By Jakob Emil Kristensen
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s hockey team extended their losing streak to five with a 4-1 loss against the Nipissing Lakers on Nov. 11 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
Following a 2-1 shootout loss on Friday, the Bold were keeping up with the first-place Lakers for most of the game before a dominant third period saw the Lakers skate off the ice with the win.
“For us, it’s focusing on the process and trying to get better every weekend and we did. The wins and losses start to take care of themselves when you can get your process right,” said TMU head coach Lisa Haley on the team’s current state.
After a strong start for the Bold, keeping Nipissing’s deadly offence off the shot counter for the first couple of minutes, it was Lakers fourth-year forward Ashley Taciuk who would get the first big chance of the game.
Yet, the Lakers’ shooter couldn’t get past Bold second-year goalie Lauren Griffin, who picked up right where they left off from Friday night’s 46-save performance.
“I think [Griffin] is always ready to go when we call their number. It has really established a lot of confidence in them as well so that one’s always an easy decision,” said Haley on the decision to start Griffin in back-to-back games.
In the beginning of the second period, the MAC grew quiet as the referee blew their whistle and TMU third-year defender Megan Breen skated off the ice, holding her hand in an awkward position, clearly hurt. Breen would return to the game later in the period.
The return of the defender didn’t help the Bold as Nipissing would strike first. Third-year forward Madison Desmarais received a pass from behind the net and beat Griffin with a well-placed wrister to give the Lakers the one-goal lead.
Ten minutes later the Lakers would double their lead as a shot from third-year defender Emma Neff off the rush hit Griffin’s pad and propelled into the net. A rare mistake by the goaltender.
For a moment it looked like the Lakers were running away with the game, but minutes before the end of the second, the Bold got a power play opportunity. Second-year forward Gaby Gareau received a pass on the rush from first-year forward Kayla Kondo and ripped it into the Nipissing net—cutting the Lakers lead in half with the Bold’s first power play goal of the year.
“Honestly, [it felt] refreshing. We’ve been emphasizing it a lot in practice this week so seeing it work is a really reassuring thing,” said Gareau.
Just as things were starting to look up for the Bold, the Lakers would show why they are first in the Ontario University Athletics East division with a dominant performance in the third period.
Halfway through the period, strong pressure by the Lakers ended as third-year defender Kara Den Hoed received the puck by the blue line and fired a shot past Griffin that would give the Lakers a two-goal lead.
Shortly after, Lakers third-year forward Emma Thomas would give Nipissing the 4-1 lead on the power play with five minutes left in regulation. The insurance marker put the game to rest to give the Bold their fifth straight defeat.
“It was tough giving up that fourth goal,” said Haley. “When it’s 3-1 you feel like you’re a shot away from really putting the pressure on the other team and when it gets to 4-1 you lose a few minutes trying to get refocused and get your push going again.”
UP NEXT: The Bold will look to end their losing ways on Nov. 17 when they face off against the Brock Badgers in Thorold, Ont. at 12 p.m.