Toronto, ON – Heading into Saturday night, the TMU Bold desperately needed something to go right.
Losers of four straight while depositing just four goals into opposing nets, the last two weeks have been a far cry from the side’s decisive 3-1 win over Laurier to open the campaign.
On Saturday, November 5, though, everything finally came together in a matchup against last year’s OUA Finalists, the Western Mustangs.
Sound defence structure was backed by a masterful performance from Lauren Griffin in net, which led to consistent offensive output, something the Bold have struggled with so far. The result? A 5-0 blowout win for the TMU Bold over Western and the opportunity to reset the start of their season.
In three of their five games to start the year, TMU has found ways to give up the first goal and lose momentum. On Saturday, that looked to happen again as penalties to Lauren McEachen, and Olivia Giardetti sent the Bold to an early 5-on-3 kill.
The conference’s fifth-ranked penalty kill held on, though, and not only did they kill off the full two minutes, but on the ensuing Bold rush, Cailey Davis received the pass from Dani Fox and shot it top shelf to score her first career OUA goal, which gave the Bold a 1-0 lead.
“I’m going to steal a line from Team Canada National Women’s team. That’s the power kill; that’s what it can do,” Lisa Haley said. “If your penalty kill can get the job done in a situation like that, it can really spark the bench. I really think that was a turning point in the game, and we didn’t look back.”
Clearly inspired, with just under four and a half minutes left in the first period, the Bold added another as Olivia Giardetti passed it from the corner. It was on and off the stick of Brooklyn Gemmill as she continued her excellent start to the season, one-timing the puck for her fourth goal of the season to give the Bold a 2-0 lead.
In the 2nd period, Olivia Giardetti won a puck battle along the boards and found Crouse sitting alone in front, who received it on her forehand and pulled it to her backhand just in time to avoid the goalie’s poke-check and went top shelf for her second goal of the season for the 3-0 Bold lead.
The relentless forecheck of the Bold didn’t stop, as Dani Fox stole the puck off the Mustangs defender and slid home her second of the season with one second to play in the second period to give the Bold a commanding 4-0 lead.
It was all academic from there. Erika Crouse added her second goal of the game on a slot pass from Abby DeCorby to extend the Bold lead to 5-0 halfway through the third before the buzzer sounded and TMU finally had their win.
The special teams got a workout for the Bold throughout the game. The penalty kill was tremendous, killing off the Mustang’s powerplays. For the Bold powerplays, the execution could have been better. The chances were there, including a 5-on-3 they were given at the end of the first period, but they failed to convert.
“It’s just a matter of time when you get good looks. I wouldn’t say every powerplay we had was fantastic, but we had enough good looks that’s going to result in a goal when we need it.” Haley said.
In a scary situation, though, for the Bold, Olivia Giardetti got boarded hard by a Mustangs defender late in the third period, which saw her taken to hospital and the game ultimately getting called. The Bold put out a statement on Sunday that Giardetti was at home and resting, but as of now, there is no update on her status going forward.
- Making a statement with the goal scoring:Goal scoring for this team was something that was going to be hard to come by. With five goals on the night they potted more than their last four games combined. Hopefully it serves as a way to spark them going forward.
- Brooklyn Gemmill-Erika Crouse-Olivia Giardetti: The three veterans were the perfect trio for the Bold especially on the 3-0 goal where Crouse started with a won faceoff and finished the play by roofing the puck.
- Lauren Griffin:. 18 saves in he victory gave Griffin their first career OUA win and shutout. “Lauren was dialled in. I think if there’s a player who you could judge was ready to go, it was definitely them.” Lisa Haley said post game.
Cover Photo: Curtis Martin/TMU Athletics