By Alan Hudes
Stingers defenceman Megan Higgins scored her first two goals of the season, to lead the women’s hockey team to a 2-0 victory over the Toronto Ice on Sunday.
“I played forward the last two games… and (I wanted) to try something new – a deke, or a little head fake, and see what happens,” said Higgins.
Just over four minutes into the game, the second-year blueliner accomplished her goal – skating around the opposing defender and wiring a wrist shot on net that ended up on the doorstep. Making no mistake, Higgins capitalized on her own rebound to put the Stingers up 1-0.
But despite being down a goal, the Ice refused to go away.
With under three minutes into the second period, Higgins was sent off for tripping, after hauling down an opponent on a breakaway. On the ensuing powerplay, the Ice cycled the puck in the offensive zone, setting up Kim Uyeno for what appeared to be an easy tap-in. But Stingers goaltender Dana Carson made her biggest save of the contest – stoning Uyeno with her right pad.
“Dana came up big today,” Stingers head coach Stephanie White said. “It’s not that we played a bad game, but they certainly had some quality chances and Dana – full marks to her…she was big – she made quality saves and a lot of second (chance) saves.”
The huge penalty kill allowed the Stingers to add to their lead.
About a minute after leaving the penalty box, Higgins added her second goalof the game, launching a shot from the point that bounced through traffic and into the net. The two goals would stand up through the third – extending the Stingers undefeated record, with only three games left before the playoffs.
The late-season contest also featured the debut of the team’s newly named captains. Second-year defender Jenny Young was named the Stingers captain, while centre Lauren Bonsell and veteran Tessa Dimitrakopoulos are the alternates.
“It wasn’t exactly the easiest choice in the world. We have lots of people that show leadership in different ways but it was overdue,” admitted White. “Jenny has been just so strong and so reliable and always working hard on the point to improve her game. She’s been a bit of a force and she’s definitely been a leader on the ice and off the ice.”
When asked why she thought she’d been given the captaincy, Young attributed the honour to her level of commitment to the Stingers – not missing one practice, even at 7a.m., unless it was during the final exam period, showing up ready to play every game, and having built a relationship with every member of the team.
With the regular season nearing conclusion and much more challenging hockey ahead, Young feels those qualities will help her going forward.
“We have some tournaments coming up when we’re playing up a level so I just think it’s important to get everyone’s motivation up,” Young said. “Because, it’s not going to be like the Golden Blades league – it’s going to be faster. It’s going to be more competitive and I think we need to get our focus up to that level. That’s going to be my goal – to try and help the team get to that level.”
The Stingers are back on the ice this Sunday, when they face off against the Mississauga Wolves.