With a logjam at the top of the standings, the University of Saskatchewan Huskie women’s hockey team will look to stay amongst the leaders.
Entering the first weekend in the second half of the Canada West season, the Huskies are tied for first place in the conference with their weekend opponents the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.
The Pronghorns visit Rutherford Rink Friday and Saturday.
Both Lethbridge and Saskatchewan finished the first half of the regular season with 10-4-0 records and 20 points for the top spot. But just four points separate first through fifth in the league. Sitting on the Huskie and Pronghorns’ heels are the Alberta Pandas (7-2-5) with 19 points, the Calgary Dinos (9-3) at 18 points and two games in hand and the Manitoba Bisons (7-5-2) at 16 points.
“Every weekend is important in the Canada West and anyone can win in this league,” said Huskie head coach Steve Kook. “We need to continue to collect victories to stay with the top teams in this conference.”
Since 1997-98, the Huskies have a 26-12-3 record against Lethbridge. In their first meetings in the 2011-12 season, the Pronghorns completed the sweep with 4-1 and 1-0 victories in Lethbridge on October 21 and 22.
Shelby Ballendine and Jenna-Marie Durnin lead the Pronghorns with 12 points each. Ballendine has tallied five goals and seven assists, while Durnin’s scored three goals and nine assists. Rookie Kirsten Reeves has also provided offence notching six goals and four helpers.
Four Huskies sit in the Top 10 in conference scoring including Julie Paetsch, Cara Wooster, Danny Stone and Breanne George. Paetsch leads the Canada West with eight goals and 12 assists. Wooster has added five goals and nine assists, while Stone has tallied five goals and eight assists. George has pitched in with eight goals and three assists.
Crystal Patterson has played in all 14 games for the Pronghorns recording a 1.34 goals against average and a .951 save percentage. She also has a league-high five shutouts.
Mackenzie Rizos has started 10 games for the Huskies posting an 8-2 record and two shutouts. Rizos has tallied a 1.96GAA and a .924 save percentage. Backup Vanessa Frederick has four games under her belt allowing just six goals.