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Monday, Oct. 22, 2018
L.U. women bounce back with solid win over Windsor
by Randy Pascal

With six rookies playing their first regular season OUA game on Saturday, the Laurentian Voyageurs women's hockey team looked a tad out of sorts, victimized by some untimely penalties in suffering a 5-1 loss to the Western Mustangs.

Thankfully, there was little if any residual effect the next day, the team full value for a 2-0 whitewashing of the Windsor Lancers. In the ultra competitive Ontario university league this year, a weekend split is at least manageable, as coach Stacey Colarossi looks to guide her team into post-season play a third straight time.

Already riding high coming into Sudbury thanks to a 6-3 win the previous afternoon against the Nipissing Lakers, the visiting Mustangs would open the scoring with the man advantage, adding a third period power play goal that increased their lead to 3-1 at the time, eventually putting the final nail in the coffin with an empty net goal at 15:31 of period three.

Evra Levesque scored twice for Western, with former Voyageur Amanda Pereira, Rachel Armstrong and April Clark rounding out the attack. Mariah Beckett answered with a power-play goal of her own in a losing cause for L.U., as the Mustangs outshot the Voyageurs 33-19.

In fairness, starting Laurentian netminder Karen Collins could hardly be faulted on any of the four goals that she allowed, and she repaid her coach's confidence less than 24 hours later, sparkling in a 28-save shutout performance.

"It's a new day and a new game," said the 20 year old third year Sports Administration student of the bounceback effort. "You have to leave what happened behind you, use it as a learning experience and move forward with today's game."

With the game still scoreless after forty minutes of play, veteran Samantha Morell netted the game-winning tally just six seconds into the third, with rookie Madison Heeney providing some additional breathing room at the 15:43 mark.

"We did a good job of keeping the pucks all to the outside today," said Collins. "A lot of their shots were generated from the outside, so it's easy for rebound control and stuff." A native of Peterborough, Collins would bide her time in Northern Ontario, playing only one game in her freshman year before grabbing the #1 role in the latter stages of the 2016-2017 campaign.

Now battling it out with Slovakian national Romana Kiapesova, the 5'11" puckstopper has shown some impressive growth in several aspects of her game, all while making the leap from the Midget "AA" ranks to university caliber hockey.

"It was definitely a big change," she said. "The shooters can release the puck much faster, their aim is very good, and they can move the puck east to west very quick. Coming in, my fitness wasn't the greatest, but in the past few years, I've worked hard to get my fitness up, my cardio up, my legs strong. I think that has played a really big part on the ice."

The Voyageurs will enjoy one more outing on home ice to kickoff the new season, welcoming the rival Nipissing crew to the Nickel City next Saturday afternoon, before taking to the road on November 3rd and 4th, travelling to face the UOIT Ridgebacks and Queen's Gaels.

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