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Sunday, 20 December 2015

The Rundown - Week 12

Everyone is still off with the holiday season upon us, so it's time to take a look at who's been the best player for each team in the CIS. I'll only comment on the Canada West teams since I see them most often and have better insight into who has been instrumental in getting her team to where it is in the standings. I'll post the best player for each team in the OUA, RSEQ, and AUS based upon stats and what I know about that time as limited as that may be. You'll also want to check the recruit page as I've been updating it as well. Note that the comments haven't been updated as often. Let's get into this week's Rundown!

Canada West MVPs

We'll do this alphabetically for simplicity. To be my pick for MVP, the player chosen has to have made an immediate impact on the entire season. The question one should ask is had the player chosen not played, would the team be in the same position or worse off? It became pretty clear that these players have played an immense role in helping their teams get to where they are. Here we go.

Alberta Pandas
Teebz's MVP: Alex Poznikoff

There's no doubt that the rookie has the inside track on being the Canada West Rookie of the Year, but Poznikoff is leading her team in goals (8), points (11), power-play goals (2), and shots on net (40). For a team like the Pandas, having a rookie breakout like Poznikoff has is vitally important after Jessica Kampjes became unavailable for the squad this year. I said in the season preview that Poznikoff was a heckuva player, and she's been everything that the Pandas have needed and more.

UBC Thunderbirds
Teebz's MVP: Rebecca Unrau

The veteran has been the leader that UBC needed after Tatiana Rafter left the program, and she currently leads the team in goals (8) and points (13). She's been a leader on and off the ice for the Thunderbirds, embracing her role as a senior. What makes Unrau so dangerous is that she seems to hit the scoresheet every weekend with a big goal or a nice setup to allow others to score. UBC's veteran has been their best player thus far.

Calgary Dinos
Teebz's MVP: Sarah Murray

It's easy to pick the leading scorer for the MVP of each team, but the Dinos are a bit of a tough case in that they have a couple of good scorers in Iya Gavrilova and Sasha Vafina, but it's been a monster effort from their rookie goaltender who has stolen games from better teams. Sarah Murray won't wow you with her 2-6-2 record, her 2.98 GAA, or her .887 save percentage, but she's beaten UBC and Alberta this season and that's no easy task. If Calgary is going to play the role of spoiler this season down the stretch, Murray will be a big part of that effort.

Lethbridge Pronghorns
Teebz's MVP: Jocelyn Sabourin

For a team whose season went sideways after a strong start, it's tough to pick an MVP from the forward ranks especially after they were shutout in eight of their first 16 games and seven times in their last ten games. I won't fault the goaltending that Alicia Anderson put up, but I have been impressed with the defensive play of Jocelyn Sabourin. She's second in team scoring with eight points, leads the team in assists with six, is even in plus/minus, and has two power-play goals. She's been the difference on the back-end most nights, and she gets my vote for being the most consistent Pronghorns player thus far.

Manitoba Bisons
Teebz's MVP: Rachel Dyck

The best defensive team in the conference has had incredible goaltending all season long from Rachel Dyck and Amanda Schubert. Dyck is 7-4-1 on the season with a 1.50 GAA and a .941 save percentage which is tops for all goalies. She has made more than her share of incredible saves in keeping the Bisons in games they could have been out of early on, and she's a wall when Manitoba has a lead. I will admit I was leaning towards Karissa Kirkup at first for this selection, but without Dyck the Bisons may not be in a tie for first-place in the conference. That's the very definition of an MVP.

Mount Royal Cougars
Teebz's MVP: Sarah Weninger

Weninger has been the model of consistency for the Cougars. She leads the team in goals (6), points (10), power-play goals (2), and shots on goal (62). She plays an excellent two-way game, and is a threat every time she's on the ice. While I considered defenceman Jocelyn Froehlich for her excellent play thus far, Weninger has been everything that the Cougars need. Her six goals are 19% of the total goals scored by Mount Royal this season, and they'll need her scoring to continue to push for a playoff spot in the second-half of the season.

