If you watch the Notre Dame Hounds on the ice, you’ll notice several
They have a relentless puck pursuit. They go hard on the forecheck and
backcheck. They play a fast-paced and aggressive style of hockey. The
Hounds also have strong goaltending, with Eva Filippova (1.33 GAA) and
Bailey Lindsay (1.37 GAA) finishing with the top two goals-against
averages in the Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League (SFU18AAAHL)
during the regular season.
But one of the most unique things about this team is that every player
has bought in on the same mindset of what it takes to be successful.
“Our team doesn’t stray a whole lot,” says head coach Craig Perrett.
“They know what it means to be successful, and they tend to stay that
track. We’ve kind of had ups and downs to the season or gone away from
that, but I think it’s formed into everybody pulling the rope in the
same direction by understanding what their jobs are.”
That mentality led to an excellent season for the Hounds, with Notre
Dame boasting a 24-2-2-2 record in the regular season to finish atop
the SFU18AAAHL. Three of its four losses came at the hands of the
Regina Rebels, who the Hounds faced off against in the league final.
In the series, the Hounds dropped a close Game 1 when Megan Hayhurst
scored for the Rebels less than 90 seconds into double overtime. But
Notre Dame bounced back, winning the next two games 2-1 and finishing
the series with an extra-time win of their own, where Kyra Anderson
scored the only goal of the game in double overtime.
“It was a pretty happy situation,” Perrett says. “Regina is one of our
biggest rivals, but the sense of accomplishment wasn’t done as we’ve
been talking about the Esso Cup since October.”
With a league title under their belts, the only thing that stood
between the Hounds and a spot in the Canada’s National Women’s U18 Club
Championship was the Westman Wildcats in the West Regional. Notre Dame
got to work and earned a pair of 4-1 victories to book its ticket to
the Esso Cup.
“Going into playing Westman, we were really motivated and winning that,
we actually celebrated that as a group with pictures and things like
that a little bit harder than winning our own league,” Perrett says.
Notre Dame will face five teams in Okotoks, but there is already a
sense of familiarity with one—the Prince Albert Bears, this year’s
tournament hosts. The Hounds won all five of its games against the
Bears this season, including a close battle in November where Notre
Dame won in double overtime. However, with a new head coach for the
Bears and more practice time ahead of the tournament, Perrett knows
they will not face the same team they saw in the regular season.
“I’m expecting to see a little bit of a different team, but also a team
that is ready and hungry to go play the game a long time,” he says.
“From a Saskatchewan point, I think it’s great for our league [to have
two teams from the province in the Esso Cup]. We have some really good
hockey players out here in Saskatchewan.”
The last time Notre Dame was in the Esso Cup, they won it all. Now over
a decade later, the Hounds are prepared to do the exact same thing.
“They’re pretty motivated and they’re really proud to be representing
Notre Dame for the first time in  years,” Perrett says.
HOW THEY GOT TO OKOTOKS
Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League
Semifinal: defeated Saskatoon Stars 3-1 (4-0, 3-2, 3-4, 4-2)
Final: defeated Regina Rebels 3-1 (3-4 2OT, 2-1, 2-1, 1-0 2OT)
Championship: defeated Westman Wildcats 2-0 (4-1, 4-1)
Record (W-OTW-OTL-L): 24-2-2-2 (1st in SFU18AAAHL)
Goals for: 114 (2nd in SFU18AAAHL)
Goals against: 42 (1st in SFU18AAAHL)
Longest winning streak: 11 (Dec. 2-Feb. 13)
Top 3 scorers:
- Ryann Perrett – 16G 30A 46P (3rd in SFU18AAAHL)
- Keana McKibbin – 16G 23A 39P (6th in SFU18AAAHL)
- Kyra Anderson –16G 15A 31P (10th in SFU18AAAHL)
Goals for: 30
Goals against: 16
Top 3 scorers:
- Kyra Anderson – 5G 4A 9P
- Ryann Perrett – 3G 6A 9P
- Kaitlyn Gilroy – 5G 2A 7P
NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY
2010 – Notre Dame Hounds | silver medal | 5-2 | 28GF 19GA
2011 – Notre Dame Hounds | gold medal | 6-1 | 38GF 11GA
PLAYERS TO WATCH
strong, powerful skater … uses her feet to dominate games … dynamic on the
ice … physical player
quick with excellent rebound control … plays very well in traffic ...
extremely competitive … gives team extra confidence
power forward … great vision on the ice … excellent hockey IQ … plays a
Amy Dvernichuk – St. Thomas University
Payten Evans – Merrimack College
Ellie Gauvin – Brown University
Kaitlyn Gilroy – University of Regina
Tessa Henry – Ana Marie College
Bailey Lindsay – Jamestown University
Keana McKibbin – University of Windsor
Ryann Perrett – Lindenwood University