Photos C/O Mike Marasco
Although the women’s hockey team has been struggling these past few years, they’ve been making efforts to concentrate on the future. Their main focus for the rest of the season is to finish with a positive win total and perform well at the upcoming tournaments. While not being an official McMaster Varsity team, they play in the ever-competitive senior “A” level Golden Horseshoe Women’s Hockey League.
Currently sitting with six wins, eight losses and two ties with another 11 games remaining on the schedule, a winning season is still well within their reach. The team is quite competitive with several high point players creating opportunities at every end of the ice. Some of the top scorers being Tiffany Negata, who leads the team with ten goals scored across the season while Katie Wilkinson leads the team in assists with five.
Even though the Marauders show promise, the other teams in the GHWHL are also well built. No matter the competition, Sara Valentini noted that the team is setting their sights to gold in the GHWHL year-end tournament as well as placing within the Ontario Women’s Hockey League Provincials tournament. The Marauders set these goals to show a fighting spirit and a relentless thirst for success, these traits indicate that they will not go down without a fight.
The schedule going forward will have its challenges as the women’s hockey team faces hard opponents and make it a priority to end the season with more wins, earning them a greater shot at the final tournament. With momentum on the Marauders side, having just crushed the Ancaster Avalanche four to nothing, they hope to ride the wave of this dominant performance into their next matchup against the St. Catharines Jets.
They will be playing their hardest opponents, the St. Catherine’s Jets, on Friday Jan. 24. The team is firing on all cylinders to prepare for this crucial matchup. Having only lost their last matchup by one goal, for a final score of three to two, Valentini is confident they will be able to pull off the win as long as they stick to the game plan and shut down key attackers on the Jets.
Given the Jets placed first overall in the GHWHL, largely due to their offensive prowess, the game plan is to have a strong defensive line. If the Marauders can cool down the Jets’ league-leading hot offence with solid defensive positional hockey, Valentini says, this will shut down attacking opportunities for the Jets. On the offensive side of the puck, the Marauders are looking to take an aggressive approach utilizing key team leaders, such as Negata, Wilkinson and Miller, to create scoring opportunities. Valentini was quite confident in the team’s ability to come out on top of this matchup and if the game script is effectively employed they should have no problem in doing so.
One of the most important things in sports is a strong mentality and positive outlook, something co-president and team member Sara Valentini clearly embodies. With sights set on the horizon, the women’s hockey team has a tall peak to climb. The journey to the top is always a long and difficult trip. With the right team attitude, a clear competence in goal scoring and the opportunity making assist leaders, this trip may play out a little more in their favour.