By Abigail Dove
Following a rough stretch of games, the Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold women’s hockey team fell 2-1 in the shootout to the Nipissing Lakers on Nov. 10 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC).
The Lakers were the easy favourite heading into puck drop as they were first in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) East division. On the other hand, the Bold sat in fifth place—riding a three-game losing streak.
Despite the difference in the standings, the Bold held the Lakers to one goal throughout regulation and overtime. Second-year Bold netminder Lauren Griffin backstopped the home side with a strong effort by stopping 46 of 47 shots.
“[Griffin] came here on a mission this year wanting to keep that starting role,” said TMU head coach Lisa Haley. “They just battle harder than most goalies I’ve ever seen.”
TMU started off the game on a high note. With less than nine minutes to go in the first period, first-year Bold forward Neely Van Volsen opened the scoring for the blue and gold.
The Brooklin, Ont. product took the puck in the middle of the slot and roofed it past fourth-year Lakers netminder Chantelle Sandquist to give the Bold the early lead.
Nipissing took control of the play from that point forward. Yet, Griffin stood on their head early—denying the visitors the equalizer as the two sides entered intermission.
“Just knowing what I have to do personally to get ready and knowing that with a young team, there’s going to be some breakdowns…I have to be focused and be ready for that,” said Griffin on how they prepare for each matchup.
Despite Griffin’s efforts, the Lakers eventually broke through the Bold netminder. Third-year Lakers forward Emma Thomas knotted the score up at one apiece after deflecting a shot that trickled past Griffin.
During the third period, both sides had chances to pull ahead in regulation. TMU first-year forward Kayla Kondo was sprung on a breakaway after a flip pass from fifth-year defender Tori Butler. The Brampton, Ont. product went to her backhand but was stopped by Sandquist to keep the game even.
Shortly after, Griffin’s effort was on full display again. A neutral zone breakdown from the Bold resulted in a two-on-one opportunity for the Lakers. Third-year Nipissing forward Ashlyn Zaharia fed first-year Lakers forward Tahlia Fisher with a backhand flip pass over the stick to Bold second-year defenceman Ahalya Julien-Medeiros. Fisher was denied by Griffin before the puck squirted out to fifth-year Lakers defender Madison Leberge, where the Bold netminder made another diving stop to keep the game locked at one.
“It comes down to 20 minutes for the rest of the game. The first two periods didn’t matter,” said Griffin.
In overtime, both teams couldn’t capitalize on their chances—forcing a shootout to break the deadlock.
Sandquist stopped all three shots she faced in the shootout to give the Lakers the victory, extending the Bold’s losing streak to four.
“That’s probably one of the fewest outputs [Nipissing has] had all season in general,” said Haley. “For us, keeping a team like Nipissing to one [goal] is something build on for the next game.”
UP NEXT: The Bold look to snap their losing streak in a rematch against the Lakers on Nov. 11 at 1:15 p.m. at the MAC.