East York enforces its strength in opener

[attach]3206[/attach]Though East York Athenas won 7-3 over Richview Saints, their chippy victory revealed an Achilles heel, coach John Simopoulos said.

At even strength the Athenas commanded the play, but on the penalty kill they were 2 for 5.

“Obviously we have to stay out of the penalty box,” Simopoulos said.

With East York up 4-1 in the third period, two penalties led to two power play goals, one by Saints forward Carly Sythes via Darby Clarke and Samantha Day, and an additional one by Maryn Caragata, also from Day.

The first power play goal was notched by Day in the second period.

“We need a little work in terms of having some posture and proper positioning when we’re short,” Simopoulos said. “The box broke down and it happens sometimes — people panic.”

Patience was the virtue on the Saints bench, as coach Scott Johnstone is building a goalie from the bottom up in Nicole Boulet, he said.

“It was her first time ever playing net for hockey,” he said. “She’s a ringette goalie who is just making the transition.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew we had some good players and I predicted six goals so I knew it would be rough on her that way,” he added. “The girls played hard and I had a small bench, so I was really pleased with the effort.”

Even though there was a learning netminder in Boulet between the pipes, Simopoulos said his team’s offensive prowess was deceiving.

“Sometimes the score is not indicative of the play. I thought we improved with our positional play,” he said. “We relied too much on man-on-man, letting one person carry the puck.

“You use games like this to fine-tune and develop all the way through the season.”

Providing the goals for the Athenas were sister duo Jamie and Jordan McDonell, Niki Kalpakis as well as two each from Kelsie Little and Emily Popelar.

A reason for the rush of goals? Switching the team’s speed to the defence, Simopoulos said.

“That’s something that we play differently than other teams,” he said. “We take our speed and skilled players and let them come from behind.

“We find that way they are moving with their skates and not waiting for the puck to come to centre.”