Women’s hockey in last place midway through season

The Carleton Ravens women’s hockey team is in a tough spot heading into the winter break as they sit last in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) with a record of 3-7, losing their last five straight games.

The Ravens find themselves below the McGill Martlets in the standings who have a two point lead with one less game played. With only 10 games left in the season, the Ravens are going to have to stage a comeback in the second half of the season with renewed strength if they hope to make it to the playoffs.

The team finished the 2016-17 season in last place, with a record of 4-14. At this point in the season, the Ravens still have a good chance of beating their record of wins from last year.

“This team is competing, this team is working very hard,” head coach Pierre Alain said.

The Ravens started off the season strong going 3-2 in their first five games, which was an impressive start after the team lost their two top players, Delaney Ross and Tawnya Guindon, to European leagues. The two combined for a total of 31 points and 14 goals last season, leading their team in both categories. Now that these two top players are gone, the Ravens haven’t been able to find a skater that can match their totals.

“We need to score goals. We’re working pretty well defensively, we need to get going offensively and we need to get our power play going,” Alain said.

While on the power play, the Ravens are 0 for 39 and have actually been outscored 1-0 while having an extra skater. 

The Ravens’ scoring troubles have landed them in last place in the RSEQ in total goals for with only 15, trailing the next lowest team, the University of Ottawa, which has 22 goals for in one less game played.

The top skater on the Ravens is Katia Boulianne who leads the team with four points over 10 games. The rest of the RSEQ has at least two players with five or more points in as many games and with every team having at least one player in the RSEQ top 20 for scoring, except for Carleton.

Alain has credited goaltender Katelyn Steele as the most outstanding player on the team so far. In her 10 games played, Steele has recorded a .914 save percentage as the team’s starting goaltender. She has also played the most total minutes of any goalie in the RSEQ with 611 minutes played in 10 games started.

“All the games we’ve played are playoff games. They all mean something. There’s no easy game at all. For us and for our opponents, so it makes the level of competition very high,” Alain said.

The Ravens are in one of the toughest leagues in U Sports women’s hockey with Montreal and McGill both having won U Sports national championships within the last four years. The Ravens have placed last in the league every year since 2012-13.

After the break, the Ravens will be back in action on Jan. 5 and 7 to take on the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and the Montreal Carabins.

Photo by Dan Robertson