Wednesday, April 24, 2024
HomeSportsHockeyTigers need to start scoring

Tigers need to start scoring

Ian Froese, Staff Contributor

It is a cliché maybe older than the game played on the ice: every game matters. And in AUS women’s hockey, where only eight points separate the second through sixth place teams, the phrase could not ring louder.

“I think, really, it has gotten better and better,” said Tigers head coach Lesley Jordan, explaining the tight competition between the competitors. “In the past its been PEI and Mount A sort of in sixth and seventh and both of those teams have beaten pretty much everybody in our league (this year). It’s pretty even. It’s anyone’s game on any night.”

The Tigers currently sit in third with 17 points following the first weekend of play after the midseason break. They intend to improve upon their fifth place result last season. Although a few losses would see Dal plummet in the standings, the Tigers are also within striking distance of the AUS juggernauts, St. FX and Moncton.

“I think we want to be a top three team so being ranked third overall is where we want to be,” Jordan said. “Closing the gap might be a different story just because it’s a pretty sizeable lead, but we need to win games like (last weekend’s) against PEI and Mount A to keep ourselves in position, and then when we have opportunities against the top two teams we have to make sure we get points in those games as well.”

The Tigers have witnessed their fair share of nail-biting matches this season, including at least one contest versus each team decided by a single tally. The team were three and five in a streak of eight straight one-goal games; four were solved in overtime. A few bounces could easily have propelled Jordan’s girls to the pinnacle of the AUS heap. The Tigers, for instance, are the only team to have stolen points from the undefeated, nationally-ranked St. FX; Dal claimed two points courtesy of overtime losses. Against Moncton the Tigers lost both games, by a single goal, of course.

Hoping to get a jump on the competition, the Tigers cut short their December break, returning a week earlier than normal for exhibition and intra-squad matches. They were victorious against Saint Mary’s and played some laid-back tilts against Team Nova Scotia as that team prepares for the Canada Winter Games.

In net, Ashley Boutilier defends the crease. She has been given every opportunity to lead the Tigers, starting each game. She must persevere to keep her squad competitive in difficult matches. Team captain Laura Shearer is a threat at the point with 13 points. The leader of the defence corps should continue tallying on the scoreboard alongside her explosive fourth-year teammate Jocelyn LeBlanc. The Tigers will only go as far as LeBlanc takes them. One of the conference’s finest talents, her success comes at a price to the team. She will be sidelined for four matches beginning Jan. 29 to represent Canada at the 2011 International University Sports Federation Winter Universiade in Turkey. Fourth-year forwards Robyn Nicholson and Robin Mullen should help carry the offensive load.

The Tigers will need to improve their scoring beyond just LeBlanc’s departure. They have surrendered more goals then they have scored.

“Whether it’s on the power play or five-on-five we want to get three goals a game, if not more, and if we can keep [our opponents] to two goals or less than we’re in good shape,” Jordan said. St. FX and Moncton have hit the netting 55 times each, substantially more than the 33 goals the Tigers have celebrated.

In this past weekend, scoring remained a concern. The Tigers required extra minutes to edge both Mount Allison and UPEI past their 1–1 stalemate.

Previous article
Next article
RELATED ARTICLES

Most Popular

Recent Comments