Volume 95, Issue 69

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

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Women get cold treatment on ice

It's not the rim's fault!

The strength of the human heart

Women get cold treatment on ice

By Anthony Lafratta
Gazette Staff

If persistence and hard work were enough to win hockey games, perhaps the Western Mustangs women's hockey team wouldn't have suffered their second lop-sided loss to Toronto last Saturday.

However, other factors came into play as the number two ranked Varsity Blues, knocked off the Mustangs 9-1 on Saturday at Thompson Arena.

A week earlier, Toronto handed Western an embarrassing 13-0 loss. Mustang head coach Warren Shantz said, despite Saturday's loss, his team played a much more competitive game than in their previous contest against Toronto.

"In today's game, we cut down their shots tremendously and I thought they scored much better quality goals today [than last week]," Shantz said.

Toronto head coach Dan Church said he saw improvements on behalf of the Mustangs as well.

"[The Mustangs] were working a little bit harder than the game last Saturday," he said. "Last week, we were really clicking on all cylinders the passing was much better. They played a little bit better today and they were ready for our speed this time."

The Mustangs came up just short in a 7-5 loss on Friday against Queen's, but came out flat on Saturday against Toronto. Western started slow and was out shot 21-3 in the first period.

The period was marked by Mustang giveaways and weak defensive zone coverage. Western found it difficult to move the puck out of their own zone and were often beaten for possession along the boards, which resulted in the peppering of goalie Sara Pickard, who did all she could to limit the first period deficit to 3-0.

In the second period, after a power play goal extended the Toronto lead to 4-0, forward Kristina Rutherford quickly responded for the Mustangs on the power play to make it 4-1.

After Western got on the board, they began pressuring the Blues in the neutral zone while generating their own scoring opportunities.

The second period ended with the Mustangs down 5-1, but a strong 20 minutes of play did not go unrecognized by the team's coach.

"I thought the second period was probably our strongest period in our defensive zone coverage. I think that's a great way to play the number two nationally ranked team," Shantz said.

After a brief resurgence in the second, Western seemed to experience a third period letdown, as the Blues pulled away with four unanswered goals. Toronto continued to maintain pressure in the offensive zone, forcing the Mustangs to repeatedly ice the puck to relieve the pressure.

The Mustangs were unable to mount much of an attack and were forced to play dump and chase due to their inability to carry the puck through the Varsity Blues defensive wall.

"[Toronto] has a very big, very strong defensive line, so to get it passed them you really have to chip it by them. All of them easily have a couple inches on us and probably 30-40 pounds, so you have to change [your offensive approach] with the teams you're playing," said rookie forward Amanda Somerville.

"We're a good defensive team," Church said. "We stand up in the neutral zone and we create a lot of pressure, so they had a hard time getting odd-man rushes."

Lenni Kwan/Gazette
DAVID MEETS GOLIATH - AND THIS TIME, THE BIG FELLA TAKES THE PRIZE. An imposing University of Toronto player towers over her Western opponent en route to a Mustang thrashing of 9-1 by the Blues.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002