The women’s hockey team picked up four of a possible six points at home this weekend, defeating the Gaels 3-0 before losing to the Ridgebacks 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.
Friday night’s matchup was everything the Mustangs wanted for the new year: they took down a big division rival, they secured three points against a team ahead of them in the standings and they maintained their effort and compete level through 60 minutes of play.
Unsurprisingly, head coach Candice Moxley was complimentary of her team’s work.
“We were hitting all of our goals that we set out at the beginning of the game: we wanted to set the tempo, we want to play hard and play fast. We did just that,” explained Moxley on Friday. “I think the girls were much deserving of that win tonight.”
However, less than 24 hours later, after dropping a point to Ontario Tech University — who own the second worst record in Ontario University Athletics — Moxley struck a different tune.
“You know what, I thought we came out flat right from the start,” said Moxley on Saturday. “Definitely wasn't the start we wanted after playing such a complete game the night before. We expected the legs to be tired a bit, but there's no excuses; that wasn't our best hockey.”
There were two consistent aspects across the weekend, though. The team put together two excellent third periods and the team's goaltender, Tareya Webster, excelled in her first back-to-back of the season.
In the two games, the Mustangs registered five third-period goals.
On Friday night, Sydnee Baker opened the scoring early in the final frame after banging a one-timer into the Gael’s net. While Baker didn’t quite get all of the puck — leading to an uncharacteristically weak flight path for one of the league’s best goal scorers — the release was fast enough to beat the Gael’s goaltender.
After the game, both Moxley and Baker were able to appreciate every part of the goal.
“Yeah, that [one-timer] pass. We work on this stuff in practice and we have difficulties executing — but, hey, if you do it in a game then it's even more special,” said Moxley. “So it was good to see some things that we worked on translate right into the game. I was like: 'even if it's not straight in, that quick release, even though it arcs, it's still a goal.'”
“It rainbowed a little bit, but it went in,” Baker added after the game, jokingly.
The Mustangs win on Friday was secured by an April Clark power play marker and an empty net goal from Baker at the tail end of the game.
Clark’s late tally stood as her hundredth career point for the Mustangs, Moxley noted after the game.
With three goals in the third period, the Mustangs secured the win and locked down Webster’s first shutout. After the final horn, the goaltender was pleased with her performance, but was quick to praise the effort of her teammates as well.
“I mean, it's definitely rare to get a shutout in this league, so it definitely feels good because it doesn't go on very often,” said Webster. “But, yeah, again, honestly I just have a really good team in front of me that helped me out with that one, for sure.”
The goaltender had little time to appreciate the accomplishment, though, as she was slated to start again in an afternoon game against the Ridgebacks the next day.
In the second half of the back-to-back, Webster continued to play well, but her teammates were not as strong.
The Mustangs allowed three goals — one of which came through a screen, another on a fluke shot below the goal line and then a final crushing overtime tuck that was scored after the Ridgebacks were gifted a three player rush with no Mustangs defenders back to help their goaltender.
The defensive misstep, coming off of a poor change, accented a disappointing game for the Mustangs. Moxley explained there were some mechanical issues involved in the play, but reiterated that, in total, the defensive gaffe was inexcusable.
“Yeah, you know what, that's not what we practice. There's lack of communication and the door wasn't opening on the bench, just an error that shouldn't happen,” Moxley stated.
Even still, the Mustangs finished the weekend with four out of a possible six points and now sit one point back of a three team tie for sixth place, and two back of a two team tie for fourth. The team will just need to recreate Friday’s effort throughout the final stretch of the regular season.