Women's Hockey: AUS Update for Jan. 23

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

Panthers rolling at the right time

After getting out to a slow start, the Panthers have been clicking for the start of 2013. Last Saturday's game against Mount Allison marked the first power play goals given up by the Panthers since their game on Nov. 18, which was against the Mounties as well. Since that game in November, UPEI has gone 6-1 after starting the season out 1-3. Finally, the Panthers have tackled questions of offensive output through scoring by committee. They are currently averaging 1.45 assists per goal and all but one Panther player has factored in on a goal this season.

Tommies cooling off

After only recording three losses in their first two months of play, the Tommies have lost 4 of their last 6. The road to the AUS playoffs doesn't get any easier for the Tommies as they make a trip to face UPEI in their only match this coming weekend. This game will be crucial for the Tommies given their recent woes as they won't play again for two weeks, until Feb. 9 at Mount Allison, after Saturday's upcoming game. Julia Sharun continues to have a solid season with four shutouts, including two in her last four games. She has had some rough outings against the X-Women allowing six goals twice and four goals once. The playoff atmosphere may yield a different result come late February.

Huskies rebounding well

For the first half of the season, the Huskies were holding their ground. A 6-5-2 record was a large improvement over the 1-8-1 record they had at the same point during the 2011-2012 campaign. After last season's debacle (over five goals allowed per game in a league that averaged three), a youth movement has taken over in the south end of Halifax. Rookie forward Brianna Soper is tied for the team lead in points and fellow first-year Billee Canning (despite playing defence) is tied for the team lead in goals with senior Kaitlyn Abbass. The Huskies' youth movement is also extended between the pipes where Sienna Cooke has a 9-6-1 record, 1.79 goals against-average and .938 save percentage in her first season of AUS hockey. The core going forward in future years could be the foundation for the Huskies winning their first AUS championship since 2010.

Power Rankings (Our rankings as of Jan. 11 in parentheses)

  1. St. Francis Xavier (1) — A win over the second-place Tommies and fifth-place Moncton padded the X-Women's lead to 9 points.
  2. St. Thomas (2) — A tough loss to the X-Women at home sealed them off from first place (9 points back with 4 games to play). Now they must focus on finishing ahead of the next three teams on this list.
  3. UPEI (5) — The victory over the Mounties was their sixth straight with their last loss in overtime against the Huskies on Nov. 30.
  4. Saint Mary's (3) — Technically a winless weekend since their one win was a forfeited game by Dalhousie.
  5. Moncton (4) — The only solace after weekend losses to the Huskies and X-Women is that a match-up with the 4-9-4 Mounties is their only one this weekend.
  6. Dalhousie (7) — Their case to not be in last here is that they offer some hope that they'll be determined to compete hard next season.
  7. Mount Allison (6) — They have yet to win a game on the ice in 2013.
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