Blaze overwhelm Hype in opener
The Portage Blaze couldn't have gotten off to a much better start to their Winnipeg Women's Soccer League season.
The Blaze (1-0-0) defeated the Hanover Hype 2-0 at Republic of Manitobah Park on Sunday afternoon.
Team captain Caitlin Pringle scored the team's first goal of the season just eight minutes in, while Janelle Wojtowicz put the icing on the cake by converting short-side on the Hype goaltender in the second half.
Katie Ward stood tall in net to pitch the shutout.
Pringle was honoured to put home the Blaze's first goal of the regular season and the eventual game winner.
"Any time you get to score a goal, it feels good. You don't get a lot of chances to do it," said Pringle. "It was perfect. The wind helped me out, let it hang up a little bit.
"There were lots of good passes to it, so it was a good team effort."
Head coach Bryan Mintenko said he was impressed with the offence, as it generated several chances and put the pressure on the Hype. On the flip side, Ward wasn't tested often, but was sharp when needed as the defence was able to suffocate the Hanover charge.
"Only two went in, but you only need one or two to win," said Mintenko. "We didn't have to contend with too much on defence. There were a few dangerous chances, but we were able to push it outside and up the field."
As the Blaze struggled to score goals in the latter third of the 2011 season, Mintenko went into this year's season looking to upgrade the attack. Wojtowicz is a rookie who's paid immediate dividends on the scoresheet, while others have also contributed.
"Four of them (rookie players) are very good offensively," said Mintenko. "I could tell from the tryouts that we would have a bit better offence, so I signed those girls up.
"Janelle had a nice one, and she also scored in the preseason game. She works hard; so does Jade (Barrault) - all of our forwards and outside midfielders work really hard, and especially this game, we worked really hard."
For more, please see Monday's edition of the Portage Daily Graphic.