The Western Mustangs women's hockey team rolled over the Waterloo Warriors this weekend, securing a date in the second round of the Ontario University Athletics playoffs. The Mustangs defeated the Warriors 3–2 and 2–1 to secure the sweep.
Western dominated possession in both games against the Warriors, outshooting Waterloo 32–20 in the first game and 35–12 in the second.
Despite a total of 67 shots on goal, Western was able to solve the Warriors netminder, Amanda Smith, just four times. No Mustangs player scored more than once in the series.
Each of Evra Levesque, Catherine O’Connor, Beatrice Arsenault Dufour, Shailyn Waites and Sydnee Baker notched a marker in the short two-game sweep.
Not only was the offensive attack spread out for the Mustangs, but it came from some unexpected heroes. Both O’Connor and Baker failed to put a puck past a goalie during the regular season, but were able to find twine in the post-season.
After the Game One victory, O’Connor explained that her point production has not concerned her this year.
“It's my last year, so I'm just looking to have fun out there,” explained O’Connor. “Work hard, not too concerned about points, stay focussed on what I can do … to help out the team.”
Production throughout all levels of the offence was not something that surprised Mustangs head coach Candice Moxley in this series — it was simply a matter of capitalizing on good chances.
“I mean, all those players have the capability to do it and it's just a matter of them finding their confidence and seeing those lanes,” said Moxley. “You find yourself in a spot with the puck like that, you got to get it on net.”
Another promising development for the Mustangs was strong play from the penalty killers. Despite struggling during the regular season to a 83.7 per cent success rate — which ranked them second-last in the league — the unit allowed just one goal against in seven opportunities.
Dufour explained that the team’s strength in their own zone came from strong physical play.
“Yeah, [Moxley] really wants us to always be present and use our bodies as much as we can,” said Dufour. “Pin on the boards, take the body, just live sticks, always be physical, and blocking shots is a huge thing for her.”
While limiting shots was impressive, it also ran the risk of providing a counter-intuitive, negative effect on the goaltender, Carmen Lasis. With less shots on net, the Mustangs goalie was forced to maintain focus in limited action.
The need for Lasis to remain focused was a challenge that Moxley acknowledged after Wednesday’s game.
“Yeah, absolutely, it's a tough game for a goaltender when you're not seeing a lot of pucks,” conceded Moxley. “To stay in it, stay focused … that was her challenge tonight.”
With the victory, the Mustangs will play the Toronto Varsity Blues in the second round of the OUA playoffs.