Special teams proved to be the key to success for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues as they defeated the University of Ontario Institute of Technology Ridgebacks 3-1 on Saturday in women’s OUA action at Varsity Arena.
Toronto went two-for-four on the power play, while holding UOIT to just one power play goal in five chances.
“Settling it down, getting possession, and setting it up, we talked about setting it up on the hash marks,” said Vicky Sunohara, head coach of the Varsity Blues. “We started to do that, and we kept getting shots on net.”
U of T. opened the scoring just before the half way point of the first period as Autumn Garnham fired a rocket from just inside the blue line that founds its way through traffic to the back of the net.
Less than 10 minutes later, on the Varsity Blues second power play of the night, Sonja Weidenfelder, who scored the tying goal in Friday’s game, put in the eventual game winner. Kassandra Roache would net the third to cap the scoring for U. of T.
With the win, the Varsity Blues improve to 4-0 on the season, an impressive feat for a team with eight rookies and only four fifth years.
— Varsity Blues (@Varsity_Blues) October 17, 2015
The score sheet for Saturday’s game was a balance of both new and returning players, as the veterans assisted on the younger players’ goals and fifth years earned assists from freshmen.
“As a veteran, it is really fun to keep up with the young ones, it keeps me going, working hard,” said Jacqueline Scheffel, a fifth year forward, who had two assists. “Our team has got a lot of energy, a lot to bring, so I thing this 4-0 is a result of all of our efforts so it is great.”
Despite the perfect record, the head coach still saw many areas that needed improvement ahead of the next game.
“There were times when we didn’t continue with our game plan we were trying to do a little too much, we wanted to keep it simple and just try to keep the puck in their end,” said Sunohara. “We had some good things that were happening in their end, we were keeping our feet moving and creating chances, it wasn’t consistent.”
“A good out come, but there are obviously things that we need to work on this week.”
The Ridgebacks (3-1) lone goal in one of those inconsistent moments during U. of T.’s second last penalty kill of the game. Mikaeli Cavell was left wide open in front of the net and she buried it.
This was a rare lapse in what had been a near perfect penalty killing night, keeping the Ridgebacks far away from the U. of T. net.
On an earlier penalty kill, a large chunk of the clock was eaten up by Scheffel skating around the UOIT end with the puck avoiding all four defenders.
“Our penalty kill is very aggressive, but the time when we weren’t aggressive, it hurt us,” said Sunohara. “We got scored on and we left someone wide open in front of the net.”
The Varsity Blues have all week to improve and make changes before trying to get to 5-0 on Oct. 24 when they visit the University of Windsor.