Women's Hockey: AUS Update for Feb. 19

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

Playoff Upsets

Sport would be nothing without the classic playoff upset. Mount Allison will be in tough against the X-Women on Thursday but defeated them in the playoffs last year so anything is possible. Hosting the tournament on home ice, the Mounties could get a boost from the expected crowds, and it might be what the team needs to succeed. Moncton was in a heated battle with mediocrity all season that featured both high and low points. While they have yet to prove it, they should never be taken lightly and could provide a shock to the Tommies or Huskies. UPEI is hungry to atone for last year's showing at nationals but will need to get their scoring going and consistent goaltending to make it happen.

Mounties edge Huskies in home finale

It wasn't pretty but the Mounties put the finishing touches on a regular season that most would like to forget. The Mounties held their ceremony for graduating players, featuring standout players such as team captain Lauren Oickle and goaltender Megan Corley-Byrne. The impact of losing these players next year has yet to be seen but they will still face a number of questions in the off-season. Kate O'Brien looked confident in net against a potent Tommies offence last Wednesday while the Mounties will look to veterans such as Lindsay James and Megan Cameron to pick up the slack on offence.

Season reflection

At the beginning of the year I predicted where each team would finish in the AUS standings. Let's see how I did.
  1. St. Francis Xavier (predicted finish: 1) — The X-Women were an easy pick after taking first place in the standings the past two years.
  2. St. Thomas (5) — Powered by their veterans, the Tommies made me eat my words week after week ever since the beginning of the season.
  3. Saint Mary's (7) — Two words to explain my error of putting the Huskies seventh: Sienna Cooke.
  4. UPEI (3) — This pick was hit or miss. I assumed that the Panthers would experience some sort of championship hangover but they finished in the same spot as they did last year.
  5. Moncton (4) — Moncton was hard to read and ended up slipping a position from my predicted finish. They can still compete with the best of the teams in the AUS but need to find consistency against the lower tier teams.
  6. Mount Allison (2) — A shoulder injury to returning captain Lauren Oickle was hard to predict. A 46 goal drop in offensive production was even harder to imagine.
  7. Dalhousie (6) — It's hard to predict a program getting suspended but I still wasn't that far off as the Tigers were 2-8-2 before having their season cut short.

Power Rankings (Our rankings as of Feb. 14 in parentheses)

  1. St. Francis Xavier (1) — Sunday's game was close but Kristy Garrow stopped everything she saw for the X-Women's third shutout of this season.
  2. Saint Mary's (2) — Two goals in three games isn't the best way to end the season but the Huskies will be a threat against St. Thomas and Moncton in Pool B play.
  3. St. Thomas (3) — The Tommies closed out their season at home with a strong win over Moncton. Graduating players Kayla Blackmore, Courtney Fox and Julia Sharun will be looking to earn the Tommies' first ever AUS Womens' Hockey Championship.
  4. Moncton(4) — A horrendous January (1-4-2) was followed by a so-so February in which they lost to the lowly Mounties on home ice. It gets worse: 2 of their 3 wins in February came as a result of forfeits to the suspended Dalhousie Tigers.
  5. UPEI(5) — The Panthers were on the losing end of two shutouts but on the winning end of another. Kristy Dobson was in net for the win and the 1-0 loss to the X-Women. She'll be looking to regain her form in the AUS Championships.
  6. Mount Allison (6) — The Mounties ended their season on a winning note in the shootout thanks to Megan Cameron but will need much more if they are to get past the X-Women in the championship.
  7. Dalhousie (7) — Technically they tied Moncton for goals against. That's one positive to take away from this season.
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