The Mustang's women's hockey team outlasted the Lancers in a physical, 3-1 victory on Saturday night at Thompson Arena.
Although Windsor University lost by two to Western University, they originally jumped out to a quick one goal lead.
Samantha Spagnol fired a point-shot at Tareya Webster and the puck fluttered in uncontested, just over a minute into the game. The Lancers net-front screen prevented the Mustangs net minder from ever seeing the puck.
But after giving up a goal early, Webster settled in the rest of the way and turned aside a total of 20 shots — including 10 in the final frame.
The Mustangs answered Spagnol’s opening salvo quickly, as first-year forward Sophie Young tipped Sarah Irwin's shot behind Lancer's goalie, Molly Jenkins. The game-tying tuck stood as the first goal and point of Young’s Ontario University Athletics' career.
After the game, head coach Candace Moxley was clearly excited for the rookie.
“It was great to see Sophie score,” said Moxley. “I mean, she came back from knee surgery this summer and she was cleared to play right after Christmas. She's been great for us.”
As Moxley referenced, the goal scorer was playing in just her seventh game this season after recovering from a surgery to fix an injury to her anterior cruciate ligament.
After the game, Young explained that the goal was the culmination of a difficult recovery process.
“I think this game is just sort of a lot of — a combination of a lot of just … staying positive throughout the injury, which is not a positive thing,” said Young. “I owe it all to my teammates, just for their support and their help just throughout the whole injury.”
The game-tying marker was a nice way to pay back her teammates, according to the Saskatchewan native.
“Just to be able to help get that first goal, I think, was just — it kept us going and we were pretty quick to keep going after that,” explained Young. “So, just being able to set the tone for the game and keep [my] teammates pumped up and get them going was just an honour — I was just happy to be able to do that for the team.”
Young’s quick deference towards her teammates after the game provided evidence of why Moxley described her as “a great personality in the locker room.”
“She's team first, through and through,” said Moxley.
After Young’s goal, the Mustangs added markers from April Clark and Emma Thomas in the first period, jumping out to a two goal lead.
During the second period, the Mustangs outshot the Lancers by a 17-shot margin, winning the battle 22-5, but they were unable to put another puck past the Lancer's netminder.
In the Mustangs dominating middle frame, some physical play led to heightened tension between the two teams. When the buzzer sounded, signalling the second intermission, both teams had traded physical shots. However, only one came after the whistle as Western’s Sydnee Baker cross-checked Lancers’ captain Ashley Maitre to the ice after the second period ended.
Baker’s cross-check looked to be a retaliation to Maitre attempting to stop hard and spray snow on Mustang's defender, Renae Nevills, when the veteran was lying on the ice at the end of a skirmish.
After the game, Moxley explained that although Baker and the Mustangs engaged in the chippy play in order to defend their teammates, she would have preferred they stayed away from the extracurriculars.
“Yes and no. I think there's other ways to do that,” Moxley explained, when asked if she appreciated her team standing up for themselves. “I wasn't really pleased with [Baker’s cross check] because, again, the whistle had gone, period had ended. Those are the ones you have to walk away from.”
“I think we did a better job in the third period [of] walking away, and we were able to go [on a] five on three [powerplay]. I mean, I'd rather see us go on powerplay situations than into the box.”
Despite losing their composure at some points, the team earned a big three points — vaulting them into a tie with Ryerson University for seventh place.
The team has just four games remaining and will be on the road next weekend, starting with a Friday night game against Queen’s University.