Case of the Blues: Toronto drops Western

Del Guidice stays red-hot, Purple and Silver can't find the net

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Women's hockey

Jon Purdy

SCORING (AND WINNING FIGHTS) ABOUT AS OFTEN AS THE HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE CLUB PRESIDENT. A light breeze would've bulged the twine more than Western's women's hockey team Sunday. Unfortunately, Thompson Arena was as airtight as Toronto's defence.

Having won six of seven games entering a weekend matchup at Thompson Arena, the Western women’s hockey team was ready to avenge two early-season losses to Toronto. Sunday’s outcome, however, suggested Western may not be ready to challenge one of the top teams in its division.

Toronto’s Annie Del Guidice scored two goals and goaltender Stephanie Lockert stopped all 27 Western shots as the Varsity Blues skated to a 3-0 win over a hapless Mustangs squad.

With the win, Toronto (14-5-3-1) climbed into second place in Ontario University Athletics. The fourth-place Mustangs (10-11-1-1) failed to climb above .500 for the first time since October.

Western head coach Paul Cook wasn’t entirely discouraged by his team’s performance.

“We stayed with them for two periods,” Cook said. “You’ve got to give Toronto credit " they played a good game.”

While Western contained the Blues’ high-powered offence for most of the first two periods, Toronto dominated the final stanza. The Blues emerged from the dressing room with heads full of steam and broke the game wide open before the ’Stangs could catch their breath.

Toronto coach Karen Hughes said it was just a matter of creating opportunities.

“There wasn’t anything specific [that I said to them between periods],” Hughes said. “I think we just came out skating hard and the opportunities presented themselves.”

Cook pointed to Toronto’s second goal, which came in the first minute of the third period, as the game’s turning point.

“The second goal really put us back on our heels, and then we started to make mistakes we didn’t want to make.”

Western forward Bianca Emanuele agreed with her coach’s assessment.

“They’re a fast-skating team and we usually play up to them, but we fell apart after they got that goal,” Emanuele said. “I think we kind of got ourselves down and we couldn’t get back out of it.”

Much like in the teams’ last meeting, Del Guidice was dominant from the opening faceoff. The second-year forward opened the scoring on the power play at 7:20 of the second period, deflecting a Katie Dowdall pass into the top corner behind Western netminder Danielle Le Ber.

Del Guidice then scored the Blues’ second goal " her team-leading ninth of the season " by sliding in a rebound after Dowdall’s low shot from the left hash marks bounced off Le Ber’s right pad.

Laura Foster, the other winger on Toronto’s top scoring line, put the game out of reach with a breakaway goal less than two minutes later. Foster also had two assists on the evening.

“It’s that one line [that kills us],” Cook said afterwards. “They score probably two thirds of all [Toronto’s] goals, so when we’re on the ice with them, we really have to play error-free.”

With one regular-season game remaining, the ’Stangs hope to get back on track before their quarter-final matchup. They host Brock Saturday at Thompson Arena before the playoffs begin March 3.

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