‘This is our year’: Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey eye nationals

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WATCH: The Saskatchewan Huskies women's hockey have one goal in mind – a national championship. – Sep 4, 2019

Optimism is in the air as the Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team hit the ice to prepare for the 2019-20 season.

The Huskies are looking to build on a successful 2018-19 season after making it to the conference semifinals before losing to the Alberta Pandas.

READ MORE: Huskies vets leading in the trenches

The team has its sight set on a big goal this season.

“I’m really excited for this year because I think that this is our year, if we’re going to win nationals, I think this is the year to do it,” said Huskie forward Bailee Bourassa.

“I am very excited for this season.”

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Fuelling the optimism for the team is the number of returning players.

The Saskatchewan Huskies have eight fifth-year players on the roster, and head coach Steve Kook feels that leadership and experience should help guide the team.

“This is actually the most fifth years that I’ve ever had in our program, so in terms of leadership and experience in the league that’s the most we’ve ever had,” Kook said Tuesday at practice.

“After that, the bulk of our players are first and second year. Any given night we’re going to be veteran lead or youth and exuberance.”

READ MORE: Rookie Ramsey Derbas adds bite to Huskies’ defence

Backstopping the team is fourth-year goaltender Jessica Vance, who had a 1.28 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage in 22 games last season.

“I always want to improve every year and hopefully this will be the best one yet,” Vance said.

“We really want to do it for these eight fifth years and I think this will be a really special year.”

The Huskies will practise all week before heading to Swift Current to take on the Mount Royal Cougars in an exhibition game on Saturday.