Lancers strong against Saints

Judging by the first period, the Richview Saints were going to give Leaside another close game in a season rife with shutouts.

But fret not, as the Lancers led 1-0 on a short-handed goal by Ayanna Badali via Natalie Biancolin. Still, with round 1 trickling by quietly on Feb. 16, even with a late power-play, it was discouraging.

Leaside coach Sara Jones said a lack of goal production in crucial moments has been afflicting her charges, especially after a 1-0 loss to East York on Feb. 3.

“We’ve had very close games,” she said. “Every game we’ve been in there but, you know, we only have two wins.”

That all changed on Feb. 16 when a three-goal second period, and three more in the third, helped relieve anxieties about the playoffs.

The aftermath for Richview revealed an 8-0 beating at the hands of a hungry, youthful Lancers squad.

“It was really nice going into the playoffs having our last two game wins because we’ve always been there so this helps develop confidence,” Jones said.

For those past two games, it’s been the team working as a unit that’s helped, captain Nicole Ballantyne said.

“I think our dump and chase is working well,” she said. “We have trouble making the passes, so if we just go in and forecheck really hard we’ll come out with the puck and score.”

Seeing mesh in the second period versus Richview was Nicole Ballantyne, unassisted, then Lindsey Allen from Biancolin. A turnover by the Saints in their own zone led to Rebecca Formosa marking a notch.

For Richview coach Scott Johnstone, it was a familiar sign his short bench was tiring out.

“We just don’t have the numbers in the program this year to really compete,” he said.

Still, that didn’t mean his skaters were immune to costly errors.

“We paid for every mistake we made,” he said. “We gave up the puck, gave them some easy chances and they capitalized.”

Mired in turnovers and a lop-sided loss, Johnstone lauded his goalie Nicole Boulet who has progressed well in her first season between the pipes. In addition Wendy Eckel, traditionally a ringette player, has kept pace.

“Boulet has a tendency to overplay the puck sometimes but she was great in the first period,” Johnstone said of his rookie netminder. “Still a work in progress, but without her we don’t even have a season.”

Third period goals came from Biancolin via Ballantyne, Ballantyne from Formosa and Badali, a second for Formosa, unassisted and Lindsey Allen. Not intending to run the score up, Jones said it’s been a tough year. Earning the shutout was Maddie Stock, who is not traditionally a goaltender. However injuries, including concussions outside of varsity play have hampered Leaside’s depth.

Three victims of the injury bug have been star grade 9s Jane Routledge, Delaney Randle and Danielle Collier.

Jones admitted her roster’s youth is a double-edge lance.

“My goal this year is to have fun, keep them together because going into Tier 1 with that really young team, we weren’t sure how we’d do,” she said.

Unfortunately, the Lancers were eliminated from the playoff joust Feb. 23, losing 3-1 to third seed North Toronto.


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By: Brian Baker
Posted: Mar 4 2011 11:00 am
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto
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