Tommies Notebook: Apperson on world stage

Tommies women’s hockey captain Kelty Apperson is currently skating some massive strides on an international level.

The dynamic 22-year-old forward is carrying the Team Canada banner along with 21 other players at the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Apperson is one of three alternate captains on Team Canada. The others are forwards Jessica Cormier of the Université de Montréal Carabins and Kaitlin Willoughby of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.

The captain of Team Canada for women’s hockey is Katelyn Gosling from the Western University Mustangs.

Apperson headed overseas after the game on Sunday, Jan. 22 between St. Thomas University and the St. Francis Xavier University X-Women, which StFX won 4-3 in double overtime.

Since the Kingston, Ont. native arrived in Kazakhstan, Apperson has accompanied the 88 other student-athletes from Canada for a flag-raising event at an offical ceremony at the athletes’ village.

Apperson, along with three other female and five male hockey players from Canada, then joined Shawn Steil, Canada’s ambassador to Kazakhstan, for a skills clinic and friendly game of shinny hockey with dozens of local children.

Women’s hockey competition for Team Canada began Saturday against China and continued on Monday, when the Canadians faced the United Kingdom. Apperson had two assists in Canada’s 9-1 win over China and another helper in a 14-0 thumping of the United Kingdom.

Canada plays Kazakhstan on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Relegation games start Friday, Feb. 3 and resume Sunday, Feb. 5 and Monday, Feb. 6.

The semifinals are set for Saturday, Feb. 4, with the bronze and gold medal games slated for Monday.

Barna, Valanne named Athletes of the Week

Jessica Barna of the STU women’s volleyball team and Travis Valanne of men’s basketball were named the Tommies Coors Light Athletes of the Week for Jan. 23.

Barna, a fourth-year right side hitter from Fredericton, enjoyed a .520 kill percentage and recorded 15 kills, four digs and two service aces in the Tommies’ 3-1 win over the Dalhousie Agricultural Campus Rams on Sunday, Jan. 22.

Barna currently leads the Tommies in kills (with 95) and kills per set (with 2.02) in 13 matches.

Valanne, a second-year guard from Miramichi, scored 13 points in STU’s 79-56 road loss to the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics on Saturday, Jan. 21 before notching 21 points and 12 rebounds the next day in the Tommies’ contest against Dal AC, which STU won 85-57.

Valanne leads the Tommies in scoring at a rate of 13.3 points per game. He has 160 points on the season.

Women’s hockey falls in national ranks

The STU women’s hockey team dropped from second to fourth in the U Sports Top 10 national standings for the week of Jan. 18 to 24 after falling to StFX on Jan. 22 and losing 4-0 to the Saint Mary’s University Huskies on Jan. 21.

SMU remained third in the adjusted rankings, while the Guelph University Gryphons moved into the No. 2 spot because their win percentage was better than SMU’s, although the Gryphons and Huskies both earned two second-place votes.

The Tommies’ drop to fourth in Canada comes after they held the second seed for four consecutive weeks.

The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds have been the top-ranked squad in the nation for 10 straight weeks.

In other national standings, the Tommies women’s basketball team fell out of the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association’s Top 15 on Jan. 24 after dropping a 67-43 decision to the Mount Saint Vincent University Mystics three days earlier.

STU had been nationally ranked in women’s hoops for eight weeks in a row before fading from the CCAA spotlight.

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