With the indelible achievement of winning the AUS trophy last season, the St. Thomas University Tommies’ women’s hockey team look to repeat this feat under the guidance of veteran head coach Peter Murphy.
Murphy has been pleased with the overall progress and talent he has seen within the team, despite the heavy influx of rookies this season. The team has a record of 13-15 this season.
“We are seeing steady progress from our rookies, and our veteran players are showing great patience with them but also understanding they need to step up,” he said.
He commends the current crop of players for helping to groom the rookies into the system while becoming more cognizant of the integral role they play in the success of the team.
Murphy identified a few teams who might be the Tommies’ toughest opponents: St. Francis Xavier, Saint Mary’s University and the University of New Brunswick.
The Tommies will take on UNB, their cross-campus rivals in a best-of-3 quarterfinals. The Reds and Tommies split their season series at two games each.
In order to in the win playoffs, Murphy said it will take a team-first mentality and the players to exceed their regular season skills. He said focus is important.
“The playoffs are a whole new season and time for them to show what they collectively can do.”
Stephanie Goertzen is a part of Murphy’s rookie class this season and has played in almost every game. While she wasn’t sure of what to expect before this season, she said the team has come a long way.
“The year before the team was very successful, but I think we have come very far for being such a young team and I’m excited to see where we can go from here,” said Goertzen.
Despite being a rookie, Goertzen is not one to shy away from challenges. Her passion for the sport is a driving force in her looking forward to the challenging demands and competitive nature of the playoffs. Much like her coach, Goertzen has identified UNB as one of the toughest competitors in the playoffs but remains focused on progressing one game at a time.
“I think our team has a lot of strengths but the one that impacts us the most is our drive and compete level. We play with a lot of heart each game and when we have that energy level we can compete with anyone in the league.”