AUS Women’s Hockey Awards and All-Stars Announced

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ISN – (HALIFAX, N.S.) – Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2014-15 AUS women’s hockey all-stars and major award winners as selected by the conference’s head coaches following regular season play.

Fifth-year StFX forward Alex Normore was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player for the fourth consecutive season.

Other AUS major award winners announced today were Moncton’s Katryne Villeneuve from Casselman, Ont., who was named rookie of the year; Taylor Dale of Oromocto, N.B., who was selected as the most sportsmanlike player; Dalhousie’s Sarah MacNeil of Myra, N.S., who earned the student-athlete community service award; and StFX X-Women head coach Ben Berthiaume who was named the AUS coach of the year.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Alexa Normore, StFX

For the fourth year in a row, the Atlantic University Sport women’s hockey most valuable player is Alexa Normore of the StFX X-Women.

The Bedford, N.S., native led the AUS in points this season, tallying 32 in 21 games played. Her 22 assists also led the Atlantic conference, as did her +21 plus/minus rating.

The 2011 CIS rookie of the year, Normore is now a five-time AUS first team all-star. In the final season of her AUS career, she helped lead the X-Women to a CIS No. 8 ranking at the end of the regular season. The first-ranked AUS team heading into the playoffs, StFX boasted a regular season record of 20-4-0.

Normore is a four-time CIS all-Canadian and just the second player from the X-Women to be named the AUS most valuable player. Following her performance this season, she claims the AUS all-time record for career assists with 127. She also assumes second place in the record books for total career points with 205 scored during regular season play.

Normore is second in the AUS all-time record books for points scored by an individual in a single season with 55. She accomplished this feat in 2011-12. Only former StFX standout Candice Ernst sits above her with 57 points in the 2005-06 season.

“Alex has had a huge impact on the StFX women’s hockey program over the past five years,” said StFX head coach Ben Berthiaume. “She has been a leader on and off the ice with her work ethic and commitment to the team. She has lead by example all year for us and continues to do so into the playoffs. Alex has done some amazing things in her career here at X.”

Prior to Normore’s reign, Brayden Ferguson was the only other StFX player to be named AUS MVP. She took home the honour in the 2007-08 season. Ferguson is also the only AUS player to win the CIS player of the year award, which she earned during the same 2007-08 campaign.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Katryne Villeneuve, Moncton

Katryne Villeneuve, a first-year forward from Casselman, Ont., is the AUS women’s hockey rookie of the year.

Villeneuve, also named a second team all-star today, played in all 24 regular season games this year for the Aigles Bleues.

She finished first overall in the conference in goals with 14, tied for second in power play goals with five and her 24 points were good for third overall.

The 5-foot-5 leisure, sport and tourism administration student led the league in game-winning goals with six this season and finished first overall in shots, taking 102.

The Aigles Bleues finished second in AUS regular season play with a 17-5-2 record.

“At just 18 years old, Katryne has demonstrated a lot of maturity,” said Moncton head coach Denis Ross. “She brings with her a great deal of experience from the junior women’s hockey league she played in in Ontario (PWHL). Her style of play has added depth to our team. I’m convinced she will be an important pillar of the team in the future.”

Villeneuve becomes the fourth Université de Moncton player to be named the conference’s top rookie. She joins current teammate Marie-Pier Arsenault (2011-12) and former Aigles Bleues standouts Mariève Provost 2006-07 and Guylaine Haché (1999-00).

Villeneuve will look to become the fourth Atlantic conference player to be selected as the CIS rookie of the year. StFX’s Alexa Normore (2010-11) and former Saint Mary’s players Courtney Taylor (2002-03) and Lindsay Schriver (2004-05) are the only AUS players to have won the CIS award.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Ben Berthiaume, StFX

St. Francis Xavier X-Women interim head coach Ben Berthiaume has been selected by his peers as the 2014-15 AUS coach of the year in his first year at the helm of the StFX program.

Prior to assuming the head coaching position, Berthiaume served as an assistant coach to the X-Women for the past nine years.

This season, he led the X-Women to a 20-4-0 record, including a 20-game win streak, and a first-place finish in the AUS conference standings.

His StFX squad allowed only 34 goals against all season, finishing with the best goals against average in the AUS (1.39). Their .942 save percentage was the best in the league.

The X-Women’s power play percentage of 24.5 led the nation, as did their penalty kill percentage of 90.7.

Their four short-handed goals were the most in Atlantic conference, as were their 788 shots and their 107 total assists. They finished second in the AUS in goals per game with 3.08.

Before becoming head coach of the X-Women squad, Berthiaume coached the Antigonish midget female girls’ team. A native of Antigonish, N.S., he grew up playing in the Antigonish minor hockey system, as well as competing for the Nova AAA Midgets, Moncton Wildcats, Antigonish Jr. A Bulldogs and the StFX X-Men.

“Ben, although certainly not new to our program, did a great job this year in his role as head coach after so many years as our assistant coach,” said StFX director of athletics Leo MacPherson. “He has a great feel for the game and a wonderful ability to connect with his student-athletes and get the best out of them. He is very deserving of this award and we are proud of his success.”

Gaining a bye through the quarterfinals, Berthiaume’s StFX squad swept the Dalhousie Tigers 2-0 in the Subway AUS Women’s Hockey Championship best-of-three semi-final series.

