If the Great White North truly is the breeding ground for the best and most talented hockey players, then the women’s hockey team has certainly assured itself that its preseason schedule would not be a pushover. Set to face off against a powerful Canadian junior team tomorrow for the second time in two weeks, the Red looks to build upon on a solid start and continue to gear up for the approaching Ivy League season.
“Our focus right now is still to gain game experience and work on perfecting the details out on the ice,” head coach Melody Davidson said. “I think it’s going to take a little while to get used the pressure of a game situation, but so far everything has been positive.”
The Red is hoping for some positive results this season, coming off a year in which the squad went 4-21-2 and finished eighth overall in the ECAC. With a 1-1, hard-fought tie against the Toronto Jr. Aeros already under its belt, the Red is poised for its second Canadian challenge of the season: the Mississauga Jr. Chiefs tomorrow afternoon. And according to the team, the players couldn’t be more ready.
“This year we are really coming out flying,” senior forward Sarah Carter said. “Our passing is on, the breakouts are on, and our fitness has improved tremendously.”
Davidson was optimistic about the team’s start, emphasizing both the successes against the Aeros and the areas in which the team still needs some work. Without a doubt, however, each game experience will be crucial to answering this season’s critical question: Can the Red fight for the ECAC title?
“Our puck movement was great in terms of where we left off last year and where we are now,” Davidson said. “We had some quality scoring chances against the Aeros that we just couldn’t bury, so we definitely need to work on finishing the play. Overall, though, I’m really happy where we’re at right now.”
Davidson was also quick to commend the rookies for their immediate contributions.
“The freshmen got off to a great start,” she stated. “They know they are getting thrown right into the thick of the fire, and we will continue to look to them to establish themselves on the ice in many ways.”
The Red’s goaltending was also sharp last weekend, with sophomore Flora Vineberg making a convincing statement to remain the team’s number one net minder. Yet, according to Davidson, freshmen goaltenders Beth Baronick and Sarah McConnachie may see some playing time this weekend in order to obtain some valuable game experience.
“Flora made the saves when we needed them,” Davidson said. “It’s going to be her job to lose, but this weekend we may give the other goalies a chance to get some action.”
As any athlete knows, a good start is vital to the overall success of a team. So far, the players seem to feel that they are on the right track.
“The game against the Aeros turned out really well,” said Carter, who scored the Red’s lone goal in the contest. “We did exactly what we needed to do.”
The Red will be out for a little vengeance against Mississauga tomorrow, having lost last year’s preseason match-up. The Jr. Chiefs currently lead the intermediate division of Toronto’s North Metro Girl’s Hockey League, the same league that the Aeros are a member of, with an overall record of 3-1-1. The game will be the Red’s final preseason game before opening up conference play against Colgate on Nov. 7.
“We definitely want to have the mental edge going into the season,” freshman forward Caroline Scott said. “It’ll be important to have that confidence and optimism. We just need to keep up our communication on the ice and hopefully put some more pucks in the net.”
The puck drops at Lynah Rink tomorrow at 2 p.m. The Red will then open ECAC play with a four-game homestand, with Colgate and Clarkson coming to town next weekend followed by a doubleheader against St. Lawrence on Nov. 14 and 15.
Archived article by Kyle Sheahen