By Alan Hudes
Tessa Dimitrakopoulos wasn’t about to let the absence of her team’s two best players get in the way of winning.
The fourth-year centre put the team on her back, scoring two game-tying goals to help her team battle to a 2-2 draw with the North Halton Twisters on Sunday. Her effort kept the team’s five-game undefeated streak alive at 4-0-1.
“I feel like a veteran on this team,” said Dimitrakopoulos. “I had to step up.”
Noticeably absent were the two first-year fixtures on the team’s top line, Taylor Lambert and Cassandra Nasso. The team struggled early without the rookie duo’s league-leading offense, giving up the opening goal for the first time this season when Twisters forward Christy Gedge’s shot from the corner went off a skate and behind Rams goaltender Dana Carson.
“It messed up our lines,” head coach Stephanie White said of missing her top two players. “Not all of the same people got to play together consistently.”
But Dimitrakopoulos responded for the Rams when she tipped home a point shot for her second of the season to tie the contest near the end of the first period. The Twisters took the lead again in the third when they capitalized on Stingers defenceman Lee Ann Pallet’s interference penalty to make it 2-1.
Again, Dimitrakopoulos answered the call, evening the score just 26 seconds later.
“It was good to get [the goal] right on the next shift. I just went out there and tried to create something.”
White praised Dimitrakopoulos for her efforts.
“Tessa really stepped up today, strong performance on her part,” White said. “She came ready to play and deservedly got those two goals.
Dimitrakopoulos though, would not take all the credit, deflecting some onto goaltender Carson.
“Dana played really well. Usually, she doesn’t get as many shots,” she said. “She really had to work today and she made so many saves. She really kept us in the game.”
With Sunday’s game as their toughest thus far, White was impressed with the Stingers’ compete level.
“We battled to get that tie,” White said. “It was a good learning game. It challenged us in some ways that we hadn’t been challenged yet.”
With the tie, the Stingers remain in top spot in the division. They return to the ice this Sunday against the Mississauga Wolves.