Big dreams for the Huskies as three teams head to U Sports nationals

By in Sports & Health

The Huskies teams look great this year, with three teams at the national championships — the women’s basketball team played in the championships from March 8-11, and the women’s and men’s hockey teams are slated to start national playoffs on March 15 and 16, respectively.

The women’s basketball team made it through three games over the past week, winning the first game against the Acadia University Axewomen with a score of 72-67 and the second game against the University of Regina Cougars with a score of 74-71. Unfortunately, in the gold-medal game, they lost to the Carleton University Ravens with a score of 69-48, leaving them to conclude their season with silver.

The women’s basketball national championships took place at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport in Regina. A key player in the Huskies’ quarter-final game was second-year forward Summer Masikewich, who earned the team 25 points, most of which were in the second half of the game.

Their semi-final game against the U of R was a close game, with second-year point guard Libby Epoch securing the winning shot in the final minutes of the game. With a three-point shot, Epoch secured the win over the Cougars and a trip to the championship game.

Masikewich led the Huskies against the Ravens, in terms of points, with 19 altogether in the last game of the weekend. Although they got second place, the women’s team has not missed a trip to nationals in five years and took home the gold as recently as the 2015-16 season.

As for the men’s and women’s hockey teams, they are preparing to refine their game after their respective losses in the Canada West playoffs. Kendall McFaull, fifth-year mechanical engineering student and captain of the men’s hockey team, discusses the upcoming games.

“We’re pretty excited. Obviously, Canada West finals didn’t go how we planned against Alberta, but we’ve had a week to regroup and get everybody healthy and focused on the national championship,” McFaull said.

Two of the team’s key players and forwards — Logan McVeigh and Josh Roach — will be returning after their injuries to reunite with the team in nationals. McFaull looks forward to bringing the team to Fredericton for the tournament.

“Whenever we start a year, one of our goals is to make it to nationals, so I think when we beat Calgary in the playoffs to clinch that spot in nationals, that was probably the highlight, and [it was] pretty huge for us to score with 24 seconds left in game three,” McFaull said.

The women’s hockey team has also been regrouping after their loss in the Canada West finals. Kaitlin Willoughby, fifth-year nursing student and captain of the women’s hockey team, is also excited to lead the team to the national championships for the first time since 2014.

“We had an amazing second half of the season and clinched second place, and then, we played against [the] University of British Columbia at home and won to go to the finals, so that whole sequence of events was pretty amazing,” Willoughby said.

Although there is some tough competition, Willoughby explains that the team has been working on perfecting their gameplay and that they will play to their strengths to help them in the national championship.

“I think we’re one of the top defensive teams in the league, so it’s really hard for other teams to score against us, which is probably one of our biggest strengths.”

Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer

Graphic: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor