OUA Women's Preseason Hockey Invades Canada's Capital

Mark StaffieriContributor IIOctober 7, 2012

The Western Mustangs score against the Carleton Ravens
The Western Mustangs score against the Carleton Ravens

With preseason in play, CIS women’s hockey also comes out of conference play.

On the heels of last season’s Carleton Ravens Invitational Tournament in Ottawa, OUA Hockey clubs visit Canada’s capital this fall. The Brock Badgers, Waterloo Warriors, Western Mustangs, and York Lions (with Canadian National Team head coach Dan Church behind the bench) are the visiting teams.

The Carleton Ice House hosted the first two exhibition matches in the OUA tour. The first contest featured the Brock Badgers and the Carleton Ravens. QSSF All-Star selection Tamber Tisdale started for the Ravens and gave a valiant effort. She stopped 25 of 27 shots, but the Ravens were vanquished in a 3-0 defeat. The Badgers had two different netminders stand between the pipes in the shutout effort, Claire Shaw and Emily Kelly.

The Ravens defeated the up and coming Waterloo Warriors squad by a 3-1 tally on September 16. Backup goaltender Eri Kiribuchi was given the start for the Ravens and did not disappoint. She logged 36 saves in a strong effort. Sadie Wegner (who dons #44 for the Ravens) scored two goals in the win. With the graduation of star player Claudia Bergergon, Wegner will be counted upon to provide more offense this season. Kaylie Welk scored the other goal for the Ravens.

Two matches took place on September 21, as the Ottawa Gee Gees hosted the Waterloo Warriors, and the Carleton Ravens hosted the York Lions. The Ravens vs. Lions contest carried an emotional tone with it. Ravens goaltender Tamber Tisdale and York forward Lindsay Brook were teammates and best friends with the Notre Dame Hounds. Playing each other was not a scenario that they were accustomed to.

Head coaches Shelley Coolidge (with the Ravens), and Dan Church (with the Lions) were part of the coaching staff that helped Canada claim the gold medal at the 2009 Winter Universiade. Tisdale stopped 23 of 24 shots and four different Ravens were on the score sheet for a 4-1 win. “Dan and I coached together in Harbin, China. It was a fun night, coaching against people I know,” stated head coach Shelley Coolidge.

The Gee Gees had their hands full with the Waterloo Warriors. The game was an exceptional display of skill by both squads. CIS All-Rookie selection Rebecca Bouwhuis was designated as the backup in this contest. Freshman netminder Allie Thomas gained some valuable experience as the starter. Despite leads of 3-1 and 4-3 for the Gee Gees, Waterloo fought back to force overtime.

Warriors alternate captain Kelly Toms scored the equalizer late in the third. After the score was tied, the level of drama was raised. Gee Gees captain Fannie Desforges was knocked down after taking a shot. A few seconds later, Warriors captain Sarah Endicott was called for roughing with 1:54 left in the third. Waterloo replied by dumping the puck and ensuring all play in their own end was physical.

In overtime, Warriors skaters Kaitlyn McDonnell, Katie Dods and Lindsey McDonald all had great scoring chances. Once the Gee Gees got the puck in the Waterloo zone, it did not take long for them to score. With a lot of traffic in the Waterloo crease, Asha Kauffeldt tipped in the shot to win the game. “They (Waterloo) surprised us at times. They are a very fast team, a decent team. We had a lot of good scoring chances and capitalized on it,” said Gee Gees captain Fannie Desforges.

For the Waterloo players, the experience was one to remember. “The team is pretty stoked to be playing a different team. It is nice to see other competition. It should be very exciting to play the Concordia Stingers,” said Jamie Grove. The Warriors defeated the Stingers on September 22 in a thrilling 5-4 shootout victory. Grove also choose Waterloo for its academics. “I chose Waterloo because the school is famous for its math program.

Fellow rookie Michelle Tanel played her first CIS game in the exhibition versus Carleton. “The different level of competition is good and fun. The passes are very crisp, but it is a wicked game.” She has grown accustomed to the higher level of play. “For many of us, it is the first time we played another level of competition. You get used to it.”

The Carleton vs. Western Mustangs matchup saw Western provide a very aggressive style of play. Ravens backstop Eri Kiribuchi was tested often and early. Western skater Cassidy Gosling tucked in the rebound to give Western a 1-0 lead.

Brittany Clapham and Samantha Nastasiuk, both 5-11 power forwards for Western, were big part of the physical play. The game would end in a 3-0 win for the Mustangs. Carly Rolph, Mustangs captain is a strong skater that leads by example. She is a gritty player that is not afraid to get into the corners.

“This year is a good rebuilding year,” said Rolph. “We have a young team. The youngest in the OUA I was told. We hope for good things to start the season, and more to come. We know what we have to do.” Freshman Cassidy Gosling added, “It is a whole new experience. A lot faster and a lot more aggressive. It is a good feeling for winning (against Carleton).” The following day, the Mustangs played the Ravens cross town rivals, the Ottawa Gee Gees. Despite a strong effort, the Mustangs were defeated by a 4-2 tally.

“This whole experience is great, going on a road trip. It is a great opportunity to gel as a team and get to know each other a little better. It is nice to face competition we do not normally see,” said Waterloo assistant coach Caitlin Brydges. After nearly making the playoffs in 2012, Brydges is looking forward to the new season. “We are definitely very excited about the upcoming season. Our recruiting class has 14 new faces on the team. I know we will make a huge impact this year.”

 “All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.”