CIS 2012-13 Women's Hockey Midseason Report Card
As the NHL lockout drags on, women’s hockey has found its place in the spotlight.
While NCAA women’s hockey has seen its share of remarkable accomplishments (primarily Hannah Brandt and the 20-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers), Canadian Interuniversity Sport women’s hockey has featured some remarkable teams.
After a 2011-12 season that saw the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds win only one contest, new head coach Graham Thomas has already led the young squad to seven wins and a third-place spot.
Another team in the Canada West Conference, the Regina Cougars have turned heads. As part of a sweep against the nationally ranked Alberta Pandas, Regina has established itself as an upstart on the national scene.
While the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks have been the dynasty in Ontario University Athletics, a new group of teams is looking to compete. Led by a highly skilled defense, the rough-and-tumble Western Ontario Mustangs are in the double digits for wins. The Guelph Gryphons have a high-powered offense built around remarkable rookie Amanda Parkins.
Eastern Canada has also seen its share of superlative hockey. Montreal’s McGill University continues to be the top-ranked school in Canada with Melodie Daoust leading the nation in scoring. Not far behind Daoust are dependable forwards Leslie Oles and Katia Clement-Heydra.
The Atlantic University Sport conference finds the St. Francis Xavier X-Women back on top, but they face some unexpected competition in the St. Thomas Tommies.
Led by seven freshmen (forwards Emily Ryan, Kelty Apperson, Stephanie Gates, Kenya Marcelline and Emily Francis and defenders Amy Duffield and Eliza Snider), the Tommies sit in second place. With these superlative freshmen adding a new dimension to the Tommies offense, the club should expect to remain competitive for many seasons to come.
Midseason's Most Outstanding Player: Melodie Daoust, McGill
With 35 points in only 11 games, Melodie Daoust is head and shoulders above the rest of the CIS.
Three power-play goals and three game-winning goals make Daoust the premier offensive player in the country. The best young player in Canada under the age of 22, Daoust was rightfully named to the Canadian contingent that shall compete at the 2013 Meco Cup in January.
After winning the CIS Rookie of the Year award in 2012, the Brodrick Trophy (for CIS MVP) may adorn her trophy case in March 2013.
Midseason Most Valuable Player, AUS: Alex Normore, St. FX
Although she only has 17 points in 11 contests, Alex Normore is a remarkable plus-13.
With two power-play goals, three game-winning goals and 57 shots on net, Normore is the key factor why the St. Francis Xavier X-Women are enjoying a first-place position in the highly competitive Atlantic University Sport conference.
Midseason Most Valuable Player, OUA: Amanda Parkins, Guelph
With 30 points in 18 games, Amanda Parkins is one of only two CIS skaters (with McGill’s Melodie Daoust) with at least 30 points.
Her four game-winning goals lead all competitors in the CIS. She can also boast two power-play goals and two shorthanded goals.
Even more remarkable, Parkins is only a rookie. Although she is one of three Guelph skaters in the top 10 for CIS scoring, her high-scoring ways have helped the Gryphons enjoy a second-place standing in the ultracompetitive Ontario University Athletics conference.
Midseason Most Valuable Player, Canada West: Cara Wooster, Saskatchewan
Playing in the shadows of nationally ranked programs such as Calgary, Alberta and Regina, Cara Wooster is quietly putting together another solid season for the Saskatchewan Huskies. As the leading scorer for the green and white, her 22 points also lead all competitors in the Canada West conference.
The opening match of the season against first-year CIS member Mount Royal (on October 5) stood out as her finest performance of the season as she logged one goal and two assists.
A consistently solid scorer, she has had six games where she logged at least two points. She opened the season with a five-game scoring streak, accumulating nine points from October 5 to 19.
Heading into the holiday break, Wooster had a six-game streak with a total of 10 points, and the Huskies went 4-2-0.
Midseason Most Underrated Player: Sadie Wegner, Carleton
With the Carleton Ravens in the same division as the McGill Martlets and the Montreal Carabins, the opportunities to win are very rare. Despite the frustrations, Carleton’s Sadie Wegner is a heart-and-soul player who gives 150 percent every time she is on the ice.
While she may not rank in the top 20 in CIS scoring, Wegner is an incredibly fast skater who is able to play a defensive game when needed. The catalyst for the Ravens offense, Wegner always makes it interesting when she is on the ice.
Midseason Best Leader: Alyssa Baldin, Windsor Lancers
Standing ninth overall in the CIS scoring race, Alyssa Baldin is the most valuable player on a struggling Windsor Lancers squad. With 21 points in 17 games, Baldin is the heartbeat of the Windsor offense.
Having played for the now defunct Wayne State Warriors of the NCAA, Baldin is accustomed to high-pressure situations and increased levels of competition. She brings great experience to the Lancers and will be a key factor in their push towards a postseason berth.
