Women’s hockey team punches championship ticket

The Huskies are hoping to make history.

The Huskies are hoping to make history.

After a 2-1 victory over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, the Huskies women’s hockey team will have a chance to play for the Canada West championship. The Huskies will host the best-of-three championship series on Feb. 28 – March 2 at Rutherford Rink.

Standing in the Huskies’ way will be the University of Regina Cougars, who upset the University of Alberta Pandas in the other semi-final. The winner will advance to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship held at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B. during March 13-16.

Leading the head-to-head 3-1, the Dogs have gotten the better of the Cougars during the regular season. The Huskies should also be the more confident team, coming off five wins to finish the regular season while the Cougars ended with five losses.

Based on the regular season results, the Huskies are the favourites but the Cougars have already upset the number one ranked Pandas and will want to take home the title just as much as the Huskies.

Playing on familiar ice should favour the Dogs, who are 11-3 at home while the Cougars are 5-9 away. A boisterous home crowd could also help propel the Huskies to victory.

The Dogs have routinely had a higher scoring offence, averaging 2.5 goals per game while the Cougars net only 1.6. Defensively the Huskies have also been the stronger team, allowing only 1.6 goals against them per game while the Cougars surrender 2.2.

Boasting two of the top scorers in the league, Cami Wooster and Sara Greschner — who have scored 15 and 13 goals respectively — the Huskies will look to get on the board early. The goaltending duo of Karen Lefsrud and Cassidy Hendricks have been tough in net all year, turning away 93 per cent of shots and should be a frustrating obstacle for the Cougars’ offence.

The Cougars lineup does not have the same offensive firepower as the Huskies. Meghan Sherven is the team’s top scorer with six goals and the Cougars have only scored 46 points over the course of the season compared the Dogs’ 70.  In net the Cougars’ goaltenders Toni Ross and Jennifer Schmidt have been equally effective with a save percentage of 93.

If the Huskies are able to maintain their form, they could bring home the Canada West championship banner for the first time.

Puck drops at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 and March 1 and, if necessary, March 2.


Photo: Josh Schaefer Photography