by Ankur Kumar
The Lance – Sports Intern
As the first half of the 2014-15 season has concluded, the Lancer women’s hockey team have surprised the critics with their current finish in the OUA. The Lancers are comfortably situated in third place behind the Western Mustangs followed by the Queen’s Gaels.
Their 21 points out of a possible 28 has confirmed they have won 75 per cent of the competition. The Lancers are just one point behind the Gaels for second place, but they still have a way’s to go to catch up to the conference-leading Mustangs.
After Rachel Chantler was sent off for a tripping penalty during the Nov. 29 game against the Gaels, Taryn Pilon capitalized on the power play with her eighth goal of the season.
“We got into penalty trouble in the first and to fall behind like that on the road, it puts you up on the wall,” explained head coach Jim Hunter.
The Lancers redeemed their first 20 minutes of the game in the last period of regulation. Krystin Lawrence scored nearly six minutes into the third and then came through in clutch fashion to tie the game with 17.8 seconds left on the clock.
The Gaels protected the win with Fiona Lester’s shootout goal, but nonetheless the team returned in strong fashion against the fledgling UOIT Ridgebacks, handing them their sixth consecutive loss heading into the break.
“We’ve been playing great and more consistent compared to previous years,” explained senior forward Candace Kourounis. “We have a lot of depth this year. We’re scoring a lot.”
Kourounis collected her third goal of the last four games against the Ridgebacks – her fifth point overall during that time span, displaying a revitalized performance.
“As long as we get on the scoreboard, it doesn’t matter who gets them,” said Kourounis. “I didn’t have a good season last year, but this year feels good personally … Hopefully when we go into the second half we can keep playing like this.”
Hunter is certainly impressed by the turnaround.
“[Kourounis] is having a good year. She’s having fun and working hard,” said Hunter “There’s a consistent game from her every night and that’s ‘cause of the work ethic.”
The Lancers have played nine of their 14 games this season on the road. To have achieved these numbers and finish in third is not facile. It certainly has been the best achievement during Hunter’s tenure as bench boss. He has also made it clear that the Lancers are inching towards the bigger picture as ten games are left to play in the latter half of the 2014-15 campaign.
“Our goal in the second half is to get which ever wins we need to finish in the top four,” said Hunter.
The Lancers are content, but not proud because they know just how much greater things can become. It feels like a lengthy wait, but patience is virtuous for a group of women who have already proven this season is a lot different than what has previously been experienced.