(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)
By: Henry Whitfield
AUS Women’s Varsity Hockey Preview
With the regular season wrapped up and teams in their final playoff positions, it’s time to preview the playoffs and the drama about to unfold at the Dalhousie Memorial Arena.
Six teams will vie for a spot in Alberta at the 2012 CIS Women’s Hockey Championship, battling it out for a place in the finals on Sunday and the AUS crown.
St. Francis Xavier X-Women (20-4-0)
Lead by the offensive tandem of Alex Normore and Janelle Parent, St. FX is poised for yet another run at the AUS crown. Despite a challenge all season by second place Aigles Bleues, the X-Women held off the charge and secured first in the league through explosive offence and solid defence.
Leading Scorers: Alex Normore (24-31-55), Janelle Parent (26-33-49)
Head Coach: David Synishin (10th Season)
UdeM Aigles Bleues (16-5-3)
After a highflying start to the season, Moncton cooled off down the stretch slumping to just four wins in their last ten games. Kathy Desjardins has been outstanding in net all season and lead all goaltenders with 13 wins. The offence has clipped along at a steady rate, scoring almost four goals a game.
Leading Scorers: Marie-M Poirier (24-12-36), Johannie Thibeault (8-23-31)
Head Coach: Dennis Ross
Mount Allison Mounties (14-6-3)
After a number of years at the bottom of the AUS, the Mounties made a surprise charge up the rankings and won their last seven games, outscoring their opponents 35 to 14, with wins over both StFX and Moncton and a final season 9-1 win over Saint Mary’s.
Leading Scorers: Katelyn Morton (17-7-24), Ashlyn Somers (7-17-24)
Head Coach: Zach Ball (3rd Season)
UPEI Panthers (13-10-1)
Scoring by committee helped the Panthers all season, with Kelsey O’Donnell, Ferran Brown, Janelle McKenzie, Amber Gaudette, Keirstin Visser and Jessie Anne Howard all coming up when scoring was needed. Splitting time in net, Kristy Dobson and Bailey Toupin both played well, but Dobson carried the majority of play down the stretch and will need to step up and be counted in the playoffs.
Leading Scorers: Kelsey O’Donnell (8-12-20), Ferran Brown (9-9-18
Head Coach: Bruce Donaldson (3rd Season)
St. Thomas Tommies (11-12-1)
The Tommies rode consistency all season, their longest losing streak at three games early in the season, beating the top two teams 3-1 in their final four bouts. To press on in the tournament, the Tommies will need Julia Sharun to continue her strong season between the pipes.
Leading Scorers: Kayla Blackmore (16-14-30), Danielle Miller (8-13-21)
Head Coach: Peter Murphy (10th Season)
Dalhousie Tigers (9-12-3)
A change behind the bench for the Tigers resulted in a different style of play down the stretch, with All-time scorer Jocelyn Leblanc once again leading the charge. Finishing the season with three straight wins, the Tigers will be hoping to use the energy of a home-crowd to push into the finals on Sunday. The biggest bright spot will be the play of Robin Nicholson, who missed much of the season due to injury, but managed to score score 12 goals and end with 17 points in just 13 games.
Leading Scorers: Jocelyn Leblanc (23-12-35), Jenna Currie (5-20-25)
Head Coach: Sean Fraser (1st Season)
The tournament will kick off on Thursday, with host’s Dalhousie Tigers hosting league leading and defending champion St. Francis Xavier X-Women at 3pm. Check out all the games on SSN Canada, where Steve Betts and Henry Whitfield from the Sportstream team will have the call.
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Thursday, March 1st
Game #1: StFX (1st) vs. Dalhousie (6th), 3:00pm
Game #2: Moncton (2nd) vs. St. Thomas (5th), 7:00pm
Friday, March 2nd
Game #3: UPEI (4th) vs. Loser Game #1, 3:00pm
Game #4: Mount Allison (3rd) vs. Loser Game #2, 7:00pm
Saturday, March 3rd
Game #5: UPEI (4th) vs. Winner Game #1, 3:00pm
Game #6: Mount Allison (3rd) vs. Winner Game #2, 7:00pm
Sunday, March 4th
Championship Game: Pool “A” winner vs. Pool “B” winner, 2:00pm
Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.