– Craig Hagerman, staff

A new season is under way for the Wilfrid Laurier women’s hockey team and, following an impressive season last year, the girls are hoping that this year will see the team achieve those same successes. Last year the lady Golden Hawks ended their season on top of the OUA standings with an incredible 24-2-1 record which was also good enough to earn them third place in the CIS standings. And so far the ladies have gotten off to a perfect start, going 4-0 and once again placing themselves third on the CIS top ten. The girls will have their eyes set on the OUA championship which the team failed to bring home last year despite winning the championship the previous seven years and eight of the past ten years.

So, with an incredible history there is no question that expectations once again will be very high for the girls, but with the teams domination over the rest of the OUA during the last decade, there doesn’t seem to be many worries about how this season will shape up compared to those prior. One comforting note about this season is that the girls will have eighteen returning players from last season, meaning that almost the entire roster that helped to place Laurier 3rd in the country will be back on the ice again this season. Another big piece of Laurier’s past successes will be back with the team for another season as well. Head coach Rick Osbourne returns again as bench boss of the team and will bring his impressive winning resume back in the hopes of leading the girls to another championship. Osbourne has coached the team for many years including last year’s impressive team and has even lead the Laurier women’s hockey team to multiple OUA championships.

However, one key piece of last year’s team who won’t be returning for another season is goaltender Liz Knox. This may be a huge hole to fill as last season Knox put up some impressive numbers. Knox appeared in 22 contests while putting up league highs in almost every goaltending category such as wins with 20, a goals against average of 0.95, save percentage at 0.955%, and tied for the most shutouts with 5. Rachel Hamilton, this years goaltender, seems up to the challenge having allowed nine goals in four games but holding both Western and Windsor to one goal in each of the first two contests.

So, far this season the girls have opened with a 4-0 record with wins coming against Western, Windsor, Waterloo and York and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of slowing down.  The Laurier girls play their first home game of the season October 29th when they welcome the 2-4 UOIT Ridgebacks. Game time is 7:30pm.

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