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Monday, Oct. 22, 2018
Veerman vaults quickly back into the Voyageur spotlight
by Randy Pascal

It sure didn't take long for Ellery Veerman to make her presence felt upon her return to the Laurentian Voyageurs women's hockey team recently.

Finishing third on the team in both goals and points in 2016-2017, but sidelined for the first ten games of this new season as she rehabbed from knee surgery, Veerman was front and center in the final two encounters of the first half for the Voyageurs.

The native of Charlton (Ontario) picked up an assist on a game-tying third period goal from Jessica Staats, forcing overtime as Laurentian picked up a key point in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Waterloo Ravens.

The next night, Veerman would strike for a pair of goals just over five minutes apart late in the second period as the visitors stopped the Windsor Lancers 4-1. Given that the results came directly on the heels of a disapointing 4-0 loss to the York Lions, the performance from Veerman and her teammates could not be over-emphasized.

Posting a first half record of 3-1-5-3 (W-OTW-L-OTL) for 14 points, the Voyageurs were well back of the Warriors (6-2-3-0 = 22) heading to Waterloo. The blue and gold opened the scoring when Samantha Morell capitalized with the man advantage, but the homeside would get that back and then some, countering with second period tallies from Maryn Caragata and Brooklyn Sarnovsky.

While the marker from Staats would ensure that Laurentian would not leave pointless, they could not secure a bonus point in a shootout, as the Warriors outscored coach Stacy Colarossi's troops 2-1 in penalty shots.

Goaltender Karen Collins continued her strong play, turning aside 34 of 36 shots, while Stephanie Sluys picked up the win between the pipes for Waterloo, enjoying a 32-save effort.

Facing essentially a must-win game the next day against the Lancers (1-1-10-2), Laurentian opted to reward rookie netminder Shanna Dolighan with her first OUA start. The hunch paid dividends as Dolighan surrendered a single goal on 30 shots, while Veerman and friends handled the offense, three quarters of which came in the middle stanza.

Samantha Morell and Muna Fadel traded goals 30 seconds apart midway through the frame, before Veerman drilled home the game-winning goal as well as an insurance marker. Abbey Caldwell added a little icing on the cake, as the rookie found the back of the net for the first time in her career at L.U. in period three.

Despite leaving their southwestern Ontario swing with four points, the Voyageurs still find themselves outside of the playoffs heading into the second half. Their 14 points leave them tied for ninth place (top eight advance) with the UOIT Ridgebacks, both squads still three back of the Ryerson Rams and five behind the University of Toronto Blues.

Off for the Christmas break along with all other OUA varsity teams, the Laurentian women will resume play on January 6th and 7th, playing host to the first place Queen's Gaels (8-3-0-1) on Saturday and battling UOIT on Sunday afternoon.

The team will enter 2018 with a less crowded battle in the crease, as Slovakian goaltender Romana Kiapesova has returned home, leaving the backstop duties in the very capable hands of Collins and Dolighan.

Northern Ontario AAA Hockey League
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