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SASKATOONEXPRESS - February 13-19, 2107 - Page 14

Goalie hopes to prolong college career Darren Steinke Saskatoon Express he best money goalie in the history of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies women’s hockey team doesn’t want to think about the end. In the fall of 2012, Cassidy Hendricks arrived on the U of S campus and quickly became the Huskies’ starting netminder. The North Vancouver, B.C., product has been the model of consistency, posting a career goals-against average of just over 2.00 and a save percentage around .920. As a sophomore in 2014, she backstopped the Huskies to their only Canada West championship and then a bronze medal at nationals. Now in her fifth and final season of eligibility, Hendricks surpassed a couple of significant milestones. She recorded her 55th career victory to move alone into third place in career Canada West Conference wins. Hendricks also became the Canada West leader for all-time minutes played. She piled up 6,893 minutes and five seconds tending goal for the Huskies entering the final weekend of regular season play. Her minutes played total just surpassed the 6,857 minutes and 32 seconds put up by Crystal Patterson, who played for the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns from 2010-2015. With the Huskies beginning post-season play on Feb. 17, Hendricks wants to delay hanging up the skates for as long as she can. “With it being the last time, I want to go as far as I can to extend my hockey,” said Hendricks. “I won’t be playing anything meaningful after this, so I am just really hoping the team can get it together and just come as one. “We always do better in the playoffs for the most part. We fight hard.” Hendricks joined the Huskies after playing for the Vancouver Fusion midget AAA girls’ team. Originally, she hoped to gain admission into the

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Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the U of S. The 23-year-old is set to complete her undergraduate degree, but admits her marks aren’t good enough to get into the vet college. With that said, she is content to finish off her undergrad studies and enter the working world. Hendricks said it took some time to get used to how intense the academic studies were in university. “It took me a couple of years to figure out how to get good marks,” said Hendricks. “I always put hockey before schooling, which is probably bad and I wouldn’t recommend it. That is just the way it lined up.” She adjusted a lot quicker on the ice. During her rookie campaign in 2012-13, Hendricks played in 25 of the Huskies 28 regular-season games, posting a 1013 record, a 2.31 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage and three shutouts. While her numbers as a rookie were stellar, Hendricks said her game took a big jump upwards as a sophomore, when the Huskies brought in a big blue-chip goalie recruit in Karen Lefsrud. “I remember going into it with a different mindset,” said Hendricks. “I was just thinking I want to get better. I don’t care if we win with Karen (Lefsrud) or we win with me. “I just want to do well and like make the team win and focus on what I can do. It just ended up being a really good thing.” Lefsrud was named to the Canada West all-rookie team. She left the U of S after that one season to pursue rowing with the national team program. Hendricks appeared in 18 games posting an 11-4-3 record, a 1.77 goalsagainst average, a .924 save percentage and three shutouts. She was named a second team Canada West all-star and carried the load as the starting goalie through the post-season. In backstopping the Huskies to a Canada West title, Hendricks posted a 1.16

Cassidy Hendricks has been the U of S Huskies’ goaltender for five seasons (Photo by Darren Steinke) goals against average, a .957 save percentage and two shutouts in six games. She said winning the Canada West title is one of her fondest hockey memories and remembers being in the zone during that post-season run. “I always compared it to being almost robotic where I wasn’t thinking too much,” said Hendricks. “I just wanted to focus on one shot at a time and keep it simple. You’ve been stopping these shots all year, so what is the difference now.” Huskies first-year head coach Robin Ulrich, who was an assistant coach for most of Hendrick’s U of S career, said her netminder has always been on her game. “Cass is probably going to be the hardest person for us to replace in the coming year with our recruiting class just simply because she has been steady since day one,” said Ulrich. “Goaltending hasn’t been a question mark for our program for five years. “She is calm, she is consistent, (and) she gives us a good game every time she

is out there. Even her games that are a little bit off are still very strong for her. She is just solid back there. “It is always nice to have a goalie that is calm, because I think it keeps everybody else calm as well. She is one of those very quietly determined people as well. We know that she is a fierce competitor.” Hendricks said she is trying not to think about the reality that her hockey career is nearing an end. She appreciated the fact she was able to move into third place in career Canada West wins and sits first among career minutes played. It gives her a couple of cool things to reflect on from her final campaign. “I didn’t really focus on them,” said Hendricks. “It was just kind of a thing that just happened. It is always nice to have like a little cherry on top of your career like that.” (You can see more of Darren Steinke’s work in his online blog stankssermon. blogspot.ca.)

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Saskatoon Express, February 13, 2017