Batlle of the Hill Reignites With Playoff Intensity

Batlle of the Hill Reignites With Playoff Intensity

St. Thomas University is about one quarter the size of the University of New Brunswick, but that hasn’t stopped the Tommies women’s hockey team from finishing 15 points ahead of the Reds in the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) standings.

The Tommies and Reds will meet in one of the AUS’s semi-finals, beginning Saturday, February 23rd.

Known as “The Battle of the Hill” because of the close proximity between the two campuses, this renewed rivalry will write another chapter with a best of three series.

The Tommies owned the regular season series, winning the first three matchups with a 2-1 score in each of the matches before the Reds took their final regular season game 3-1.

“UNB gave us some great games this year for sure, but we have had great success all season and are confident with our preparation to get to this point,” said captain Emily Oleksuk, who earlier this week was named an AUS 2nd Team All-Star and Top Defensive Player. “I think we have the experience and know what it takes to win big games. We trust in our process and hard work and moving forward we just need to play our game and play like a team and there’s no doubt we will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Joining Oleksuk in the All-Star category was Abby Clarke on the second team, while Lauren Henman and Alex Woods were named to the first team. Head coach Peter Murphy was also named the AUS Coach of the Year.

A pair of rookies were named to the All-Star teams for the Reds, as goalie Kendra Woodland and defender Jenna MacLean were named to first and second team, respectively. Woodland was also named AUS Rookie of the Year.

“I expect tight games highlighted by great goaltending,” said head coach Peter Murphy. “I think the fan participation will be terrific for the overall hockey community. At any time one of our players can step up, but Emily Oleksuk had a great playoff last year. I wouldn’t discount any of our players elevating their performance. It is what we expect from our players. At the same time, we feel if we play our game and continue with our current process we should have success.”

Game two is slated for Monday, February 25th at the Aitken Centre, with game three, if needed, being Wednesday, February 27th.