The Dalhousie Tigers women’s hockey team dropped their second pre-season game 3-0 to the Saint Mary’s Huskies on Sept. 24th at the Halifax Forum.
“I think we gave them a bit too much respect,” said assistant captain Courtney Sheedy. She added the Tigers were “maybe a bit intimidated”.
The Tigers have 19 returning players this year and are looking to finish higher than their sixth place finish last year.
“I think the expectations are that we are a winning team,” said assistant captain Rachel Carr. “We all deserve to be here because we have worked our asses off to get to this point and that’s enough to show we can do whatever we put our minds to.”
The Tigers finished in either 5th or 6th in the league in many categories last year: goals-per-game, shots, penalty kill percentage, goals against average, and save percentage last year. Sheedy said the team needs to improve both offensively and defensively this year, but she emphasized creating offense and executing scoring chances specifically.
There are reasons to be optimistic about this team. They are coming back with a veteran line-up but they are also impressed with how well the six new players in training camp are playing.
“I see a lot of potential in the newcomers,” says Carr. “They can add a lot of dynamics to our team. They’re really hard skaters, they battle hard, and it is exactly what we need.”
Head coach Sean Fraser said there is going to be a battle for ice time every night regardless of how experienced the players are.
One of the new players who stood out was goaltender Fabiana Petricca. She stopped 39 out of 42 shots in her first ever AUS game.
Petricca said she was a bit nervous at the start of the game but settled down as the game went on.
The Tigers were outshot 42-15. Saint Mary’s put constant pressure on the team nearly every time they touched the puck and made it difficult for Dalhousie to exit their zone.
The Huskies’ first goal came five minutes into the second period. Forward Sarah Rumbell burst into the Tigers’ zone, skated down the left wing and fired a shot over Petricca’s glove, off the post and into the net.
Four minutes later Caitlyn Manning redirected a Mary Worndl shot past Petricca to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead.
In the third period the Tigers managed to get more offensive pressure on the Huskies. In the period forward Victoria Macintosh had one of the Tigers’ best scoring chances as she drove wide and cut across the crease but couldn’t jam the puck past Huskies’ goaltender Justine McIntosh.
The Huskies stretched their lead to 3-0 at the 9:52 mark of the third period. Laura Polak had the puck all alone just outside the slot and shot the puck off the crossbar and down into the net.
Even with the loss Fraser liked how the Tigers competed in the defensive end and accomplished their goals in the face-off circle. He thought the team still needed to improve offensively but he put the game in perspective.
“It’s still early, so we still have a lot to learn.”