Women's Hockey: AUS Update for Jan. 11

Another in our regular series, checking in with AUS women's hockey.

Tigers season tamed by university

With their 2012-2013 season officially done, the Dalhousie Women's hockey team has one battle left before they can head into the off season: the survival of their program. Of the 24 players on the roster, only the rookies were spared by the university from suspension. Without enough players left to play, the Tigers forfeited all their games in the second half of the season. Members of the women's team and university administration continue to play a confusing game of 'he said, she said' that will only hurt the women's hockey team in the end. It will be interesting to see whether players from the team jump ship or stick with the program. If the program does survive, it's worthwhile keeping an eye on the level of support they receive from the Athletic department.

Playoff teams set but nothing else certain ahead of postseason

With the early end to the Tigers' season, the playoff teams have been confirmed for the AUS Championships which will take place February 21-24 in Sackville. Mount Allison, comprised of a huge influx of rookies this season, were saved twice by Dalhousie's early departure. As host, the Mounties automatically qualified for the playoffs. Their 4-6-4 record has been aided by two straight wins against the Tigers: one at the beginning of December and one match forfeited by the Tigers on January 20. With the recent surge by the X-Women the Mounties will be in tough if the standings remain the same for the playoffs. Facing off against the current CIS 6th-ranked X-Women followed by a match up against Saint Mary's or Moncton could mean an early exit for the Mounties in the playoffs on home ice in February.

X-Women pull away from AUS competition

A run of 7 straight wins (not counting three victories against Dalhousie at a later date) have the X-Women pulling away as the first-place team in the AUS. With Alex Normore scoring at a clip of almost one-and-a-half points per game and Kristy Garrow stifling AUS opponents between the pipes, things are rolling along for X. They are facing their strongest opponents to ring in the 2013 portion of the regular season schedule but will eventually finish off the season facing the league's worst teams a total of four times in the final month of play. The X-Women have consistently had strong regular seasons but post-season success has come inconsistently over the past few years. Last year, their run ended in the semi-finals against eventual champions UPEI but when the teams travel to Sackville on the last weekend of February the X-Women will be hungry for their second AUS title in three years.

Power Rankings (Our rankings as of Nov. 22 in parentheses)

  1. St. Francis Xavier (1) — Expanding their lead in the AUS and a CIS ranking are just the latest accolades for this team.
  2. St. Thomas (2) — For a team currently 6-1 at home, playing 4 out of their 7 final games in Fredericton is nothing to complain about.
  3. Saint Mary's (6) — Up some weeks and down in others, the Huskies need to find consistency but fortunately for them this is a good week.
  4. Moncton (4) — Despite 2nd and 6th place being separated by 11 points, Moncton finds some way to always remain in 4th.
  5. UPEI (3) — The Panthers' playoff drive will start early as their final five games consist of two against the X-Women and one against each of the Tommies, Huskies and Aigles Bleues.
  6. Mount Allison (5) — Scoring 20 goals in 14 games isn't good enough at any level.
  7. Dalhousie (7) — Looking to the future and to a supportive fan base for when they return to the ice.
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