After a sweep of the UBC Thunderbirds in the Canada West Semifinals, four former members of the Diamond Energy Wildcats and their U of S Women's Hockey team are set for the Canada West Final.
Rookie forward Chloe Smith (Swift Current), second-year goalie Jasey Book (Loreburn), second-year defenceman Kayla Kirwan (Gull Lake), and third-year forward Brooklyn Haubrich (Hodgeville) are the former Wildcats on the Huskies' roster ready for a best-of-three series with the University of Manitoba Bisons.
"They're all pretty skilled kids - They play a little bit different kinds of games," said Wildcats head coach Terry Pavely. "Kirwan's a little bit more of a defensive defenceman who skates well - she's not going to score a lot, but she plays a real big role in their team in terms of defensive matchups, killing penalties, and that type of thing."
Kirwan has 4 points (3 G, 1 A) and a +13 rating in 27 games.
"Haubrich is a real fire-plug out there - she just goes, goes, goes. We've watched her a lot of times this year and she just wins battles over, and over again, even against kids a lot bigger than her," noted Pavely.
The longest-tenured former Wildcat on the roster has 10 points (1 G, 9 A) in 28 games with an identical +13 rating.
The U of S Huskies used a pair of game-winning-goals from the southwest contingent to soar past the Thunderbirds, earning a spot in this weekend's Canada West finals.
In Game 1, a 2-0 shutout win, Haubrich recorded the game-winner at the 14:38 mark of the first period.
Then, in Game 2, Smith scored the eventual winning goal with 14:36 left in the second period of a 2-1 Huskies' win.
"You've got Chloe Smith who's got that natural ability and a good shot," said Pavely. "She scores that big goal for them."
"It was nice to see both of our kids up front - Haubrich and Smith - score some big goals in that series. Obviously we're real proud of those kids, they were all really important parts of our program, so it's great to see them having success, and it tells the college coaches and university coaches that when players come from our program, they're ready to play, step up, and contribute."
In 26 games over her first regular season, Smith had three goals, three assists, and a -3 rating.
Meanwhile, it's a tough task for Book, the backup goalie as she's behind starter and Canada West player of the year, Jessica Vance. Nonetheless, Book has been solid this season and would most likely be that way in relief of Vance, after posting a 1.48 goals-against-average and .921 save-percentage in four appearances this season.
"That's obviously probably the biggest thing we take pride in in our organization - moving kids on to the next level," said Pavely. "When we can see kids move up to the next level and then have success, that's obviously a feather in our cap maybe as coaches."
There's no time like the present now for those former Wildcats donning the green, black, and white of the U of S Huskies - the team is in Winnipeg for the best-of-three weekend against the conference's top team.
The Huskies and U of M Bisons face off in Game 1 of the Canada West final tonight at 7 p.m. Game 2 will go Saturday at 7 p.m., and Game 3, if necessary, is slated for Sunday at 5 p.m.