Lancer hockey recaps

After back-to-back weekends of clashing with nationally ranked contenders, the Lancers remain a team in hot pursuit of the OUA West crown. It was never an easy gig to host the Lakehead Thunderwolves or embark the uncertain roads for long hours en route to Montréal to challenge the McGill Redmen, but the Lancers rose to the occasion, emerging with one win from each series and making an impression to a trio of Toronto schools they will meet to complete the regular season.

Goaltender Ingrid Sandven looks on as the Lancers battle Ryerson. Photo by Ian Shalapata.
Goaltender Ingrid Sandven looks on as the Lancers battle Ryerson. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Goaltender Ingrid Sandven looks on as the Lancers battle Ryerson. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

Ankur Kumar

Reporter

Men’s — Lancers stay sharp towards season’s end

After back-to-back weekends of clashing with nationally ranked contenders, the Lancers remain a team in hot pursuit of the OUA West crown. It was never an easy gig to host the Lakehead Thunderwolves or embark the uncertain roads for long hours en route to Montréal to challenge the McGill Redmen, but the Lancers rose to the occasion, emerging with one win from each series and making an impression to a trio of Toronto schools they will meet to complete the regular season.

Rebounding from a 2-1 blunder against Lakehead with a 3-0 shutout, Parker Van Buskirk continued his shutout effort in la belle province. Holding the Redmen scoreless in the first two periods, Van Buskirk kept the gate shut until Cedric McNicholl broke through to awake the Redmen crowd. Just six seconds shy of 120 minutes, the shutout streak is another highlight for the goaltender’s career at the University of Windsor.

Although the Lancers let go of a 3-1 lead and had to last until the shootout, many impressive individual performances stood out. Spencer Pommells broke the score open just four minutes into the game then gathered the shootout winner, while the line of Evan Stibbard, Matt Beaudoin, and Eric Noel combined for six points. Beaudoin, who assisted on both of Stibbard’s goals, is aware performances such as these keeps people talking about the Windsor Lancers.

“We’re a top team in the OUA,” said Beaudoin. “The game was proof we are one of the best and we can be a top team in the CIS.”

It has been a tough argument to debate when one reviews statistics achieved by the players on the team. Sometimes the best effort does not show on the score sheet, which would be the case with Paul Bezzo and Blake Blondeel. Both players had incidents where they became so involved within play they took pucks off the face, requiring brief medical attention afterwards.

Bezzo and Blondeel returned the next night, pieced back together and in the lineup for another hard fought match. The second night was a far cry for the Lancers, dropping a 6-2 decision. But the team stays encouraged as they return to South Windsor once more before closing the season out against York and Ryerson.
“We played Toronto a few weeks ago. It wasn’t our best hockey,” said Beaudoin about the 4-3 loss on Jan. 12. “But since the weekends against Lakehead and McGill, we’ve really come on as a group.”

The Lancers will finish the season against OUA West rivals, starting with their final home game of the regular season against the Toronto Varsity Blues on Feb. 8. Three games left for the Lancers to prove they are worthy of a Queen’s Cup as the OUA’s best, as well as a trip to Saskatchewan for the University Cup.

Women’s — Lancers Get Set for Playoffs After Home Stand

The Lancers returned to home ice for their final games of the regular season. It was a rough return losing 2-1 to the Varsity Blues, but with a 5-0 shutout rebound the next night against Ryerson, the Lancers will close out the regular season against divisional powerhouse Laurier Golden Hawks and the Waterloo Warriors.

Despite going 1-2-0 after their 4-0-0 start on the road, leading scorer Jenny MacKnight stays confident about finishing the season positively on home ice against the Laurier Golden Hawks and Waterloo Warriors.

“We’re becoming a playoff ready team,” said MacKnight. “If we’re confident going into the playoffs, we’re going to have a real shot.”
Collecting three goals and seven assists in four games outside of Windsor certainly confirms faith in the team. The Lancers have proved they have come a long way and will show the Hawks in the second half of their season series. The Hawks have been a considerable contender for CIS Nationals and this year is no different. However, the Lancers are ecstatic to defy expectations and enter the playoffs on a strong note.
The Lancers remain focused about clinching a spot. Before meeting Laurier for the final time this season, the Lancers went 5-1-1, further improved from last season’s 3-5-1 heading into the first round with the Queen’s Gaels. Although an early exit after winning the first game, the Lancers are not a team who will repeat the same mistakes.

Perhaps not matched up with an explosive offense such as the Gaels this season gives the Lancers plenty more hope to move beyond the quarterfinals. Although they lost to the Toronto Varsity Blues in their first game back at South Windsor Arena, the Lancers may get redemption soon with a probable playoff pairing.

“We always have issues with them but it’s our mindset that we know we’re the better team,” said MacKnight. “We hope we can play them in the playoffs.”

Understanding what to expect in the playoff bracket, the Lancers do not have an easy route. To meet the Golden Hawks before the end of the 2013-14 campaign is a preview of how the Lancers will contend for the OUA conference championship. The Lancers will have to keep endurance high, as the Waterloo Warriors will follow the Hawks to conclude the season.

“In my past four years, we lose games because we think it will be easy. But Waterloo can come at you,” said MacKnight. “If we don’t use speed, we’re going to take hits and it’s not going to turn out the way we want it to.”

It is a safe assumption that the Lancers will enter the playoffs and make a strong impression on behalf of Lancer Nation. A season that started with inconsistence shook a team to reshape their plan and get back on a steady track. The regular season finishes on Feb. 8.

A Lancers forward is tied up during their 5-0  victory over Ryerson. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

A Lancers forward is tied up during their 5-0 victory over Ryerson. Photo by Ian Shalapata.

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