Panthers prey on Riverdale Raiders

Team fills in absentee goalie with defenceman only to be shelled by Lawrence Park for nine goals

It was a story of two defencemen playing net for both the Raiders and Panthers Dec. 7 at Ted Reeve Arena.

Riverdale, much like their south region adversaries Lawrence Park, were one goalie short of a team, so they slid their bravest blue-liners in between the pipes.

Though the Raiders’ Leann Denich played the entire 32 minutes, she was shelled for nine goals by a limited Panthers bench.

Both teams suited up 11 skaters for the game, and for the former Tier 1 denizen Panthers it proved more than fruitful, as they won 9-0.

Despite being green in net, John Fallis was impressed by Denich’s ingenuity.

“Our goalie was good,” he said. “She’s really a defenceman but came in and played goal because we’re having trouble getting the other goalie, who’s from another school.”

Causing the goal light to work overtime from Lawrence Park were Emma Benwell, Robin Brace, Lyndsay Climans, Neesa Mandel with two goals apiece and Erica Headley adding a single marker. Rachel Cumming, the defenceman, recorded the shutout.

Lawrence Park coach Catherine Hall said her young squad fared well in their first battle in the second rung of hockey.

“This is their first time being down in Tier 2,” she said. “We’re basically all grade 9s and 10s, except for one grade 12, and it’s going to be a good year to see how they play.”

The 9-0 match was an opportunity for both teams to see what they have in the cache for the coming 2009-10 campaign.

Hall said it’s all about the teamwork for the Panthers.

“(We’re) working on passing and communication,” she said, adding once they get their goalie back for the next match in the new year, they’ll be ready to go.

“We’re just going to wait and see what the opposition’s going to do in Tier 2.”

For Fallis, the biggest problem is finding the ice time for his girls to practice.

“We’ve only had two practice so we’ve got a lot to work on, but you know the girls are having fun and that’s the main thing,” he said. “You can’t take it too seriously, and I think Lawrence Park is a pretty good team.

“I was just pleased with the way they played for the first game of the season.”

In addition to ironing out some of the defence’s wrinkles, Fallis said stamina is another obstacle to overcome.

“Some of them got a little bit tired because they were doing double shifts,” he said.

The Tier 2 girls hockey schedule will restart in January.

About this article:

By: Brian Baker
Posted: Dec 21 2009 11:08 am
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto