Reporter: Matthew Jordan
The Ridgebacks women’s hockey team lost its opening game of the OUA playoffs 3-1 on the road to the Laurier Golden Hawks.
The team entered the playoffs coming off a pair of hard-fought losses on home ice against the top-seeded Guelph Gryphons and the Brock Badgers.
The team gave up a pair of bad turnovers throughout the first and second period against Laurier, and fell to a 2-0 deficit. Ridgebacks captain Jill Morillo got the run stopped late in the second, as she took a pass from Sarah Worthington and sent the puck top shelf from the slot.
It was Morillo’s first career playoff goal.
Laurier increased the lead late in the third period off a deflection.
Ridgebacks’ goaltender Tori Campbell made her playoff debut with 26 saves in the game.
The Ridgebacks will need to respond quickly as the series is a quick best of three.
The Ridgebacks made the top-seeded Guelph Gryphons sweat in the final regular season game, but lost 4-2 on three third-period goals scored within five minutes.
The Ridgebacks put on pressure throughout the first period, and were bailed out by some big saves from Cassie Charette, who was square to the shooter and maintained good positioning in the game.
The Ridgebacks had one powerplay in the first period, but were unable to set up a cycle.
Midway through the second, defenceman Annie Moynes was sprung on a breakaway, but her quick snap shot careened wide of the net. Just under two minutes later, veteran defenceman Melissa Berney hammered a point shot from the top of the right circle that beat Gryphons goalie Stephanie Nehring high blocker side.
The Ridgebacks carried the 1-0 lead into the third period, thanks to a great save from Charette on a 2-on-1 break.
The Gryphons came out firing, scoring two identical goals, one-timers from the slot, a minute and a half apart.
They further increased the lead with a shot that beat Charette low to the blocker side. The Ridgebacks responded at the halfway point, when a scrum formed in front of the Gryphons net.
Ridgebacks forward Katie Dillon jammed in the loose puck.
The Ridgebacks pulled the goalie with two minutes remaining in an attempt to equalize, but were unable to set anything up in the offensive zone.
The Gryphons added a late empty-net goal.