Playoff bound

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The pump-up circle will be in full effect this weekend

The pump-up circle will be in full effect this weekend

Second-year Tori Head is ready for playoffs

Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer

Who doesn’t love to see a brand of women’s hockey that’s intense and aggressive?

That’s what we’ll be getting when the Regina Cougar women’s hockey team faces off against the Manitoba Bisons in the first round of Canada West playoffs next weekend.

Cougars’ second-year forward Tori Head believes their losses at the hands of Manitoba just two short weeks ago is motivation enough heading into the post season.

“I believe we’re all going to come in with a lot of hard work,” Head said. “I think that we’ve had a lot of drive so far and I think the playoffs will be a challenging, new beginning but I think that we’ll come out flying. We will have a lot of motivation [having to play against] Manitoba. The past [games] that we have had against them motivated us to come out flying going into the playoffs and sparked a lot of interest and aggression going into the post season. [When we play] Manitoba, we’re all going to come out fired up to get those wins.”

Head, playing in her first full season at the University of Regina –¬ redshirting in 2012-13 ¬– knows that the devastating loss one year ago to UBC is still in the back of many girls’ minds heading into this season’s playoffs.

“Last year was tough; especially the loss to UBC, a pretty devastating loss for everyone,” Head said. “To be on such a high all of last season to losing to UBC in the fashion that we did was really tough. Coming into this year, being able to support and build around the team, I think that it just makes it that much more exciting.”

Going into the final games of the season last weekend, Head was leading the team in scoring with five goals and ten points. But after being held scoreless throughout the two losses in Alberta, Head finished just behind teammate Meghan Shervan in the teams point race. Head, however, believes that the points have been a whole team success.

“I don’t really see it as leading the team in points; I see it as a whole team success,” she said. “If I didn’t have my teammates to help me I don’t think I would be in this position to this point in the season.”

Head’s ten points match her season totals in Guelph in 2011-12 when she notched seven goals and three assists in 22 games with the Gryphons. Heading into her first full season with the club, Head is quick to point out her line mates helped her and gave her the confidence needed to put up her numbers.

“At the beginning of the season – especially coming from Guelph – my confidence wasn’t really there,” she said. “Coming into the season with really good line mates really helped me, confidence came while the points piled up. It’s great to be a part of the team in this stage of the season and be a part of the great program we have here in Regina.”

As the season comes to a close, the Cougar women’s hockey team will now face off in Manitoba this weekend in the first round of Canada West playoffs – and they will be playing with a chip on their shoulder. Regina is 1-2-1 against the neighbouring province and will be playing the role of the underdog when the puck is dropped Friday in Winnipeg.

If the team can play with the aggression that Head expects, this will, without a doubt, be a series to watch.

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