January 14, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 57  

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SPORTS

Women’s hockey team looks for turnaround in ’04

By Katrina Wright

Gazette Writer

Joyce Wang/Gazette
DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME A HOOKER. An unidentified flying Mustang plays catch-up to a streaking Golden Gael from Queen’s during the women’s hockey game last Sunday. Queen’s went on to defeat Western 5-3.

It’s never too late to turn things around.

On Sunday afternoon, the Western women’s hockey team hinted at their potential to have a greatly improved second half of the season. Although they were upstaged by the Queen’s Golden Gaels by a score of 5-3, the Mustangs looked revived by rest and home-cooked meals, and appeared to have the energy to concoct some amazing offensive chances in 2004.

Western travelled to Kingston last November to discover the Queen’s team had some very effective goal scorers. “[The loss is] not indicative of [Western’s] abilities as a hockey team,” said Western head coach Paul Cook, after the Mustangs suffered an embarrassing 9-1 defeat.

Coming into Sunday’s game with this in mind, the Western women surprised the Queen’s team with a better indication of their talent, starting the first period strong with some great scoring opportunities. Excellent shot-blocking by Western’s defense, held off some equally good chances by the Golden Gaels, but after 20 minutes the game remained scoreless.

Queen’s opened the scoring early in the second period with a goal by Janette Leroux. A fight broke out shortly thereafter in front of the Western net and resulted in two Queen’s penalties and one for the Mustangs. The excitement and flaring tempers seemed to affect the concentration of the Mustangs, as goalie Cali Bodnar let in a Queen’s short-handed goal mere seconds after the penalties were settled.

Mustang centre Stacey McCreadie felt a two-goal lead for Queen’s was unacceptable and quickly proceeded to stuff the puck behind Golden Gaels’ goalie Christy McKinnon on the ensuing power play.

The scoring didn’t stop there as Kathleen O’Reilly had Queen’s amazed by the improved Mustang play and tied the game at two. The game remained tied until the end of the second period when Queen’s pulled ahead, scoring two quick goals in the last minute and making the score 4-2 for the visitors.

Western entered the third period determined to prove themselves to the Queen’s team, but it took one more Queen’s goal to spur the Mustangs towards the opposing goal. Midway through the period, forward Sara Bush scored an inspiring short-handed goal, putting Western back within striking distance. However, the Mustangs were unable to beat McKinnon a fourth time, despite some offensive rushes in their favour. Scoring then remained stagnant for both teams, leaving the final score at a respectable 5-3.

Queen’s head coach Harold Parsons was surprisingly unhappy with the “rusty” performance of his team. He expressed the need for “improved line changes and passing.”

Despite the Golden Gaels’ victory, Parsons gave credit to the performance of the Mustangs. “[We] gave [Western] too many two-on-one chances,” he said. “[We] have a long way to go before the playoffs.”

Within the next few weeks the Mustangs’ aim is to improve their game even further, and it seems they are off to a good start. The focus of practices will be on “developing team communication and learning from the little lessons of each game,” according to Cook. “We’re playing a team game where everyone has a job to do,” he added. “What we have to work on is establishing those roles.”

 

 

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