Com­ing a long way

Aca­dia Ax­e­women hockey team have ‘a lot to prove’

Annapolis Valley Register - - SPORTS - BY KIRK STARRATT KINGSCOUN­TYNEWS.CA WOLFVILLE kstar­ratt@kingscoun­tynews.ca

The Aca­dia hockey Ax­e­women con­tinue to im­prove through hard work and de­ter­mi­na­tion as they set their sights on the up­com­ing cham­pi­onship week­end.

In her third sea­son with the Ax­e­women, Hil­lary Dort of Ber­wick used to play with the Mid­get AA Val­ley Wild team. Dort is work­ing to­ward a double ma­jor in chem­istry and bi­ol­ogy and plans to pur­sue a ca­reer as a phar­ma­cist.

In spite of los­ing by a fi­nal score of 4 to 2, she said the team “re­ally picked it up” for the March 5 home game against Hol­land Col­lege. They’ve come a long way but there’s still some work to do.

“We re­ally im­proved over the sea­son and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to the end of sea­son cham­pi­onship week­end,” Dort said. “I think we’ve got a lot to prove.”

She said they’d be ready for UNB when it comes time for their last regular sea­son games at home.

“I think we just have to con­cen­trate on play­ing to­gether as a team, keep­ing up good morale and just work­ing hard,” Dort said.

Now in her fourth sea­son with the Ax­e­women, Hailee Coll of Charlottetown said they’ve lost a lot of ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers over the past few years and are now in a re­build­ing stage.

She said there is a lot of tal­ent on the cur­rent ros­ter, which is ex­cit­ing, and they’re see­ing many lo­cal play­ers com­ing to Aca­dia to play hockey.

“We’ve been build­ing all sea­son, we’ve just been get­ting bet­ter ev­ery game so there is lots of po­ten­tial mov­ing for­ward and I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing what we can do in play­offs for sure,” Coll said.

She said they played hard against Hol­land Col­lege and it seemed like the Ax­e­women were “out­work­ing” them. Aca­dia did a good job con­trol­ling the puck and had lots of shots but also some tough breaks.

“This game, if any­thing, re­ally showed us that we can com­pete with this team and they are beat­able and hope­fully we’ll do that when it counts in April,” Coll said.

Mov­ing for­ward, she said, the Ax­e­women have to con­cen­trate on get­ting shots on net and work­ing well un­der pres­sure. Puck con­trol is im­per­a­tive.

Head coach Dave Et­tinger said the Ax­e­women have per­formed very well this year. They have 13 rook­ies who are “start­ing to buy in” and the team is steadily im­prov­ing. With a 16-game sched­ule, it would be ben­e­fi­cial to play more but it’s dif­fi­cult to pick up ex­hi­bi­tion games given their travel sched­ule.

The Ax­e­women are on course to fin­ish the regular sea­son in third place be­fore head­ing into the cham­pi­onship week­end in April. Et­tinger said he re­mains con­fi­dent that “we’ll peak at the end of March, when it re­ally counts.”

KIRK STARRATT

The Aca­dia hockey Ax­e­women hosted Hol­land Col­lege on March 5. Aca­dia played a com­pet­i­tive game but came up short with a fi­nal score of 4 to 2.

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