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The ups and downs of a losing season

Ontario Tech women's hockey coach Justin Caruana reflects on 2019-20

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

As the Ontario Tech University Ridgebacks women’s hockey season draws to a close, head coach Justin Caruana concedes it’s been a year of ups and downs.

The team currently sits in second last in the standings with a 8-13 record, good enough for 19 points, placing them 27 behind the first place University of Toronto.

However, despite their record, Caruana remains positive.

To start the season, the Ridgebacks struggled through a nine game losing streak, which Caruana credits to bounces not necessarily going their way.

However, since the streak ended they have gone 8-4

Caruana says looking back at the beginning of the season and comparing it to the present, there hasn’t been a huge shift in the team’s on ice performance.

“We just started to get a few more bounces that went our way,” he says. “I really think we were playing a complete game, but not a ton has changed.”

With only three games remaining on the team’s schedule, Caruana is preaching a consistent effort to his players, and wants to make sure the team maintains good habits.

Caruana says he has seen solid performances from several of his players, singling out forwards Natalie Wozney and Megan Johnston.

He says Wozney has been a major force on offense, as she leads the team with 21 points, tallying eight goals and 13 assists thus far.

Johnston is a mere three points behind Wozney for the team lead in points with 18, stemming from five goals and 13 assists.

“She’s done a really good job [on stepping up this season],” says Caruana about the third year forward.

He says he’s really proud of his team this season because they didn’t give up despite the disappointing start.

“The girls really stuck together and it made it more meaningful when we got that first win,” he says.

Whether they win or lose, Caruana says his team wants to “lay it all on the line.”

The Ridgebacks are back in action Friday, Feb. 7 at home against the Windsor Lancers. The game takes place at the Campus Ice Centre.