By Sam Laskaris
From an individual standpoint, Delaney Ross is faring well in the first half of her rookie university hockey season.
But the 19-year-old right winger, a member of Saskatchewan’s Canoe Lake First Nation, is perhaps her own harshest critic. She’s not entirely content with her play.
Ross is also wishing her team was enjoying more success. She’s a member of the Ottawa-based Carleton Ravens women’s squad.
Ross is leading the Ravens in scoring following their first 11 contests with 10 points, including a team-high six goals.
But the Carleton squad has posted a 2-8-1 record and is sitting in the basement of its five-team league.
The Ravens compete in a circuit with their crosstown rivals, the Ottawa Gee-Gees, and three Quebec-based clubs; Concordia, McGill and Montreal.
“I guess I’m doing okay for being a rookie and being away from home,” she said. “But it’s not as good as I wanted to be doing.”
Ross said she didn’t have any specific point totals she was hoping to achieve in her first season with the Ravens.
“I just wanted to go with the flow, try my hardest and produce points like I usually do,” she said.
Ross had spent the previous two seasons with the Alberta-based Warner Warriors, who competed in the under-19 Junior Women’s Hockey League. She led the Warriors in scoring last year by compiling 50 points, including 32 goals, in 26 outings.
She also had a team-high 49 points in 27 matches during the 2014-15 campaign.
Ideally Ross would have wanted to be playing south of the border now, in the NCAA. She was heavily recruited and numerous American schools were interested in her services.
But her high school marks were less than ideal, negating any thoughts she had of immediately heading to a U.S. university via an athletic scholarship.
Ross though has not abandoned her hopes of suiting up for an American school. She plans to finish off the current campaign with the Ravens, and possibly play one more season at Carleton before hopefully transferring to an NCAA school.
Ross added she is enjoying her Sociology courses that she is enrolled in and hoping her academic marks will improve.
“It’s going well,” she said. “And it’s definitely different (than high school) to now be working on one subject that you like.”
Coming into the season, Ross knew the Ravens were in a rebuilding mode.
“We do have a very young team,” she said. “We have 10 rookies this year. And we only have two players who are in their fifth year. So we’ll only be losing two players next year.”
Though they’ve only managed a pair of victories sos far, Ross said the Ravens have been in the majority of their contests. Carleton has lost four of its matches by just one goal.
“I think once we get back after Christmas we’ll be a stronger team and start winning more games,” she said.
Ross has completed her first semester at Carleton and has returned to her home in Meadow Lake, Sask She is scheduled to venture back to the nation’s capital on Jan. 2. The Ravens return to action on Jan. 8 with a home game versus Montreal.
Ross added her teammates are encouraged by the fact their two victories are against McGill and Montreal, the clubs holding down the top two spots in the league standings.
“We know we can beat them,” Ross said. “And we know we can keep up with every team in this league.”
The Ravens have nine regular season matches remaining. They currently trail 3-6-1 Concordia, which is holding down the fourth and final playoff spot by a mere two points.
Carleton, however, has played one game more than Concordia. These two teams will play each other three times in the second half of the season.
Ross said participating in a league with just five entrants can be challenging.
“It’s definitely different,” she said. “You know the other teams very well. Their systems won’t change much. I would say it’s harder with five teams because everybody knows each other so well.”