By Alan Hudes
Four games in and the Stingers are still perfect.
Faced with a doubleheader over the weekend, the women’s hockey team improved their record to 4-0 in convincing fashion. The Stingers edged the North York Storm 3-1 on Friday night followed by a 6-0 blowout of the Toronto Ice on Sunday afternoon.
“The lines that we’ve put together are starting to build their [own] identity,” said head coach Stephanie White. “Now they’re playing off their strengths.”
No question about it.
Linemates Cassandra Nasso and Taylor Lambert led the way again and were terrific over the two games, each picking up four points. In fact, the first-year duo is tied atop the points standings with eight apiece.
“The energy that they’re bringing to the game is impacting how we play tremendously,” White said.
The first contest against North York featured scoring only in the opening stanza. Winger Elizabeth Wood and centre Tessa Dimitrakopolous both put home rebounds before the seven-minute mark to give the Stingers a 2-0 lead.
Just over a minute later, Nasso fed Lambert cross-ice in the slot, and she made no mistake, potting her second goal of the season.
“You have to keep up with her to get that pass,” Lambert said.
Potentially facing a three goal-deficit heading into the second, North York got their only tally in the final minute of the frame. The Storm crashed the net, eventually scoring an odd goal where the puck bounced off Ryerson goaltender Dana Carson’s back and over the line.
In the remaining two periods, the teams traded powerplay opportunities to no avail. Carson shut the door on numerous occasions, including a tremendous diving save near the end of the game, losing her stick in the process.
“I was trying to keep it out no matter what,” Carson said. “Luckily, I got it.”
With Friday night’s victory in the books, the Stingers rode the momentum to an offensive outburst on Sunday against the Toronto Ice to close out the weekend set.
Forwards Lauren Bonsell, Kristy Stanfield and Nasso all scored before the game was halfway over, putting the Stingers up 3-0.
Late in the second period, the Ice got nailed for a hitting from behind and hooking penalty, sending Ryerson to a five-on-three power play.
The Stingers didn’t waste the opportunity — they scored twice only 15 seconds apart. Defenceman Jenny Young got the fourth goal of the game off a point shot for her first of the season while Bonsell extended the lead to five with her second of the afternoon. It was definitely a turning point.
“That crushed the energy of the other team,” White said. “[It] put the final lid on the game.”
The Stingers would add another goal in the third and Carson earned her second shutout of the young season.
“[Carson’s] looking confident right now,” White said. “People know that she can make a quality save and it really helps the team feel strong in front of her.”
The 4-0 start is the Stinger’s best since their inaugural year in 2007-08 and the players know it’s no coincidence.
“All the plays we’ve been practicing, we’ve been putting them to use,” Young said. “We’ve been executing our systems.”
“We get the puck up and out so quick that we have that chance to be offensive,” she said. “We’re such a fast team that our attack completely exploits their defence.”
The Stingers will look to continue their streak on Halloween against the North Halton Twisters.