The Windsor Lancers Women’s Hockey team got their pre-season started on a high note Saturday, beating the Bluewater Hawks of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League 4-1 at South Windsor Arena.
Goal scorers for the Lancers were team captain Alyssa Baldin, Krysten Bortolotti, Courtney Spoors and Ally Strickland. Karlyle Robinson earned the win in net.
Despite only two practices as a new squad, head coach Jim Hunter was buoyed by his team’s performance.
“It was great hockey,” Hunter said. “They learned a lot in the practices we did have. We competed very hard, which will be a focus for this year. At times we were a bit flat, but we adapted.”
Third-year defenceman Adalena Tridico was also pleased with how the team played.
“The game for us was a good start and indication on how our team is going to work this year,” Tridico said. “We came out hard and played very well together for the first time on the ice. I thought the team did a great job and I’m looking forward to the season.”
With a win under their belt, the Lancers now look to improve on small aspects of their game before the start of the regular season.
“We have to work quite a bit on defensive zone coverage,” Hunter said. “We gave up quite a few opportunities coming out of the corner down low.”
While there were small errors made, Hunter found the Lancers played well and many players showed their potential for the coming season.
“Robinson in goal gave us the opportunity to keep game in hand. She made the difference tonight.”
Tridico added, “I felt that our goalie … did an excellent job on the back end last night and really kept us strong in the game. She’s been working hard at practice and as a defencemen, I’m glad that we could give her the first win of the exhibition season.”
The Lancers also had strong performances from Baldin, Strickland, Caitlin Connell and rookie Jillian Rops.
“Connell played well on defense even though she is a forward,” Hunter said. “We had injuries just before the game so she stepped up. All our lines played well. Strickland played well and Rops played well on a line with Baldin.”
Last season, the Lancers advanced to the OUA semifinals where they lost to the top ranked Laurier Golden Hawks. The experience from last year will be the Lancers biggest motivator this season.
“It gave us the experience we needed to be successful,” Hunter reflected. “We know we have a long way to go. We need to do that year after year.”
Tridico also feels the success from last season will bring motivation to the team this year.
“We saw how well we played when we had our back against the wall and were on knock out positions,” she said. “We came together as a team during the playoffs and really worked together as one team with one goal. We want to start off the season exactly the way we ended it last year.”
With the regular season set to begin on Oct. 6, the Lancers’ focus this year is not on their number of wins but on how hard they work.
“Our goal is to be the hardest working team and where that takes us it takes us,” Hunter said. “If we are a hard working team we will have a good playoff opportunity. There is nothing but good things that can happen.”
The Lancers next pre-season game is Sunday versus Belle Tire. Game time is set for 4:10 p.m. at South Windsor Arena.