Mustangs’ momentum slows

Women fall to powerhouse Golden Hawks

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Women's hockey

Jon Purdy

WHY CAN’T WE RUN ON BATTERY POWER? Laurier pulled the plug on Western’s offence Sunday. The Mustangs could only manage one goal in a loss to the top-ranked Golden Hawks.

Riding a five-game winning streak, the Mustangs women’s hockey team (9-10-1-1) battled the top-seeded Laurier Golden Hawks (18-2-2-0) last Sunday at Thompson Arena. Though they hustled for three periods, they fell 3-1.

Despite losing, Western showcased its strengths and demanded the best from the powerhouse Hawks.

The goaltenders, Danielle Le Ber for the Mustangs and Liz Knox for Laurier, stood out in a fast-paced affair.

The Golden Hawks came out hacking, taking two penalties early in the first period. They continued dominating shorthanded while a frustrated Mustangs team couldn’t capitalize on the power play.

Once back at full force, the Golden Hawks rattled Western with a scrappy first goal with 8:39 left in the first.

Laurier kept the momentum, dumping in another goal just over 10 seconds later.

“Our focus going into today’s game was to play the second half of the season where we get better every game, every practice,” said Laurier head coach Rick Osborne. “We haven’t lost in the second half of the season so far.”

The Mustangs fought back against the talented Laurier team; with 4:55 left in the first period forward Trisha Quirt snagged a faceoff and broke away to an unassisted goal.

The score was 2-1 after one period.

“There was a lot of strong effort there, and we were really communicating well,” said Mustangs captain Rachel Park. “We didn’t just step back and take the defensive side of things; we really took it to them.”

Western kept the pressure on through the remaining periods. The ’Stangs stayed strong on the penalty kill and made nothing easy for the Hawks.

“I know why [the Mustangs are] the hottest team in the league right now,” Osborne said. “They’re playing really strong and they’re tough in their own building.”

Defender Alyssa Branson was instrumental in keeping the potent Hawks attack in check. In the wake of last week’s injury to first-line blueliner Lyndsay O’Brecht, Branson elevated her game.

Laurier iced the game with a goal late in the third period on Andrea Bevan’s blinding slap shot from the right wing.

Mustangs assistant coach Mike Bates commented on Western’s strong showing against an overwhelming opponent.

“I think our [strengths were] definitely how tough we were and our effort,” he said.

The ’Stangs have three regular-season games left and are fighting for a playoff berth.

“We’re clicking well and we’re executing well,” Bates said. “So we’re looking forward to being in the playoffs.”

The women are optimistic about the rest of the season and the approaching playoffs.

Quirt thinks her team is ready to go all the way.

“I think we have a good chance at winning the rest of ’em.”

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette