By Ron Guillet
The Laurentian Voyageurs women’s hockey team played in their second homestand of the season this weekend as they faced the Toronto Varsity Blues and Ryerson Rams, respectively.
The Varsity Blues were first on the schedule on Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex. Toronto gave it to Laurentian early and tested goaltender Laura Deller as they directed 16 shots towards the net (eight on goal). They entered the second period scoreless before Amanda Ricker backhanded the puck under Deller’s blocker to make it 1-0 Toronto. Deller came up huge two minutes later as she stymied a 2-on-1 break with a left pad save. Laurentian was the better team in the period with 17 attempted shots (missed shots, blocked shots and shots on goal) while Toronto had 13 and found themselves pinned in their own end on several occasions. Laurentian was finally rewarded when Jessica Staats poked in a loose puck in the crease on the power play to tie the game.
The Varsity Blues regained the lead 30 seconds into the third period when Taylor Day backhanded the puck in the top right corner. Day nearly struck again moments later when she toe dragged around a Laurentian defender but Deller made the save. Laurentian forward Samantha Morell, who was an offensive threat all game, tied it up at 6:22 in the third when she fired the puck from a tight angle but scored bar down on the short side. Toronto dominated in shot attempts overall with a 50-38 lead over Laurentian, but Deller continued to keep her team alive as the game headed to a shootout.
With Toronto scoring one goal in three rounds of the shootout, Morell had the game on her stick as Julie Hebert potted one in the first round. Morell went five-hole on goaltender Michaela Logan and it appeared she made the stop but as she stood up the puck was already in the back of the net. After a lengthy congregation, the referees ruled it a goal and the Voyageurs got the two points.
“I’m glad I was on this end of it,” Laurentian coach Stacey Colarossi said in regards to the winning goal. “I think the ref just blew the trigger a little bit. He said the goalie’s pads had some black on them and he thought the puck was underneath her pads but the linesman saw it cross the line.”
Colarossi was pleased with her team’s effort.
“It was a character win,” Colarossi said. “We definitely had to use all the horses today. They played for 60 minutes, which was great, and we had some adversity to overcome at certain times but good win overall.”
This afternoon, the Voyageurs took on the Rams, who had a 1-4 record entering the game. Laurentian forward Elissa Bertuzzi almost converted early as she dangled in the offensive zone but shot wide while shorthanded. The Voyageurs looked strong at even-strength and maintained possession but Ryerson eventually struck first as Jessica Hartwick unloaded a slap shot that got a piece of a goaltender Emily Toffoli’s glove and trickled in.
In the second period, the Rams then made it 2-0 on their fourth power play of the game as Paulena Jackarsezian sniped home a wrist shot from the right circle.
The third period wasn’t kind to the Voyageurs as Clare Sabine slotted in a rebound five-hole on Toffoli. Laurentian then had a scare as forward Aoife Cox was hit face-first into the boards, but recovered after a brief stoppage. Ryerson then went up 4-0 as Toffoli mishandled a shot from a tight angle and had the puck trickle over the line, ending her night between the pipes as Deller came in. Colarossi put an extra attacker out with over five minutes to go in the third period but to no avail as the Rams made it 5-0 on an empty-netter. After Colarossi called a timeout in the dying minutes, Laurentian went down with a fight as they delivered seven shots on goal but couldn’t beat goaltender Emma Crawley, who earned a 23-save shutout.
Laurentian is now 2-5 on the season and sit in 12th place in the standings. They face the Nipissing Lakers next Saturday at 7:45 p.m. at the Countryside Arena.