Having established herself as the finest forward in OUA women’s ice hockey, Windsor Lancers scoring sensation Krystin Lawrence is a marvel. Recognized as the OUA Player of the Year, it signifies the second Lancers player in four seasons to claim this award. Following in the footsteps of Jenny MacKnight, the recipient in 2014, Lawrence also joins Alyssa Baldin among a group of distinguished competitors contributing towards a legacy of exceptional talent in program history.
Starting the 2016-17 season with back-to-back multi-point performances, Lawrence, who was raised in nearby Tecumseh, would record eight points in the season’s first six games. Skating alongside the likes of Shawna Lesperance and Erinn Noseworthy, who comprised the top three scorers for the Lancers in 2015-16, their on-ice chemistry was essential towards qualifying for the 2017 postseason.
Finishing said season with an astounding 10 multi-point performances, it only scratches the surface of the offensive brilliance that Lawrence brought to the rink. Amassing a conference-high 32 points, on the strength of 23 goals, it represented the second straight scoring title in her university career.
Displaying a remarkable consistency, she registered at least one point in 20 regular season games, highlighted by five game-winning goals. Her scoring brilliance was evident in an 11-game streak, which began on the road in a November 13 tilt versus Waterloo. Culminating on January 22, 2017 with a goal against Brock, Lawrence recorded 13 goals and six assists for an amazing 19 points.
Of note, the streak also included her two best offensive performances of the season. Setting the tone as an offensive catalyst in both contests, Lawrence provided a three-point road outing against Western, as Windsor prevailed by a convincing 8-1 tally. Followed by a superlative four points in a 5-0 blanking of Ryerson on January 8, it was the first win of 2017 for the program.
Recognized as the OUA’s Player of the Year and an OUA First-Team All-Star, it marked the third consecutive season that Lawrence had conference accolades bestowed upon her. Starting with 2015 OUA All-Rookie Team honors, she followed it up in her sophomore season with a First-Team All-Star nod. The superlative season that Lawrence assembled for 2016-17 was enhanced by another proud conference honor. Showing strong team spirit throughout, Lawrence was also jubilant that teammate Natalie Barrette, a fifth-year competitor, earned her second straight spot among the OUA Second Team All-Stars, bringing her career to a jubilant finish.
“It meant a lot to be named OUA player of the year. It is something I have been working towards since I came into the league in the 2014/15 season. All the hard work and dedication, (it) all paid off this season! I was very happy to see my teammate Natalie be named to the OUA second team. She is one of best defensemen in the league, and even the country, so that’s a great accomplishment for her in her last year!”
Adding to such a monumental milestone was the fact that Lawrence gained a well-deserved place among the best in the nation. Named to the U SPORTS All-Canadian Second Team, it represented a career first. Of the 12 players who gained All-Canadian status, Lawrence is the only forward from the OUA to have this honor bestowed upon her, which adds luster to her superstar status in the conference.
Statistically, Lawrence was definitely among one of the nation’s most outstanding forwards. One of only nine forwards with at least 30 points among all U SPORTS skaters, she ranked seventh overall in the national scoring race. Along with Sarah Bujold of the St. Francis Xavier X-Women, they were the only two forwards to register at least 20 goals during the 2016-17 season.
Lawrence would rank second in goals scored to Bujold, who also won the scoring race with 43 points, having scored just one more goal to finish with 24. Joined by Brianna Lanceleve of the Saint Mary’s Huskies, and fellow OUA rivals, Western Mustangs forward Lindsay Kirkham (who logged 31 points), and Kaitlin Lowy, whose Guelph Gryphons opposed the Lancers in the first round of the playoffs, all would record five game winning tallies, a four-way tie for second place, trailing Bujold, who led the way nationally with six.
“I was very proud to be recognized as a U Sports All-Canadian. It is something that is hard to accomplish because you are going against all the universities, not only in Ontario, but in Canada. Again, it is something that I’ve been working towards and hopefully I can continue this success for my final two years!”
A significant aspect to the Lancers sporting legacy of Lawrence extends beyond hockey. Having built a reputation as an elite two-sport star, Lawrence is also the starting goalkeeper for the Lancers’ soccer team. On the pitch, she established herself as a key contributor for the program’s unprecedented playoff run.
Showing tremendous poise in the first round of the OUA women’s soccer playoffs, as the Lancers prevailed in an emotional matchup against McMaster that required penalty kicks to determine the winner, Lawrence duplicated her success in the following round. Taking on the top-ranked York Lions, Lawrence provided perfect play in the penalty kick portion of the match, as qualified for their first-ever appearance in the OUA Final Four.
Akin to her hockey achievements, Lawrence was also recognized with OUA All-Star honors in soccer. Named to the OUA West Division First-Team All-Stars, she was joined by midfielder Abby Hunt, who captured West Division MVP honors. As a side note, the West’s Second Team All-Stars consisted of teammates Keely Baggio on defense, midfielder Giulia Barile and forward Becca Fuerth.
Posting a sparkling 0.64 goals-against average, including shutouts in half of her starts, complemented by a solid .833 save percentage, it was the type of performance that only added to her growing legend. Based on the performances in both sports, the 2016-17 season culminated in recognition with the Banner Shield Award. Given to the Windsor Lancers top female student-athlete during the university’s annual awards banquet dubbed the Evening of Excellence, it was an exceptional way to commemorate a celebrated season.
Considering that Lawrence has just wrapped up her third season of athletic competition with the university, there is a remarkable build-up of anticipation with regards to the potential for more heroics on the ice and on the pitch in the two seasons of eligibility remaining. Undoubtedly, her athletic prowess allows her to be an ambassador for Lancers athletics, while emerging as an exceptional role model.
Employing a confident yet pleasant demeanor, Lawrence is happily reaping the rewards of her commitment towards elite performance. Finding tremendous enjoyment in such a rich and fulfilling time in her sporting endeavors, Lawrence represents a tower of strength, able to balance her athletic obligations and academic responsibilities with great assurance. Although her greatest accomplishment may be making it all look so easy, the true legacy of Lawrence’s time with the Lancers may be the fact that she embodies the potential women have to be admired icons in Canadian university sport,
“Honestly, balancing both sports and academics has been pretty easy. People may think it is very difficult but I am getting it done. It may be stressful at times, when it comes to conflicts between two sports, but that is it. It is all worth it in the end and I am so glad (that) I am able to play two sports while getting an education and I would not want to change anything!”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Photo credits: Gerry Marentette, Michael P Hall, Nick Brancaccio, Windsor Lancers Athletics, Other images obtained from: https://twitter.com/krystinlawrence