By Ron Guillet
The Laurentian Voyageurs women’s hockey team will enter the second half of the season with a 6-9 record and three points removed from the final playoff spot.
The Voyageurs’ inaugural season started off slowly as they went 1-4 but that would be the lowest point of the first half. The team responded by winning five of the next 10 matches, posting a respectable .500 record and displaying the brand of hockey head coach Stacey Colarossi had advertised.
“Regardless of outcomes, our team played 60 minutes of high tempo, physical hockey,” Colarossi said in her assessment of the first half of the season. “We improved by minimizing our time spent in our defensive zone, creating more opportunities at the opposition’s goalie as the first half progressed.”
Puck possession has been a weakness for the Voyageurs as they were outshot in all but three of their 15 games—those three came in the final 10 games. Colarossi alluded to growing pains in the off-season and the team seems to be adjusting as they progressively improved in that aspect, lessening the workload on goaltenders Laura Deller and Emily Toffoli.
“Women’s hockey is a puck possession game,” Colarossi said. “As we learn our tactics we will look to attack off the rush and also regain puck possession to sustain offensive zone pressure. We are outshot typically to date, however, we have made strides and that number differential has been steadily improving.”
Entering the final nine games of the season, Colarossi wants to improve on special teams and sustain pressure in the offensive zone as the team aims to make the playoffs in their first season.
Only two goaltenders in the league have faced more shots than Deller, and the closest has a .922 save percentage.
“We will look to tighten up our penalty kill and improve our power play,” Colarossi said. “We have started most games in our zone and have taken too much time to get our feet going. We aim to come out hard at the start of each game and bring confidence from the drop of the puck.”
If the Voyageurs continue to struggle with shots against, Deller has been superb between the pipes this season, regularly providing her team with a chance to win. She ranks third in the league with a .939 save percentage, which places her first among rookies. Only two goaltenders in the league have faced more shots than Deller, and the closest has a .922 save percentage.
Defenseman and captain Julie Hebert has also been a crucial part of her team, ranking third in scoring among defensemen with four goals and 10 points. The Voyageurs also have four rookies in the top 20 for rookie scoring. Forwards Samantha Morell and Amanda Pereira are in the top 10, with 11 and nine points respectively. Forwards Victoria Medeiros and Jessica Staats round out the list with seven and five points respectively.