Baxter, Griffin push TMU to 1st OUA win over Ontario Tech

TORONTO, ON – Lauren Griffin was once again fantastic as they normally are for the Bold as they beat the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks 4-0 for their first win of the season. Griffin turned away 24 shots as they kept the team in the game at various points.

“We needed to lay it all out there, and we did. Obviously, 24 saves for sure, but that’s a team effort. They didn’t give a lot of chances. They helped me out a lot.” Griffin said. Rather than boast about the tremendous performance they went through, they focused on how the team came together.

It was a first of many Friday night at the MAC. First win on the 2023-24 season for the TMU Bold women’s hockey team as well as a first career OUA goal for Morgan Bergmanis.

Through the first three games of the season, it has quickly become known that the 2023-24 season for TMU is going to be a year of development as the program brought in eight new student-athletes.

Before Friday’s game, the Bold were winless through the first three games and were looking for ways to get into the win column for the first time. No better time than to do so on home ice.

“We’ve been searching to play 60 minutes together and that was a good example of it. I think we were ready from the drop of the puck.”  head coach Lisa Haley said postgame, complimenting the teams fast start. 

It only took five minutes for the Bold to open up the scoring off a centring feed from Brooke Michaud as Bold captain Emily Baxter fired the puck over the blocker side of Zoe McGee for the 1-0  lead. Baxter opened up the scoring for the second time this season and is up to three points on the year.

“The first goal [was my favourite moment from tonight] because it led to us starting the game off strong. Getting the first goal on home ice and getting the energy up on the bench.” TMU Bold Emily Baxter said, grinning about telling the media what her favourite moment was tonight.

The chances for the Ridgebacks came in bunches and when they did, Bold goalie Lauren Griffin stood on their head and made sure to shut the door and directed the rebounds into the corners.

Cailey Davis did a lot more than just the one assist on the scoresheet. She had various chances to get in the goal department and, along with Baxter, was buzzing all over the ice.

The penalty kill was another focus for the Bold coming into Friday’s game as they’ve only been scored on once through the first three games. The Ridgebacks had their chances to get on the board but a majority of their shots missed the net. The Bold penalty kill had to be counted on time and time again to bail out the team. 

Most notably during a 5-on-3 in the 2nd period, Baxter came up with key blocks as the unit received a well-earned applause from the crowd.

“Definitely killing [the 5-on-3] was a huge momentum shift for us. We’ve focused on PK as a main thing in practice so it was really awesome that we were able to pull out with no goals against.” Baxter said fondly of the job that both penalty kill units did Friday night.

Baxter would double the Bold lead as she finished off a tic-tac-toe play from Davis and Gaby Gareau.

 The Ridgebacks wouldn’t go down without a fight as they had early momentum but couldn’t solve Griffin. 

To add insurance, Morgan Bergmanis would fire the puck top shelf blocker side for her first career OUA goal.

Due to the deficit that was upon the Ridgebacks, they had to really open up on the powerplay, which led to a Mia Morano break as she was hauled down and awarded a penalty shot, which she converted for a 4-0 lead.

It was a complete effort by the Bold, which was needed to get their first win of the year.

Pags’ Points

  1. Emily Baxter-Neely Van Volsen-Gaby Gareau was creating chaos in the offensive zone for the Bold. I would expect that line to stick together for the next couple of games
  2. Cailey Davis must feel snakebitten. She was generating chances 5v5 and even during the penalty kill. A huge reason why the Ridgebacks had troubles during their powerplay.
  3. Emily Baxter had a fantastic game during the home opener. I wonder if being named the captain added a bit extra to her game because she was flying out there.
  4. The Bold penalty kill deserves a shoutout as they were fantastic, killing off two separate 5-on-3s during the 2nd period and it felt like they were continuously on the kill.
  5. Lauren Griffin again was spectacular and when they are given the goal support, they play lights out.

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