By Gabriel Rodrigues
On Saturday, Nov. 2, Laurentian’s women’s hockey team got its first taste of northern rivalry, as the University defeated the Nipissing Lakers 4-1 at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex in the first annual Pink the Rink event.
In the first period, both teams exchanged chances in the early going, as Voyageurs goalie, Laura Deller, was forced to make some timely saves.
Laurentian forward, Jessica Staats would reward her goalie, scoring at the 9:53 mark of the first, capitalizing on a scramble in front of the Lakers net.
The Voyageurs would end the period with only eight shots thrown at Nipissing goalie Jacqueline Rochefort.
The second proved to be a lot like the first, as both teams traded chances, however, the Lakers would take a penalty putting Laurentian on the power play.
Aoife Cox would tip in a slap shot from the point, giving the Voyageurs a 2-0 lead, as the Laurentian forward screened Nipissing goalie Rochefort.
However, within a minute of scoring, Laurentian found themselves on a 5-on-3 penalty kill for nearly two minutes, but with key blocks from captain Julie Hebert and saves from Deller, the Voyageurs would kill the penalties bringing momentum to other side of the rink.
Laurentian forward, Victoria Medeiros, would score from the top of the slot letting go of a wrist shot, which fooled the Lakers goalie, giving the Voyageurs a 3-0 stranglehold on the game.
Rochefort was pulled after allowing 3 goals on 14 shots, as Nipissing back-up Sabrina Picard was introduced into the game.
The Lakers would end the second with relentless pressure, but Deller turned aside all 11 shots faced in the period, keeping her clean sheet alive.
Within the first five minutes of the third, Laurentian found the back of the net, as Maggie Brennan scored a power play goal giving the Voyageurs a commanding 4-0 lead.
Nipissing would finally solve Deller after two straight power plays, as Brittney Cosmo put away a rebound passed the Voyageurs keeper at the 5:35 mark ending her chance of a shutout.
The end of the game proved to be a feisty affair, and according to Laurentian coach Stacey Colarossi, “it was a big win.”
“We don’t like each other,” she said. “The official let a lot of the game go. It was definitely a four point game for us, which helps us out in the standings. At the end of the day, most of these girls played against each other last year in some capacity. So, we had some high and low moments but we got the win, so I’ll take it.”
The night was not only to cheer on the Voyageurs, as the first annual Pink the Rink event was held during the game to donate funds for breast cancer through the Northern Cancer Foundation.
Laurentian’s jerseys were pink in the midst of the event.
“It brought a lot of emotion for our girls,” said Colarossi. “There are actually some of our players that have people close to them who are fighting the disease. It took us a while to get our feet wet, but it was nice to pull it off at the end.”
Pink the Rink organizer, Scott Bond, a sports administration student at Laurentian, estimated the event to raise $5,000.
“All the funds raised stay in the north to help people treat their cancer,” he said. “It couldn’t have been a better charity. Everyone is touched by it and it seems like people are really drawn to help and do whatever they can because many have been affected by cancer.”
All in all, the Laurentian women’s hockey team improves their record to 3-5 leaving them one point shy of the last OUA playoff spot.
The Voyageurs plays Laurier next on Saturday, Nov. 9 at 4 p.m. at the Copper Cliff arena, and return to Countryside on Sunday, Nov. 10, to face off against Waterloo at 5:45 p.m.