The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s hockey team took a small step back last season, missing the Canada West playoff party. On Friday night, the Horns will begin their quest to return to the post-season when they open the regular season against the defending Canada West champion UBC Thunderbirds at Nicholas Sheran Arena.
With 19 players returning from last season, the Horns have an experienced group, led by senior defenceman Glenda Edie and fourth-year defenders Courtney Minor and Katie Mucha. Add in the returning goaltending tandem of Crystal Patterson and Shauntelle Williams, and the Horns are in good shape in their own zone.
Despite being one of the lowest scoring teams in the conference last season, the Pronghorns possess a group of talented forwards and will need to score by committee to generate the offence needed to get them into the playoffs once again. Megan Bailey had a breakout season last year and her team leading 16 points tripled her output from the previous season. Third-year forward Kirsten Reeves led the Horns last season with 12 goals, putting her in a tie for third in the conference, and she will be leaned on heavily for production again this season.
With seven of their first eight games at home to start the year, the Horns have a great opportunity for a fast start.
Puck drop for both Friday and Saturday nights is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Nicholas Sheran Arena.
The Proghorns men's and women's soccer programs are both on the road this weekend, the men heading to Winnipeg to face the Wesmen, while the women are on the west coast to challenge the University of Victoria and Fraser Valley.
Coming off a weekend split last weekend with the Mount Royal Cougars, the men’s soccer team is at 2-6-0 on the season. With seven games remaining in the season, the Horns are only four points out of a playoff spot.
The Horns, who have scored just seven goals in eight games, will need to generate more offense if they are to make a push to the post-season. Guilherme Costa leads the teams in goals with two, both coming from the penalty spot.
The Wesmen (2-4-2 CW), won just one of their first six games but earned four points last weekend in Calgary, beating the Dinos 3-2 before completing the trip with a 1-1 tie the next day.
On the women's front, the Horns (0-5-2) are still searching for their first victory of the season after suffering two losses in Saskatchewan last weekend, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Saskatchewan Huskies and 2-1 to the Regina Cougars.
Offensive production continues to be the Horns undoing so far this season, only scoring three goals thus far.
Defensively, the Horns have been solid, having only allowed 11 goals in seven games.
Friday night, the Horns face the Victoria Vikes (4-2-0), before travelling to Abbotsford on Saturday to meet up with the Fraser Valley Cascades (2-3-1).
Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the Pronghorns women’s rugby team heads out on the road for a pair of games versus provincial rivals Calgary Dinos and Alberta Pandas.
Sitting at 1-1 and with a guaranteed spot in the Canada West Championship tournament (which the Horns host Oct. 18-20), this weekend’s results will determine the seeding for the Canada West semifinals.
Friday in Calgary, the Horns will have revenge on their mind when they face the Calgary Dinos (2-1). The Dinos ended the Horns' 22-game conference winning streak last season with a 31-18 win and then knocked the Horns out of title contention with a 33-32 victory in the Canada West semifinal in Edmonton.
The Horns are led by Kim Leavitt’s three tries, which places her in a tie for second in the conference, and Tiffany Wideen, who has taken over the kicking duties this season and has connected on three converts. For the Dinos, Natasha Loucks leads a balanced attack with three tries and Kate Scotland has connected on six converts and two penalty goals for 18 points.
Sunday, the Horns take on the defending Canada West champion Alberta Pandas (3-0). So far, the Pandas have yet to be tested. Following their 62-17 trouncing of the Dinos to open the season, the Pandas shut out both of their BC opponents on the road, beating the Victoria Vikes 49-0 and the UBC T-Birds 39-0.
Finally, the Horns men's basketball team will host MacEwan University for a pre-season tilt, Friday night at 7 p.m. in the 1st Choice Savings Centre gym.
MacEwan is currently an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) team but will be joining Canada West next season. The matchup will be a solid first test for the Horns, who are itching to get into game action after a long practise schedule.