(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Lancer women’s hockey team is gearing up for the start of the 2012-13 season. The Blue & Gold are coming off a solid 2011-12 season that saw them earn a third straight berth into the OUA post season.
The graduation of key veterans Candace Rapchak and Manon Davis leaves some spots to fill in the line-up, but graduation brings opportunity for other to step up and shine.
On offense, fifth year forward Alyssa Baldin is back at the helm of the Lancers and will be this year’s team captain. Baldin, along with third year forward Candace Chevalier, provide an unmatched commitment to winning and a wealth of experience that will help lead the Lancers back into the post season for the third straight season.
Baldin played only 14 games last season before being side-lined with a broken collarbone. However, she had 10 goals and 15 points and only failed to pick up a point in three contests.
Courtney Spoors, a 2011-12 OUA all-rookie team member and the team’s leading scorer, will also be counted on for her offensive flair and scoring touch.
Defensively, the Lancers will be lead by third year defenseman Adalina Tridico. An athlete who can play all situations, Tridico will be looked to lead a young Lancer defence.
In addition to Tridico, the blue-line will be manned by the solid group of Annie Armstrong, Lindsay Hoogstraten and Kayla Dodson. But to bolster the depth on the blue-line head coach Jim Hunter is also converting Caitlin Connell, along with rookie Natalie Barrette, to defence.
Goaltender Karlyle Robinson is also expected to have a big year. Stepping into the role of starting goaltender, the second year St. Catharine’s, Ontario native has had an excellent pre-season allowing only one goal in three games played.
Head coach Jim Hunter has been extremely impressed with her performance thus far. “Karlyle has been real good in the pre-season. She’s battling for the puck better, and she’s established herself as our No. 1.”
Hunter has also brought in top recruit Jillian Rops for the 2012-13 season. The standout defenseman is expected to add a significant presence on the Lancer blue line this year, and for years to come.
Rops joins the Lancers from Sarnia Midget AA, where she served as an assistant captain last season. Also a graduate from Lambton Central Collegiate, the Petrolia, Ontario native recorded 16 points in 14 games played with her high school club and was named to the LSSAA all-star team.
“Jillian brings tons of speed,” Hunter said. “She’s way better than I thought she’d be at this point. She’s a tall girl with a big reach. Her work ethic is a big part of her game. Combine it all together and she’s going to be a good one.”
“This year’s team is very talented and very deep,” commented Hunter. ““We’re going to be an aggressive team. We’ll put pressure on the puck using our speed, and we’re going to force teams to try and beat us with skill.”
The Lancers will open their OUA regular-season Saturday against Waterloo at South Windsor Arena, and will face the Laurier Golden Hawks Sunday to complete the home doubleheader. Both games are set for 4:10pm.