Poor second period sinks Western in 5-0 defeat to Blues

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Mustangs' women's hockey

Malcolm Aboud

GOOD THING THE NET'S BEHIND HER AND NOT OVER TOP — THAT'S A NICE BUTTERFLY. While Western netminder Jessica Ulrich displays a form Francois Allaire and Patrick Roy would be proud of, it wasn't enough to prevent the women's hockey team from being on the wrong side of a 5-0 drubbing against the Toronto Varsity Blues.

Janine Davies led the University of Toronto Varsity Blues to a 5-0 win over the Western Mustangs in women’s hockey action Sunday at Thompson Arena.

Saddled with Sunday’s loss, the Mustangs (7-9-4) exit the weekend’s homestead with a split after winning in overtime against York on Saturday.

Despite the momentum from a thrilling comeback just one day earlier, the ’Stangs couldn’t handle Toronto’s irrepressible offence. A dominating second period secured the lead for the second place Varsity Blues.

“Western always works hard and comes to battle,” Toronto head coach Karen Hughes said. “So we had to be prepared for that.”

Forward Emily Patry managed a shorthanded goal on an impressive breakaway to put the Blues on the board early in the first period.

“Any time you can score first in a hockey game, it’s a good thing,” Hughes said. “And then we had a good second period.”

The second period held more bad news for the Mustangs, who allowed four goals while finding few scoring chances of their own.

“Our focus was to play great team hockey,” Western head coach Paul Cook said. “But they’re a good team and we just broke down in the second period.”

Davies worked back-to-back goals early in the second period. Her first came at 3:45 on a rebound off Western goalie Jessica Ulrich. Davies followed up with another goal just 46 seconds later to put the Varsity Blues up 3-0.

To cap off a relentless second period, Emily Milito and Karolina Urban each shelved a goal to widen Toronto’s lead to 5-0. Davies added an assist to her impressive outing before the second period was over.

“Once you have a goal scored against you, you get down,” Cook said. “And [Toronto] capitalized really quickly. We didn’t regroup right away. We needed to be error- free and we didn’t do that.”

Despite finding themselves down, the Mustangs played a solid third period to halt the damage done in the second.

“[Toronto] is a little older and a little quicker at times,” Cook said. “And yet in the first and third periods, we played well against them. But we didn’t make the kinds of adjustments we needed to make in the game.”

“A big thing for us is communication,” Western captain Melanie Harshaw said. “We need to talk as a unit, instead of defence versus forward, and we weren’t doing that in the second period today.”

Alongside a booming offence, the Varsity Blues silenced the Mustangs as Toronto goalie Stephanie Lockert got the shutout.

“Our goaltender played well,” Hughes said. “She made the stops she needed to make when called upon, and our defence didn’t give away a lot of opportunities.”

While the Varsity Blues weren’t giving anything away, the Mustangs worked to get themselves on the board. But going 0 for 5 on the power play demonstrated Western’s inability to capitalize, as well as Toronto’s ruthless defence.

“We need to learn how to finish,” Harshaw said. “We are making a lot of opportunities in their end, but we’re just not putting it in the net and we have to work on that.”

“[The Varsity Blues are] in second place for a reason,” Cook said. “They’re good at what they do. So our focus was on playing really good team hockey. We did that in the first and third period but not in the second.”

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