Regina Cougars
Teebz's MVP: Toni Ross

Jaycee Magwood is second in the conference in points (18), Kylie Gavelin is third in points (17), and Emma Waldenberger leads the conference in goals (9). So how did Toni Ross get my nod? She's 9-3-1 on a team that has given up the most goals outside of Calgary. Her 1.74 GAA and .939 save percentage are a large reason why the Cougars are still in contention for a top-two seeding in the conference. She's played much bigger than her 5'1" frame, often staring down the top teams without flinching. While the offence has been solid for Regina all season, they wouldn't be where they are without Ross' efforts, especially with their 6-2 record in one-goal games and 3-1 record in overtime.

Saskatchewan Huskies
Teebz's MVP: Julia Flinton

Flinton has been arguably the best defenceman in the conference thus far. She's second in team scoring with 12 points and leads the CIS in points by a defenceman and the team in assists (9), plus/minus (+9), penalty minutes (26), and shots on goal (65). Flinton is seemingly in on every play, and her number is called often by head coach Steve Kook. She plays in all situations, logs a ton of minutes, and has the stats to give coach Kook every reason to continue to throw her out on the ice whenever she's available. She has been, in this writer's opinion, the best Huskies player to date.

Of course, these are all subjective picks, so you may disagree and that's totally fine. Discussion is good so feel free to leave comments on any of these picks or any of the picks below. Again, the OUA, RSEQ, and AUS picks will be done quickly, but your thoughts and comments are welcome!

Ontario MVPs

BROCK - Goaltender Jensen Murphy (3-6-0, 1.89 GAA, .937).
GUELPH - Forward Averi Nooren (9G, 6A, 3 PPG, 1 SHG).
LAURENTIAN - Forward Julie Hebert (7G, 2A, 2 PPG).
LAURIER - Goaltender Lauren Webber (6-3-0, 1.75 GAA, .932).
NIPISSING - Goalie Jacqueline Rochefort (6-5-0, 1.15 GAA, .958).
QUEEN'S - Goalie Caitlyn Lahonen (9-3-0, 0.94 GAA, .967).
RYERSON - Forward Karli Nummikoski (3G, 0A, 1 PPG).
TORONTO - Forward Taylor Day (7G, 7A, 3 PPG).
UOIT - Forward Chelsea Ball (2G, 5A, 1 GWG).
WATERLOO - Forward Paula Lagamba (8G, 4A, 3 GWG).
WESTERN - Forward Kendra Broad (6G, 7A, 2 PPG).
WINDSOR - Forward Erinn Noseworthy (3G, 11A, 1 PPG, 1 SHG).
YORK - Forward Rianna Langford (4G, 2A, 1 GWG).

Quebec MVPs

CARLETON - Forward Nicole Miners (2G, 4A).
CONCORDIA - Goalie Katherine Purchase (3-5-0, 2.12 GAA, .913).
McGILL - Forward Melodie Daoust (5G, 9A, 1 PPG, 1 SHG).
MONTREAL - Goalie Marie-Pier Chabot (4-2-0, 0.67 GAA, .967).
OTTAWA - Forward Melodie Bouchard (5G, 9A, 1 PPG).

Maritime MVPs

DALHOUSIE - Forward Sarah Robichaud (6G, 5A, 1 SHG, 2 GWG).
MOUNT ALLISON - Forward Heather Richards (5G, 4A, 2 PPG).
MONCTON - Forward Marie-Pier Corriveau (8G, 4A, 4 PPG, 3 GWG).
UPEI - Goalie Marie-Soliel Deschenes (2-7-0, 2.05 GAA, .929).
SAINT MARY'S - Forward Breanna Lanceleve (6G, 11A, +14).
StFX - Forward Daley Oddy (6G, 9A, 3 GWG).
ST. THOMAS - Forward Kelty Apperson (6G, 7A, 2 PPG, 1 SHG).

