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Dunville’s Blanche named top defensive player in AUS women's hockey

Newfoundlander Nicole Blanche has been named the first-ever winner of the Atlantic University Sports (AUS) women’s hockey top defensive player award.

Nicole Blanche

The award will be given annually to a skater who consistently excels in defensive aspects of the game and displays strong play in all areas of the ice individually and as part of her team’s defensive tactics.

A fourth-year commerce student from Dunville, Blanche is part of a Huskies squad that finished first in the AUS regular-season standings. Saint Mary’s (18-3-3) boasted the lowest goals-against average in the conference at just 1.71 per game.

Blanche was selected as the winner of this award based upon criteria such as face-off success, blocked shots, forechecking, rush-zone defending, penalty killing and the ability to shut down the opposition’s top players.

Blanche recorded an assist and was plus two as Saint Mary’s began a best-of-three playoff semifinal with a 3-2 win over the  University of Moncton Thursday night in Halifax. The other semifinal between the St. Thomas Tommies and St. Francis Xavier X-Women starts tonight in Fredericton, N.B.

Abby Clarke of Springdale is a goalie for the Tommies, while Brooke Noseworthy of St. Anthony is a forward for St. FX.

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