Preview: Women's hockey heads to nationals

The UBC women’s hockey team has done it again. By winning against their bitter rivals, the University of Manitoba Bisons, they brought home another banner three years after winning their first ever Canada West title in 2012. Now they’re returning to Calgary for nationals.

It will be a special moment for head coach Graham Thomas as well as players Kathleen Cahoon, Kaylin Snodgrass and Kelly Murray as all four of them are from Alberta.

Unlike the Canada West playoffs, nationals will only last for the weekend. The top eight teams in Canada will be seeded and play each other in single-game elimination rounds. Since UBC came in having won the Canada West league, they sit in the fourth seed and will be playing the fifth-seeded McGill University Martlets on Thursday March 17 at 2 p.m.. 

The Martlets are no strangers to the Thunderbirds. The two teams faced off earlier in the year and UBC won 3-2 in the preseason Queen’s Invitational tournament. T-Bird Nicole Saxvik led the victory with a goal and an assist, and goalie Samantha Langford made 27 saves in that match. 

However, the Martlets will have Olympian Melodie Daoust this time around, so there’s no saying how the game will go. The Martlets also are coming in as the most decorated team of the tournament, having four CIS titles under their belt, whereas UBC is still aiming for their first. 

The ’Birds are also lucky to have a bye week between the end of playoffs and nationals. Last time around, they went straight to nationals after winning and were without top goalie Danielle Dube, who fell ill with pneumonia when they arrived. Dube, who is in her last year of varsity eligibility, will also be looking to end her career on her own terms. Last time they were at nationals, it was simply an honour just to be there. Now the ’Birds are looking to win it.