The second year for the women’s hockey program at Lakeland College sees the team moving up to the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
While the opening salvo did not go how they would have hoped, last Friday came as a stern test in their home barn as the Lakeland College King’s Energy Group Rustlers women’s hockey team entertained the defending champs the Red Deer Polytechnic Queens. The ladies were behind 0-3 going into the third period before they pulled one back to finish 1-3.
Coach Morgan Mann notes the challenges they face this year from NAIT, SAIT, Old’s College and Red Deer. He says they played two exhibition games against the champs, with one going to a shootout and the other being decided in overtime, so there will be no soft match-ups.
“Every game will be close and will be a test. That’s a real positive to know that every night you’re in good competition and it’s who comes to play that night will be the victor. So we hope to be right in the middle of it.”
Mann adds when they played some of the university teams, they found apart from the physicality, there were also the COVID-extended years of eligibility, meaning some of the women were playing in their sixth year at that level.
The Lakeland Rustlers women have 21 players on the roster with four-women comprising the leadership group. Mackenzie Stafford was on the championship Rustlers women’s team from last year and one of their leading scorers. She’s been playing hockey since she could skate and celebrates the team effort.
“I believe our team has a lot of grit and character. So I think we are going to be able to
meet up with the competition and be able to handle it well.”
Also on the leadership group is Olivia Mann, MacKena Foisy and Asha Petrie.
The team plays Old’s College Saturday Oct. 22 at the Russ Robertson Arena at 7 p.m.