By Gabriel Rodrigues
Despite only managing two wins out of its first 14 games of the 2014-15 OUA campaign, Laurentian’s women’s hockey coach believes her squad is learning valuable lessons and “maturing as a team.”
“We have a lot of work to do,” said Stacey Colarossi. “This is not where we had hoped to be at this point, but if we take wins and losses out of the scenario, we are making strides from where we were at the start of the season.”
After the first 14 games before the holiday break, the Voyageurs’ record was 2-9-3, which placed Laurentian second last with seven points in the OUA standings, just ahead of the Brock Badgers (1-9-3).
Statistically, the Voyageurs are the lowest scoring team in the OUA with 19 goals for averaging only 1.36 goals per game.
Laurentian’s defensive side of the puck has suffered also, as it has the third worst goals against with 42 allowing an average 3.07 goals per game.
At home, the Voyageurs have so far posted a 1-1-3 record and on the road Laurentian has only managed one win out of nine games (1-8) with the single victory coming against Brock on Nov. 29.
Although Laurentian’s record says otherwise, the Voyageurs, according to Colarossi, are not a team to be taken lightly, as they’ve proven they can play hockey with some of the best teams in the OUA with their only home win coming in a shootout at home against the CIS fifth ranked Queen’s Gaels (10-2-2).
However, what raises questions of concern for Colarossi is the fact her squad can’t close out games, as seen with their final home game before the New Year against the York Lions on Nov. 16, when Laurentian was up by two goals in the third period, but lost 3-2 in overtime.
Colarossi said her team had trouble sustaining and closing out games during the first half of the season, but is certain after the work her squad has put in during the break, the Voyageurs will be “locked and loaded” and ready to compete for a playoff spot.
“This is a game of inches,” said Colarossi. “We need to learn to be ready to play in every shift. We play outstanding at times, but once we get that lead, some of our youthful players gear away from the game plan. We need to make sure we don’t give the other team momentum going into periods, and find a way to put pucks to the net to generate some offense.”
Laurentian is currently eight points out of the last playoff spot, however with 10 games remaining in the season, Colarossi is optimistic with her team’s chances to salvage points, as the Voyageurs have still seven remaining home games.
“We are still gunning for the playoffs,” said Colarossi. “We are at home which will work in our favour. We play better on our ice, but we need to take care of teams like York, Brock, Waterloo, Ryerson, U of T and Nipissing, who are all trying to fight for those same spots. If we keep our pace and take care of details, the wins will come.”
Julie Hebert, Laurentian’s captain and current leading scorer after 14 games with 10 points, six goals and four assists, hopes her teammates can bounce back from their start and finally be the team to “come out on top.”
“We need to figure out how to play for 60 minutes,” said Hebert. “We’ve had a lot of games against the upper end teams where we are bringing them into overtime or a shootout. We need to start executing and pay attention to the little details our coaches are stressing. Hopefully from now on, we can execute and get wins.”
The Voyageurs begin the opening games of the New Year on the road, but Laurentian’s next home games will be on Jan. 17 and 18 when they host Waterloo Saturday at 7:20 p.m. and Laurier on Sunday at 1:50 p.m. at the Gerry McCrory Countryside Sports Complex.
For updated standings and statistics, please visit www.oua.ca for more information.