By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
After a series of moves in the offseason, the UOIT women’s hockey team is raring up for a successful regular season of university hockey.
In preseason action, the team went 1-3-1, with the single victory coming over the Ryerson Rams.
While that record may not be exactly what head coach Just Caruana was hoping for, the preseason was a good chance to figure out where the team stands.
“Really, the first couple games, it was kind of a feeling out process, seeing what we had, but it’s starting to come together,” he says.
“We’re starting to see a lot of good habits. The girls are buying in and I think we’re going to have an exciting, hard-working team once we get the season rolling.”
The team will not have to wait long with the regular season getting underway this weekend, set to open the year on the road against York on Oct. 15 before returning home the next day to face off against the Nipissing Lakers.
With such a young hockey program, Caruana is aware his team is dealing with some historic hockey clubs. However, he says it could be an advantage.
“By all means, our league is a very deep league all around. There’s a lot of parity,” he says. “We’re really going to work to catch a lot of the top teams off guard and battle with the mid-tier teams.”
Caruana also notes his roster has gained some serious depth over last season, which will prove to be an asset with a lot of young talented payers.
“That’s really helped to bring up the overall competitiveness of the team,” he says.
“Right now, the way we see it, they’re able to step in and fill rolls if need be, if someone is not performing or injuries or whatever may be.”
That dept may help improve on the club’s finish from last season, which saw them miss the postseason for the second straight year. However, the club did end the year on a three-game winning streak – something Caruana hopes to build on moving forward.
“Every team, their goal at the start of the year should be obviously to win the championship,” he says.
“But I think something we’d really like to challenge for would be to get into the playoffs this year. I think that’s a realistic goal and that’s something we’re really going to push and strive toward.”
Puck drop for the home opener on Oct. 16 is set for 3:30 p.m.