Preview: Women’s hockey closes season against Thunderbirds

The Huskies goalies will have to be sharp to deny the Thunderbirds’ high-scoring offence.

The Huskies goalies will have to be sharp to deny the Thunderbirds’ high-scoring offence.

The Huskies women’s hockey team will lace up their skates for the final time during the regular season to face the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Feb. 7 and 8 at Rutherford Rink.

Boasting a 20-5-1 record, the top-ranked Thunderbirds have been the team to beat in Canada West. The Huskies aren’t far behind, sitting in third place with a 16-4-6 record. The teams met earlier this season for a two-game series, with the Thunderbirds winning both games by the slim margin of only a single goal.

With the post-season just around the corner, the matchup will be an important one for the Dogs. The Huskies trail the second place University of Alberta Pandas by just a single point and may be able to snag the number two seed for playoffs depending on the outcome of this weekend.

The Huskies will have home ice advantage on their side. The Dogs are 9-3 at home and the Thunderbirds are 7-5 on the road compared to an almost perfect 13-1 at home.

Both teams are heading into the final games of the season with confidence. The Thunderbirds are riding a four-game win streak while the Dogs have won their last three games. One of these streaks is guaranteed to end this weekend.

The Thunderbirds have consistently outscored their opponents, netting 72 goals while only seeing 50 scored against them. In net the two teams have the same save rate — 93 per cent — so the game could come down to a battle of the goalies. The duo of Huskies Cassidy Hendricks and Karen Lefsrud have been strong in net all year and should pose a challenge to the Thunderbirds’ offence.

Captain Cami Wooster will look to lead the Huskies’ offence. Wooster has 13 goals and 15 assists so far this season. Kaitlin Willoughby, Sara Greschner and Kandace Cook will also look to contribute to scoring.

The Dogs will have to look out for Thunderbird Tatiana Rafter, the second highest scorer in the country with 19 goals. Rafter has also tallied 17 assists. Nicole Saxvik and Stephanie Schaupmeyer are the other big scorers for the Thunderbirds with 10 and nine goals respectively.

Puck drops at 7 p.m. on Feb. 7 and 8 at Rutherford Rink.


Photo: Jordan Dumba/Photo Editor