Top Impact Player’s Heading Into Women’s Hockey Playoffs

Who will lead their team through the playoffs? Here are the top impact players in Women’s CIS hockey right now!
The regular season for University Women’s Hockey is set to come to an end with this Saturday being the last day for basically every team to place themselves higher in the playoff picture or make their final pushes to get in the playoffs. Who are some players that will be most beneficial to their teams in the postseason as 6 teams vie to fill the spots for the National Championships? Let’s see what players I look forward to watching out for.

The St. FX X-Women are a team that have a very high chance of being in the AUS conference championship and a huge reason why could be the play of Alexa Normore. Normore has been having quite the season leading all of Canada in scoring with 44 points in just 22 games, which averages at 2 points per game. Not only does she have 44 points but also holds a plus 20 rating which is even more impressive and if Normore keeps up with her stellar season you may be seeing the 17-3-2 X-Women make a trip to the National Championships in New Brunswick.

The UBC Thunderbirds play in arguably one of the toughest conferences in CIS Women’s Hockey being in Canada West. With all the competition, the Thunderbirds sit 6th in all of Canada. Who is one of the biggest reasons for their success? Tatiana Rafter would be the answer. Rafter has found the back of the net 20 times to go along with 18 assists and an unbelievable Plus 27 rating. She sits in 4th in points, 2nd in goals and 1st in Plus-Minus and all of those stats being Canada wide. Like mentioned before, the Canada West conference is up for grabs with the top 4 teams being very competitive with each other all season but if Rafter continues with her great numbers, the T-Birds greatly improve their chances of making it to the Championship.

The McGill Martlets of the RSEQ Conference have held the #1 ranking in Canada every week except for 2 and those 2 weeks they were ranked #2. How good is this team, you ask? At 18-1, the Martlets only loss came against the #3 Ranked Montreal Carabins back a couple weeks ago. The Martlets are almost a shoe in to compete in the Conference championship. Many players on this team could be the reason for success but Katia Clement-Heydra tops it in my books. Clement-Heydra was 3rd in Canada with 39 points and 2nd in assists with 26 meaning she found the back of the net herself 13 times. The Martlets have a very strong chance of being in the National Championship and expect Clement-Heydra to continue being a force for this team as they look to defeat last year’s champions and conference rivals the Montreal Carabins.

Kyleigh Palmer of the Manitoba Bisons has been having quite the season for her coaches and teammates thus far. Palmer leads all defence in Canada with 29 points with a very impressive 14 goals, which is good enough for 7th. The Bisons have had their struggles this season but as of late they have proved to be one of the forces in a very tough and tight Canada West conference. In the middle of it all, Palmer has proved to be a lock-down defence with a solid plus 20 rating while showing that she is fully capable of creating her own offence as well. This Bisons squad is in for a tough run to make it to the championship, however, if Palmer keeps up her presence the Bisons just may make somewhat of a surprise Championship run.

Stephanie Nehring of the #2 ranked 21-3-0 Guelph Gryphons has been having quite the season to remember so far and gives the Gryphons a strong chance of claiming a tough OUA Conference Championship. Nehring is 19-2 with a .947 save percentage good enough for 3rd and an unbelievable 1.12 G.A.A in her 21 games. How good is Nehring? She has not lost a game since back in October and if she keeps up with this near record breaking season, don’t be surprised if she receives some honours come seasons end. Watch out for the Gryphons as they make their quest to an OUA Championship and what they hope to be a National Championship team on the heels of their current Canada-best 12-game win streak.

In just over a month the National Champion will be crowned but before that 4 Conference Champions will be crowned and look for these players to be crucial for their teams success in the postseason.

Photo Credit:
Normore: Erica Roberts
Clement-Heydra: Derek Drummond