The playoff race was about as clear as Atlantic Canada was this past weekend, as winter storm Nemo wrecked havoc on AUS Women's hockey and university sport across Atlantic Canada. After three makeup games were played on Wednesday, the standings are a little clearer. St. Thomas' last minute goal by Kenya Marcelline against Mt. A gave them the clinching victory for second place. The Saint Mary's Huskies' 2-1 loss in OT to the X-Women gave the Huskies a valuable point, but not the two they were looking for; they remain in third place. On the island, UPEI had a chance to end Moncton's hopes of finishing in fourth place or better but fell 4-0. Moncton will occupy the fifth spot permanently if they do not beat St. Thomas this weekend.
O'Brien makes debut for Mt. A
With nothing to play for until the playoffs except pride, the Mounties started second-year goaltender Kate O'Brien against the second-place St. Thomas Tommies on Wednesday night. The result was not that bad for a goaltender making her debut against the league's second ranked offence. 21 saves on 22 shots with the only goal coming in the final ninety seconds during a mad scramble in front of the net. For her efforts, she was named second star of the game by Argosy Sports ahead of opposing goaltender Kristin Wolfe. Mt. A Athletics staff member Wray Perkin noted that it was the first debut for a goaltender in Mt. A uniform since Nov. 9, 2009 when current Mounties back up Jenelle Hulan made her debut. The future for the Mounties in net looks solidified for now with Corley-Byrne graduating in May.
Who could challenge for the AUS title?
All eyes will be on Alex Normore and the St. Francis Xavier X-Women next Thursday when the AUS Women's Hockey championship kicks off in Sackville, NB. There are five other teams who could make a run at the title. Saint Mary's has the edge of being the only team to beat the X-Women this season, and Sienna Cooke has proved that if needed, she can steal a game in net for them. St. Thomas has cooled off recently, but with goaltending depth and scoring coming from all angles, they can't be taken lightly. Last year's championship game finalists, UPEI and Mount Allison faltered early this year and subsequently recovered to different degrees of success. Both teams will be hungry to get back to the title game. Moncton has had an up and down season. On the upside, they beat St. Thomas and held the X-Women to two goals in a game. On the downside, they've been beat by Mount Allison twice and also suffered large defeats by the X-Women and Tommies. They'll be a threat, but it's just a question of which team will show up.
Power Rankings (Our rankings as of Feb. 5 in parentheses)
- St. Francis Xavier (1) — They were pushed to overtime by the Huskies on Wednesday night but still found a way to win. That's 16 wins in a row for those of you counting.
- Saint Mary's (2) — Sienna Cooke has been rock solid in net this year but the team's success will rely on their ability to give Cooke some help on the scoreboard.
- St. Thomas (4) — Big wins this week against UPEI and Mt. A allowed the Tommies to clinch second place.
- Moncton (5) — A big win on the Island kept their hopes for fourth place alive.
- UPEI (3) — A tough loss at home to Moncton and on the road against St. Thomas didn't help the Pathers but they are still in the thick of things.
- Mount Allison (6) — A big win on the road in Moncton was what the doctor ordered for the Mounties. The team played well against the second place Tommies Wednesday night but lost on a late goal.
- Dalhousie (7) — Stay the course.