By Kirk Jessome
The women’s hockey team was on a mission to build on the success they achieved last year in an effort to move deeper into this season’s AUS playoffs.
They were backstopped by third-year goaltender Fabiana Petricca who led the conference in total saves with 822, 90 more than any other goalie. She boasted a save percentage of .927, fifth-best in the conference.
In front of Petricca, the offence was generated by rookie Taylor Joyce, who led the Tigers in scoring this season with seven. Fellow first-year forward Brooklyn Paisley and third-year Danika Phillips added to the Tigers tally with six goal apiece. Phillips and Tara Morning each had 14 points to lead the way.
On defence, Natalie Stanwood and Lauren Ellerton combined for 23 points with 12 and 11 points respectively. Stanwood’s play earned her an AUS second team all-star honour and a spot on Team Canada’s silver medal-winning FISU team.
The Tigers started the first half of the season with a very solid 4-5-2 record with wins against strong conference opponents in Saint Mary’s and StFX.
After their win against Saint Mary’s, the Tigers struggled to find the back of the net, leading them into a seven-game losing skid that extended into January, averaging just one goal per game.
The Tigers finished the first half of the season with a 4-10-2 record.
They earned some much-needed wins in January, defeating UNB, Moncton, Mount Allison and StFX and a key 1-0 victory over UPEI at the beginning of February kept their playoff hopes alive.
It came down to the final two games of the season, pitting them against Moncton for the final playoff spot. After tough losses to Saint Mary’s and St. Thomas, the Tigers hopes for the post-season were dashed, and they ended their season with a 10-16-2 record.
Shoring up their special teams and tightening up their defensive coverage will be a goal for the Tigers looking ahead to next year. With just two graduating players, the Tigers will be able to use the experience from this season as a building block for the future. Joyce will be looked upon to continue her offensive production as the leading scorer, while Phillips, Paisley and Morning will also be depended upon for offensive production.
If the relatively young team continues to develop the way they have this season, they stand to make a real run at making the AUS playoffs next year.