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2022-23 Women's Hockey Season Preview

2022-23 Women's Hockey Season Preview

By Ryan Hyndman

The Dalhousie Tigers women’s hockey team comes into the 2022-23 season looking to build on a loss in the AUS quarter-finals to Saint Mary’s last season. It was the first time the Tigers made it to the playoffs since the 2017-18 season.

They finished the regular season with a 4-12-6 record, recording three of those wins in the first half of the season, including an impressive 9-1 victory over the #1 nationally ranked STFX X-Women.

The impact of the loss of graduating seniors Keana Oshowy, Autumn Moors, Taylor Joyce, Ariana Pinchuk and Taylor Beam (Brooklin, ON) will certainly be carried with the team into this season.

Head coach Troy Ryan returns for his third season behind the bench and will spend his first full season with the team after missing some time with Dalhousie to coach Team Canada’s national women’s hockey team to back-to-back gold medal finishes at the 2021 and 2022 World Women's Hockey championships and gold at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.

“Any time you lose a core of student-athletes to graduation it should be celebrated,” says Ryan. “We are very pleased with the work our they did to set this program up for future success. The leadership they showed will be missed but we are better off for the time they spent with our program.”

With the top three leading scorers from last year’s squad returning in Olivia Eustace, Brooklyn Paisley, and Isabella Weist, the program will be looking for growth from returning players and new recruits including Natasha Falk, Sierra Moreau, Grace Beer, Paige Coulter-Vansickle, and Regan Duffy.

“We are excited about the new recruits and walk-ons that we brought in this year,” says Ryan. “First-year goalie Grace Beer has looked good throughout the month of September and looks to fill a void left by last year’s team MVP Taylor Beam.”

The Tigers had a short pre-season, featuring just three games against Saint Mary’s. Although the team faced defeat in each match up, Ryan knows the pre-season is not critical to securing victories in the regular season and that these games can be important to see how the team is progressing.

“It’s always good to have an opportunity to play one of the top teams in the nation to start your season,” says Ryan. “It provided us with a level of play that we understand we have to work towards.”

There are a number of things the Tigers will need to be focused on in order to be successful this year.

“If we can be more consistent structurally and play with a team-first mentality, we will have success,” says Ryan. “Understanding the importance of puck possession and its impact on winning is also something that can’t be understated.”

The regular season will feature a 28-game schedule, opening on Friday, October 7th at 7:00pm as the Tigers welcome the Mount Allison Mounties to the Halifax Forum for their home opener.

 “We are optimistic and excited about the 2022-2023 season,” adds Ryan. “We like our schedule to start the season and we know, if we play as a team (and compete) we can get off to a good start. A lot of our success this season will be determined in how we manage the highs and lows that come with a typical AUS season. We have to be constantly learning and allowing our game to evolve (both individually and collectively). The expectations have changed, and we know what we have to do to be successful. We have our eyes set on the playoffs and we will do whatever we have to do to make that a reality.”