By Alan Hudes
Even though their undefeated record remained intact on Sunday afternoon, the Stingers received a wake-up call.
The women’s hockey team escaped with a 1-1 tie against the Barrie Sharks, who currently sit in last place. Left-winger Cassandra Nasso scored her team-leading seventh of the season, but after consecutive 6-0 victories, the offence in this game just disappeared.
“We weren’t very sharp,” said head coach Stephanie White, who returned behind the bench after winning gold at the Four-Nations Cup with the Canadian national women’s team. “We didn’t move the puck very well and we didn’t create opportunities when we got in (the zone) as much as we have in past.”
Battling in a tight contest, the teams remained scoreless until near the end of the second period. With about a minute and a half to go in the middle frame, the Sharks’ Val Hargreaves put home a rebound on the doorstep, giving Barrie a 1-0 lead. It was only the second time all season the Stingers had given up the opening goal.
“We just weren’t moving our feet, we weren’t passing properly, we had no shots and we weren’t being aggressive,” said Nasso. “We should have stepped it up.”
With the team struggling in their slowest start this year, Nasso took matters into her own hands. Just over three minutes into the third, the division scoring leader wired a slap shot past Barrie goaltender Carol Zaborski to tie the game.
“You’ve got to know that when Nasso’s on ice that she’s going to create something,” said White. “But boy, did she ever get the opportunity to lay into that one and (the puck) was still on its way up when it hit the net.”
The Stingers pressed hard for the game winner in the final minutes to no avail. Skating off with the draw and the single point, the team considered itself lucky.
“We’ve had such a good run that sometimes it’s hard to keep your focus and to keep that hunger within you,” said White. “I’ve been pressing upon them in practice to keep pushing.”
Second-year defenceman Courtney Miller agreed.
“It shows that we’re not as good as we think we are. We still need to work hard and not get lazy just because we’re at the top of the standings.” She said. “We still need to put in the effort, practice our plays and continue to get better, because a lot of the teams are going to keep improving and we’re going to have tougher competition.”
The Stingers will return to the ice on Friday to take on the Mississauga Wolves.