Midseason Most Sportsmanlike Player: Katia Clement-Heydra, McGill
While teammates like Melodie Daoust and Leslie Oles lead the McGill Martlets in scoring (with 35 and 27 points, respectively), it would be very easy to overlook Katia Clement-Heydra’s contributions to the top-ranked squad.
Of all the players in the top 15 of the CIS scoring race, Clement-Heydra is one of only two players (with Taryn Pilon of Queen’s) to have no penalty minutes. With McGill ranking No. 1 in the national polls, Clement-Heydra’s zero penalty minutes are a testament to her high skills and strong level of play.
Midseason Best Surprise: UBC off to a Winning Start
Head coach Graham Thomas has done a superlative job in changing the culture of the UBC Thunderbirds program. After a nightmarish 2011-12 season that saw UBC win only one game, Thomas did an excellent job of injecting a winning attitude into the Thunderbirds.
With seven wins already, Thomas is poised to bring UBC into double-digit wins. A November 23 win versus nationally ranked Alberta (which UBC won 3-2 ) put UBC in third place in Canada West.
Elite goaltenders Danielle Dube and Danielle Lemon, along with Stephanie Schaupmeyer, will pay big dividends for Thomas and the Thunderbirds.
Midseason Feel-Good Moment: Ryerson Rams Play at Restored Maple Leaf Gardens
With its NHL hockey game in 1999 and its last sporting event in 2000 (Toronto Rock lacrosse), the refurbishing of Maple Leaf Gardens breathes new life into the city of Toronto.
After 12 long years, the shrine of hockey once again features athletes gracing its frozen surface.
The Ryerson Rams have named the historic Maple Leaf Gardens as their home rink (known as Mattamy Athletic Centre), and the enthusiasm surrounding it has generated positive media attention. The first game was against crosstown rival Toronto Varsity Blues. Despite Ryerson's 2-1 loss, the match was thrilling.
Midseason Most Outstanding Defender: Katelyn Gosling, Western
The midseason leader in scoring among CIS defenders, Katelyn Gosling is a key factor in the Western Mustangs' strong first-half start, which has seen them win 12 contests.
In 16 games, Gosling has only four penalty minutes. Of her three goals scored in the first half, two were game-winning tallies.
Her best performance came in a Remembrance Day matchup versus the Brock Badgers. In the November 11 game, Gosling contributed four points (on one goal and three assists) in the Mustangs' 6-1 win.
Midseason Most Outstanding Goaltender: Amanda Tapp, Calgary
Amanda Tapp has been strong between the pipes for the nationally ranked Calgary Dinos, which sport an 11-2-0 record.
Having started 12 out of 13 games, Tapp has a sparkling 1.38 goals-against average and a remarkable .942 save percentage. Having led the Dinos to the 2012 CIS National Championship, Tapp will be a strong factor in their bid for a second straight title in 2013.
Midseason Most Outstanding Rookie: Amanda Parkins
Despite being a 26-year-old rookie, Parkins has added an entire new dimension to the Guelph Gryphons offense. In her CIS debut, she logged one goal and two assists in a 4-2 win over the Ontario Institute of Technology.
Parkins logged back-to-back four-point performances on November 21 and 25. A convincing 7-1 win on November 21 versus the Brock Badgers saw Parkins register her first career hat trick plus an assist.
A road 5-1 win versus the York Lions (which are coached by Canadian national women’s team head coach Dan Church) came about on the strength of Parkins’ one goal and three assists. The goal she registered was a shorthanded tally, while her three assists all came on the power play.
With the Gryphons holding national championship aspirations, Parkins just might be the missing piece of the puzzle to make those glorious dreams a reality.
Midseason Coach of the Year: Peter Murphy, St. Thomas
In his 10th year with the St. Thomas Tommies, Peter Murphy has the club in the Top 10 CIS National Rankings.
The Tommies offense is working on all cylinders as Kayla Blackmore (13 points) and Katie Brewster (12 points) rank second and third in Atlantic University Sport scoring. Blackmore is also tied for first in AUS with four game-winning goals.
Murphy has the Tommies ranked second in AUS in goals scoring with 40, while the team is the third-least penalized in the conference. With a strong 9-2-1 start, the Tommies have the potential to be competitive in the AUS postseason tournament.
Midseason Best Team Performance: Regina Cougars Sweep Alberta Pandas
With Regina goaltender Jennifer Schmidt providing a solid performance between the pipes, the Cougars swept the Alberta Pandas on the road for the first time in program history.
With Alberta ranking No. 3 in the national polls, the sweep gave the improving Cougars tremendous momentum as they jumped into second place in the Canada West conference.
Kylie Gavelin (one goal, one assist) and Paige Wheeler (three assists) were the only Cougars players to get at least one point in both games of the historic sweep. Schmidt made a total of 60 saves in both wins.
Both matches were won by only one goal.
In the first contest, Regina won 3-2 thanks to Brooklyn Moskowy, who put a wrist shot past Alberta backstop Michala Jeffries for the game-winning tally.
In the second game, Regina captain Rianne Wight logged the game winner, resulting in a 2-1 win.