Let the good times roll: Women win again

Gerbrandt, Quirt, Groen score in fourth straight victory

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

OUA Women's Hockey

Jon Purdy

SURGING AHEAD OF THE PACK. The women's hockey team extended its winning streak to four games, defeating the Windsor Lancers 3-1 Sunday.

With the excitement of a possible playoff berth looming, the Western Mustangs women’s hockey team kept cool under pressure in a 3-1 victory over the Windsor Lancers Sunday at Thompson Arena.

The Mustangs (8-9-1-1) thrived in another winning weekend, moving into fifth place in the Ontario University Athletics standings with five regular season games left. The top six teams make the playoffs, so Western is feeling the weight of the final games.

Sunday’s match kept the ’Stangs on track. Despite a sloppy start, aggressive defence left the game scoreless after the first period.

The Purple and Silver took control in the second when forward Ricki-Lee Gerbrandt tapped the puck in at 10:13.

Western captain Rachel Park was pleased with her team’s ability to rally after a slow start.

“It was hard fought,” she said. “I would say the first period was theirs, but we came back in the second and made sure it was our game.”

Windsor (5-10-5-0) was repeatedly denied by the stellar goaltending of Danielle Le Ber, who kept Windsor scoreless until the third. Forward Trisha Quirt sneaked home the second Western goal at 11:56 of the third.

“Everyone on our team was working as hard as they could,” Quirt said. “We came together as a team to pull through.”

The Lancers broke the shutout with 1:59 left in the game. They pulled goalie Jamie Tessier in an attempt to tie the game, but Mustangs forward Amy Groen capitalized on the open net to secure the 3-1 win.

Lancers head coach Carrie Sekela was upset with their play but praised their abilities this season.

“Our girls have been working pretty hard,” she said. “Today we just didn’t come out hungry and Western did.”

Western head coach Paul Cook commended Windsor’s ability to challenge the team.

“Windsor really worked hard and pressured us,” he said. “It was a tough game for both teams.”

The win puts the ’Stangs in the thick of the playoff race and Le Ber is confident that this is their year.

“I’m excited,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to [make the playoffs].”

Le Ber is enjoying the season and attributes part of the Mustangs’ success to their ability to gel as a team and have fun.

“We are just playing hockey and enjoying it,” she said.

Though Western has been fundamentally solid of late, Park said the team’s biggest strengths are its drive and heart.

“We are willing to work until the last whistle,” she said. “That is what is getting us ahead right now.”

Cook expressed his happiness with Western’s recent play.

“We struggled three weeks ago and got down on ourselves,” he said. “Now we have had two really good weekends that you have to be pleased about.”

Cook summed up the importance of the win in regards to the OUA standings.

“[It was] huge,” he said. “Absolutely huge.”

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