A quiet week in OUA women’s hockey allowed for some teams to take a breather before one final playoff push, while others continued the grind towards the post-season.
Queen’s Gaels vs. Laurentian Voyageurs
The Gaels and Voyageurs faced off for the second time this season on Friday night in Kingston, where the 7-game winning streak that the Queen’s squad brought to the table would be tested. Laurentian got off to a fast start, scoring twice in the first ten minutes to take a 2-0 lead to the room after the first period. The Gaels found themselves down 3-2 with 1:01 remaining in the third when captain, Jessica Wakefield (Lucan, ON) was awarded a penalty shot.
A goal of the year candidate from Wakefield tied the game at three. Overtime would solve nothing, and in the shootout, it would be none other than Wakefield to play hero as the Gaels extend their winning streak to eight with a 4-3 win over the Voyageurs. Stephanie Pascal (Sudbury, ON) made 31 saves on 34 shots on route to her 11th win on the season.
Queen’s Gaels and Toronto Varsity Blues – PLUS
As previously mentioned, the Queen’s Gaels extended their winning streak to eight and now sit alone in 4th in the OUA standings. For a team with the worst power-play in the province (firing at just 6.5%), something else was going to have to give in order for them to win games. The Gaels have turned to their deep lineup for tallies, as there have been nine different goal scorers during this eight game streak—seven of which have scored goals in that stretch. Defence and goaltending have also been a key for this team, as they have averaged only 1.87 goals against in their last eight games. A matchup with the Western Mustangs who have struggled against top teams, followed by a matinee with the Ryerson Rams who are 0-7 in 2017 is on tap this week for Queen’s, as they head out on the road.
The Varsity Blues picked up two more wins this weekend against UOIT and Laurier. In the 5-1 victory over the Ridgebacks on Friday night, Toronto scored all five goals on special teams, four of which were on the powerplay, while team point leader, Taylor Day (Ilderton, ON) added her league-leading fourth short-handed marker of the year. The Varsity Blues now sit just one point back of the Nipissing Lakers for the second spot in the OUA as the top of the standings have gotten tighter, while the post-season gets closer.
UOIT Ridgebacks – MINUS
A month ago the UOIT Ridgebacks sat on the edge of a playoff spot and even started the new year with two wins, including a thriller over the Nipissing Lakers. Since then, they have lost five straight, and the worst of those losses came this weekend against Toronto. The Ridgebacks took 11 minor penalties in which the Varsity Blues scored four of their five goals on the man-advantage. However, Toronto took seven penalties of their own, yet UOIT was not able to capitalize on a single one. Goaltending has also become an issue over this current slide as Cassie Charette (Ottawa, ON) allowed four goals on just 15 shots before being pulled. The fifth year senior now has a .907 save percentage, and a 2.44 goals against average. Those are numbers that she will need to fix as the Ridgebacks still have playoff hopes in mind with five games remaining.
COMPLETE WEEK’S SCORES
Toronto 5 – 1 UOIT
Queen’s 4 – 3 Laurentian
Brock 1 – 0 Ryerson
Guelph 4 – 1 Laurier
Waterloo 2 – 0 Brock
Toronto 2 – 1 Laurier
NEXT WEEK’S KEY GAMES
Toronto vs Guelph | February 2nd – 7:30 pm
With the exception of Queen’s, the Toronto Varsity Blues and Guelph Gryphons are the two hottest teams in the OUA right now. Guelph is 9-1 in their last 10 games and on an eight game winning streak while the Varsity Blues are winners in 7 of their last 8. The recent play of Toronto vaulted them into this week’s CUSN power rankings at number ten. A win over the always tough Gryphons would move the Varsity Blues into second place in the OUA standings, and would be a statement win heading towards the playoffs. Our CUSN Game of the Week will be one you won’t want to miss!