryan (Cole Harbour, NS) was between the pipes for just the 4th and 5th times of the season, making 42 saves in the two games. Along with stellar goaltending and a deep roster, the Mustangs powerplay is firing at almost 20%, first in the OUA. They added three goals on the man-advantage this weekend, bringing their total to 16 powerplay goals this year.
The Windsor Lancers are now 4-2 in the second half, with losses coming to the red-hot U of T Varsity Blues and the second place, Nipissing Lakers. The Lancers went 2-0 on the weekend with wins over York and Brock. The league’s point and goal leader, Krystin Lawrence (Tecumseh, ON) led the way for the Lancers, scoring three goals in the two games, to give her 19 goals and 27 points on the year. With their perfect weekend, the Lancers jump to fourth in the standings, just one point outside of the top three.
Waterloo Warriors and Ryerson Rams – MINUS
The Warriors have had a shaky start to 2017. They have not been able to solve the top-tier teams such as Guelph or Queen’s, and only being able to beat some of the weaker squads in York and Ryerson. With only one game against the league’s worst, the Laurier Golden Hawks, this weekend was supposed to be a time for the Warriors to get back on their feet. Instead, they fell 2-1 to Laurier even though they outshot their cross-town rivals 38 to 10. Waterloo’s offensive struggles continued, as they have only scored five times in their five games in 2017. They fell from third to sixth in the standings and with games against Guelph and Nipissing in the next few weeks, the Warriors need to solve their scoring woes if they want to keep up with the best.
The Ryerson Rams started the second semester in a tie for the final playoff spot, however, an 0-6 start to the new year has the Rams post-season hopes looking like more of a dream than a reality. Ryerson has only scored twice in those six games, both of which came off of the stick of NCAA division one transfer, Ailish Forfar (Toronto, ON). It does not get any easier for Ryerson with games against Nipissing, Toronto and Queen’s all on the schedule in the last few weeks of the season. After finishing in the OUA basement just a year ago, it’s not looking much better as the 2016-17 regular season nears its end.
COMPLETE WEEK’S SCORES
Nipissing 2 – 0 Ryerson
Queen’s 2 – 1 UOIT
Windsor 3 – 2 York
Guelph 3 – 2 UOIT
Western 4 – 2 Brock
Laurier 2 – 1 Waterloo
Laurentian 1 – 0 Ryerson
Toronto 2 – 1 Nipissing
Laurentian 4 – 1 Toronto
Western 4 – 1 York
Windsor 2 – 1 Brock
GAME TO WATCH THIS WEEK
January 27th, 7:30 PM
Laurentian (8) vs. Queen’s (5)
The Queen’s Gaels have been on a tear lately, and they will be bringing a seven-game winning streak to a matchup with the Laurentian Voyageurs who have won their last three games while fighting for a playoff birth. These two teams met just a few short weeks ago, when the Gaels picked up a 4-3 win, scoring all four of those goals in the second period. Expect this one to be nothing short of thrilling as these two red-hot teams face off in Kingston.