By Еvan Osentоn
The U of C women’s hockey squad is the winningest Dino team on campus. However, you wouldn’t know that from asking head coach Julie Healy.
"I didn’t realize that," said Healy. "I haven’t really been paying attention, comparatively speaking."
Healy’s modesty in the face of recent success is staggering–the Dinos are coming off a weekend in which they systematically destroyed the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, and, at 7-1, they’re ranked third in the nation.
Healy downplayed the team’s recent successes, which included a 7-0 shutout on Friday and a 5-1 victory on Saturday saying the team simply stuck to their game plan.
"They were really nice victories," said Healy. "We set out to accomplish some things, we met the objectives we’d set out for the games, so that was really important. We don’t always look at the result of the game as an indication of how we performed as a team."
The head coach added she is pleased with the team’s progress.
"UBC played us very physically; they kept it close. It was 1-0 after the first and 2-0 after the second, and we persisted. We won the one-on-one battles, stuck to the game plan, and exploded in the third to put a few away to ice the win. We’re getting better at winning the one-on-one battles, especially in the red zone. We measure our success by how successful we are at the two bluelines; the decisions we made."
Healy stressed that wins are only important if the team is playing as well as it can–that a hard fought loss might be a better learning experience than a lazily played victory.
"You’re not satisfied as a coach when team performance is below expectations, even if you get the two points," she said.
Healy stated she is pleased the Dinos are gelling and playing well as a team, adding that they aren’t repeating mistakes made frequently earlier in the season.
"We had contributions from all kinds of different people on the team," she said. "I guess this is just another step in our development in reaching the goals we set out for ourselves early in the season. Our focus has always been about team performance. You’re not going to win as a team if you put all the weight on two or three people’s shoulders."
Healy’s philosophies seem to be sinking in. The Dino’s victories over the weekend were the result of several players stepping it up, adherence to fundamentals, and an overall solid team effort.
Even the Dinos’ conditioning is improving, says Healy.
"We’re getting better at playing two games back to back with a short lineup. We only had five defence and eight forwards–that’s a pretty small lineup. Our game conditioning is getting better because fatigue wasn’t a factor this past weekend."
Although the Dinos were a couple of players short on the weekend (several players are practicing with the National Team in preparation for the Three Nations Cup) other players, such as Carol Scheibel (with a seven point weekend), Katherine Devereaux, Mariann MacDougall, Sue Lippitt, and Stacy Sorensen played especially well to make up for a shorter bench.
"For the most part, we’ve progressed to where I wanted us to be," said Healy. "We still have quite a bit to accomplish. We’d like to be close to our best when we play U of A on the 22-23 of January. We’re aiming to be as best as we can be at that point in the season–two weeks before Canada West."
The Dinos’ next game is Jan. 14, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. at the Olympic Oval against the Lethbridge Pronghorns.