From Oslo To The Okanagan

You may not know her name, but she's doing everything she can to put Norway's women's program on the map. While you might be familiar with names like Mats Zuccarello, Espen Knutsen, Patrick Thoresen, and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, you should get to know the name Mathea Fischer. Fischer plays for the UBC Thunderbirds after spending a couple of years at the Ontario Hockey Academy, and she's one of a number of international players suiting up in the CIS this year. One of Norway's best young women's players is the focus on HBIC today!

She began playing on boys' teams at the age of seven when she received her first pair of skates. Growing up in Norway and playing with the boys gave her a better perspective in terms of her abilities, and she applied at the age of 16 to join the Ontario Hockey Academy. According to one article, Fischer is the first Norwegian-born woman to train abroad in the sport of hockey. She's a pioneer at the age of 16, and is still blazing a path for other young Norwegian girls to follow.

Fischer has had a pile of success in her home country where she starred for Vålerenga. In 32 games over three seasons, the sniper racked up 25 goals and 30 assists! This put her on the map for the Norwegian U18 Women's team that has been a regular at the IIHF U18 Division-1 Women's World Championship. In 2011-12, Fischer was dominant in scoring three goals and five assists in five games at the tournament. In 2012-13, she only had two goals and two assists as Norway finished poorly. 2013-14's tournament saw Fischer score three goals in five games. In 2014-15, she scored three goals and four assists in five games, leading Norway in scoring. France won the tournament, but Norway finished second. She was named Norway's U18 team MVP in 2012 and 2015 for her efforts on the international stage and is currently Norway's leading scorer all-time at the tournament!

She wasn't done there, though. April saw her make the jump to join the senior women in Rouen, France for the IIHF Division-1 Women's World Championship! In five games against the best women from Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, and Latvia, Fischer put up one goal and two assists! Her lone World Championship goal to date was scored on Paula Marchhart of Austria, and it appears Fischer is poised for more as her career continues!

To prepare for her international junior appearances, Fischer had made the move to Cornwall, Ontario where she joined the Ontario Hockey Academy. Things went extremely well for the Norwegian at the school. She recorded 22 goals and 25 assist in 57 games in 2013-14, and she had 28 goals and 32 assists in 58 games in 2014-14. Fischer earned the school's hardest-working player honour in her first year at OHA, and she hit the radar of a number of post-secondary schools in Canada.

A few weeks prior to joining Team Norway in France, she was recruited by and accepted a spot with the UBC Thunderbirds in Canada West! Head coach Graham Thomas had some high praise for Fischer once she committed to UBC. He said, "Mathea plays a complete 200-foot game. She has good size, puck skills and hockey sense which allow her to create offence for herself and her teammates. Mathea has a strong shot with a quick release that she uses off the wing very well. Overall, Mathea is the type of player most coaches love to work with because she is a complete player that does all the little things well."

Fischer has started to settle into her freshman year. She's scored a pair of power-play goals to lead the team and has four assists for six points thus far as she adapts to the faster pace of the CIS game. She's an even player right now, showing her defensive side of the game hasn't been forgotten and proving coach Thomas' comments about a 200-foot game to be true. Along with Fischer, there are a few additional Norwegian women playing in North America right now as that program improves. Victoria Løvdal plays for the NCAA's Minnesota State Mavericks, goaltender Ingrid Sandven suits up for the OUA's Windsor Lancers, and Hedda Fence plays with the RSEQ's Carleton Ravens, so expect the Norwegians to start improving on the international stage as more and more of their women find spots on top-tier college and university programs!

Mathea Fischer is a great, young hockey player who deserves a look if you're hunting for the next big star. Get some passes to see CIS women's hockey this holiday season as the ladies put on one heckuva show, and you won't see better women's hockey played anywhere in Canada outside the CWHL on a regular basis! Do yourself a favour, and get down to your local university in January to see the next stars of women's hockey like Mathea Fischer!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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