In the ongoing final series versus the Moncton Aigles Bleues, the X-Women were victorious in Game 1 Monday night. They play Game 2 tonight in Moncton for the chance to sweep the series and claim the AUS championship banner.

MOST SPORTSMANLIKE PLAYER: Taylor Dale, StFX

This season’s Atlantic University Sport most sportsmanlike player is Taylor Dale of the StFX X-Women.

This award recognizes an individual who maintains the standards of fair play and treats those around her with respect at all times.

Dale, a third-year business student from Oromocto, N.B., becomes the fourth StFX player to be recognized with this award. She joins the likes of Suzanne Fenerty (2009-10), Sheila Kelly (2004-05) and Jill Bowie (2003-04).

Dale appeared in all 24 regular season games this year, finishing with seven goals and 10 assists. In three games so far this postseason, she has contributed another four assists. Through the entirety of the regular season and so far in the postseason, she has taken only two penalty minutes.

“Taylor has been a great leader for us this year,” said X-Women head coach Ben Berthiaume. “She is always one of the hardest working players on and off the ice. She has lead by example all year and has helped guide this team in the right direction. Taylor is one of those captains you want to follow.”

STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Sarah MacNeil, Dalhousie

Sarah MacNeil of the Dalhousie Tigers has been selected as the AUS student-athlete community service award recipient. This award honours the individual who best combines academics, athletics and community involvement.

MacNeil becomes the fourth player from the Tigers to receive this award since its inception in 2002-03, joining Kaitlyn McNutt (2009-10), Leah Kutcher (2005-06) and Lori Jones (2002-03)

MacNeil, a fourth-year forward from Myra, N.S., played in 23 of Dalhousie’s 24 regular season games this year.

The recreation management student is a three-time academic all-Canadian, on pace to continue the trend this year, and an assistant captain for the Tigers.

Heavily involved in the community as her team’s liaison for community volunteering and fundraising, MacNeil lends her time and efforts to numerous causes and charities.

She serves as the student at large board member for Recreation Nova Scotia. She is the team spokesperson and organizer for Hockey Players for Kids (HP4K), a two-month long reading competition at a local elementary school.

Some of the other initiatives MacNeil volunteers with include the Halifax chapter of Operation Christmas Child, the Chronicle Herald Parade of Lights, the Easter Seals sledge hockey program and the Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign.

“I can’t think of a more deserving person for this award,” said Tigers head coach Sean Fraser. “Sarah is not only a great representative for our hockey team, but also for our university and all student-athletes. Sarah works hard not only at the rink but equally as hard in the classroom.”

“Not only is Sarah a varsity athlete and academic all-Canadian, she is a kind and caring person that always finds time to give to others,” Fraser continued. “She donates her time to local charities, schools, her community and of course her teammates and does it all with a big smile! Reading Sarah’s resume can be humbling with all she does and I can honestly say I am proud to know Sarah and proud that she is part of our team.”

MacNeil will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the CIS Marion Hilliard Award. The last AUS student-athlete to take home the CIS honour was St. Thomas’s Kayla Blackmore following the 2012-13 season.

FIRST AND SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAM

This year’s Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars, along with the all-rookie team members are as follows:

First Team All-Stars:

Goaltender: Sojung Shin, StFX (2nd year – Seoul, Korea)

Defence: Jenna Downey, StFX (5th year – Stratford, Ont.)

Defence: Keirstin Visser, UPEI (4th year – Crapaud, P.E.I.)

Forward: Alexa Normore, StFX (5th year – Bedford, N.S.)

Forward: Marika Lacroix, Moncton (5th year – Orléans, Ont.)

Forward: Lisa MacLean, Dalhousie (2nd year – Inverness)

Second Team All-Stars:

Goaltender: Gabrielle Forget, Moncton (2nd year – Joliette, Que.)

Defence: Emily van Diepen, Mount Allison (4th year – Morell, P.E.I.)

Defence: Laura Bradley, UPEI (4th year – Morell, P.E.I.)

Forward: Katryne Villeneuve, Moncton (1st year – Casselman, Ont.)

Forward: Daley Oddy, StFX (2nd year – Cranbrook, B.C.)

Forward: Marie-Pier Arsenault, Moncton (4th year – Bonaventure, Que.)

All-Rookie Team:

Goaltender: Jessica Severeyns, Dalhousie (Hammonds Plains, N.S.)

Defence: Nicole Halladay, StFX (Smiths Falls, Ont.)

Defence: Beatrice Harrietha, Saint Mary’s (Guelph, Ont.)

Forward: Katryne Villeneuve, Moncton (Casselman, Ont.)

Forward: Becky Conner, St. Thomas (East St. Paul, Man.)

Forward: Lauren Henman, St. Thomas (Cow Bay, N.S.)

The 2015 Subway AUS women’s hockey championship best-of-three final series is currently being played between the Moncton Aigles Bleues and the StFX X-Women. The schedule is as follows:

Final Series: (Best 2-of-3): StFX (1) vs. Moncton (2)

Game 1: Monday, March 2 – Moncton 0 vs. StFX 2 (FINAL)
Game 2: Wednesday, March 4 – StFX at Moncton, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Friday, March 6 – Moncton at StFX, 7 p.m. (*if necessary)

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