By Alan Hudes
In only her second game as an assistant captain for the Stingers, Lauren Bonsell showed just how much of a leader she can be.
The second-year centre scored the game’s lone goal late in the third period as the women’s hockey team kept their undefeated season alive with a 1-0 win over the Mississauga Wolves on Sunday.
“It definitely got us all amped up – we were all pretty excited,” Bonsell said after the game. “I definitely said a few words that probably can’t be repeated (in print).”
With end-to-end action in the first two periods, both sides had several scoring opportunities, but neither could find the back of the net largely in part to the play of their two goaltenders.
About two and a half minutes into the middle frame, Wolves scoring leader Melanie Harwood skated in on a breakaway but Stingers netminder Dana Carson was equal to the task – coming up with a big save, keeping the game scoreless.
A few minutes later, it was the Stingers’ turn to apply pressure.
Mississauga’s own Kelly Cade was sent to the penalty box for body checking right wing Leslie Bradshaw, sending Ryerson to the power play. The Stingers cycled the puck in the offensive zone, and nearly scored the games’ opening goal, but eventually came out empty handed. With their fruitless effort, the team knew that they had to make some adjustments.
“We had a good discussion in between the second and third period in preparation to get some momentum going our way,” assistant coach Don Ruta said. “We needed to work harder – we had a full bench and they had three players on theirs … we should have been playing a lot more down in their end in the second period than we did.”
After killing a penalty early in the third period, the Stingers put their new game plan to the test and were rewarded.
With the team crashing the net and dominating down low, play remained in the Wolves’ zone for an extended period of time. Then, with just over five minutes remaining in the game, Bonsell took a perfect feed in the slot from winger Elizabeth Wood, and roofed it over the goaltender’s shoulder, for the 1-0 victory.
“It’s about being in the right spot and (Wood) was,” Bonsell said with relief, after playing in such a tight contest. “It was good communication all around.”
The win also marked Carson’s eleventh shutout of the season, in only her nineteenth start. But despite a rare break in the regular season coming up, the rookie goaltender isn’t going to get any time off.
The Stingers will play in a tournament this weekend where they will have a significant test, as they face opponents of a higher level. Drawing on her previous experience, Carson says she’ll be ready
“I expect it to be more of a challenge – maybe faster passing and probably harder shots, but I’m used to it,” Carson said. “Last year, in high school hockey, it was fast paced so I was always moving back and forth a lot.”
The Stingers will head to Niagara Falls for the tournament, which begins Friday, before returning to league action on March 18.