– Kyle Denton, Sports Editor
The Laurier Brantford women’s extramural hockey team hosted an eight-team tournament on January 20, and although they had some early success, playing five games in one day took its toll on the girls as they finished with a 2-3 record.
After completing the round robin, winning two of three, they met some tough competition losing in the semi-final to eventual tournament champions St. Lawrence College, forcing Laurier Brantford into the bronze medal game.
It was this game, their fifth of the day, that proved to be the breaking point for most of the players on the team.
Durham College/UOIT beat the Laurier girls 5-3 in a game where defenceman Kirstie Jones said the squad could have taken advantage of the opposing roster.
“In the final game, we could have capitalized a lot more due to their team having a lot less players. The same can be said again in (our) first game.”
Aside from this, Jones believes that the teams endurance was their biggest weakness, a component player coach Heather Law called into question. Aside from endurance, Law insists the team must address their lack of intensity prior to puck drop. Out with a concussion, Law was behind the bench for the tournament and although she said it was tough not to be on the ice, the opportunity for her to only worry about coaching was an added benefit during the tournament.
“I think the second tournament ran more smoothly. The set lines were clearer and I only had one job to do as a coach and it made it easier.”
Both Law and Jones agree that their special teams were definite strengths that kept them in the tournament all day long.
“Our strengths were our goaltending and our forechecking. We worked hard on the powerplay and penalty kill as well, they were a lot better than before.”
The tournament also possessed questionable officiating, so much so that Laurier Brantford collected 18 penalty minutes in their first game. When asked about the officiating, Law laughed, and admitted the referees certainly weren’t “homers”.
“We have to work with the refs, we can’t change their opinions. Some girls hesitated out there because of (the officiating), and it made some girls very frustrated.”
When asked about the officiating, Greg Stewart, manager of athletics at Laurier Brantford, said it looked as though the girls made a more disciplined effort after the first game.
“We stayed out of the penalty box (after the first game). When you play five on five the whole game rather than five on four, it makes a big difference.”
Officiating aside, the girls know they have things to work on before they play their third and final tournament in February. Law stated that off ice training will be a focal point in the time between tournaments. When asked if she would be ready to play in time for the final tournament Law admitted that chances are slim, but the girls still believe they will be putting a strong team out on the ice come February.