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Camryn Drever a distinguished playoff heroine for Huskies

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Amassing a brilliant series of goaltending performances, Camryn Drever emerged as the Saskatchewan Huskies postseason heroine. Starting with the Canada West tournament, followed by the U Sports Nationals, Drever, amassed a superlative four shutouts in only nine playoff games, propelling the Huskies to national prominence.

Raised in Edmonton, Drever had long established herself as a prime time player. Starring between the pipes for the St. Albert Slash, appearing in the Esso Women’s Nationals (EWN), she also tended net for Team Alberta at the Canadian U18 Nationals. Recognized as the Top Goaltender at the 2017 EWN, she also garnered Top Goaltender honors in league play as a member of the Slash for the 2017-18 season, respectively.

Adding more accolades and honors in a magical playoff for the Huskies in 2022, Drever played brilliantly in the Canada West tournament. Proving essential in series sweeps over the Manitoba Bisons and Mount Royal Cougars, allowing only three goals over the course of those series, Drever amassed 124 saves.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect involved the fact that all four wins took place on the road. Despite the fact that the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds captured the Canada West title, Drever played with tremendous tenacity in the Finals.

Despite outshooting the Huskies by a 34-14 margin on their home ice, a scoreless draw after regulation required overtime to decide the conference championship. Although the loss was, understandably visceral, for Drever, their collective performances as road warriors throughout the playoffs, ensured potential for greater glories at Nationals.  

Backstopping the Huskies into the medal round at Nationals, contested in Charlottetown, PEI, Drever posted a shutout versus the AUS champion University of New Brunswick Reds to clinch the bronze medal. Recording 17 saves, while Kendra Zuchotski and Jasper Desmarais contributed goals, Drever earned recognition as the game’s Top Performer for the Huskies. Resulting in the second podium finish in program history, it marked her finest hour,

“It was very special to get a shutout in the bronze medal game. What a way to end the season with the team. I never thought that was how it was going to end but the team worked so hard all season. I really pushed myself this year too and that is a game I will never forget!”

Assembling one of the greatest postseason performances in Huskies history, winning six games, Drever’s four shutouts thrust her into the national spotlight. Of note, her first two shutouts were back-to-back. Eliminating the Bisons with a 21-save performance in a 3-0 final, the Huskies entered the next round as underdogs.

Facing off against the number one seeded Mount Royal Cougars, their regular season goal total of 61 ranking second overall in the conference, their offense sputtered versus Drever. Stonewalling a usually potent offense, as Kara Kondrat’s first period goal stood as the game-winner, Drever was even better in Game Two.

Recording an astonishing 53 saves, Drever was the embodiment of poise and grace under pressure. With the Huskies outshot in every period, unable to record double digits in any period versus Cougars goaltender Zoe De Beauville, Drever remained pivotal in providing her team a chance to win.

After recording 10 saves in the first, Drever faced 19 shots in the successive period. With the score tied at 1-each heading into the period, an impressive 22 save performance by Drever forced overtime. Fellow Albertan Kennedy Brown scored the game-winner in overtime, as team captain Bailee Bourassa and Abby Shirley logged the assists.

Crucial in completing the series sweep, Drever remained durable between the pipes at Nationals. Logging a shutout in her opening game, “Drever Fever” made its impact east. Opposing the Brock Badgers, making their debut at Nationals, a key theme involved the superlative goaltending evident on both sides of the ice.

Worth noting, Badgers backstop Tiffany Hsu, participated in the IIHF Women’s World Championship Division II in Spain following Nationals. With Hsu recording 29 saves in a valiant effort, Drever needed 27 saves in a 4-0 shutout win, as 10 different Huskies logged at least one point.

Although the eventual National Champion Concordia Stingers bested the Huskies by a 2-0 mark in the semifinals, scoring twice in the first period, Drever put forth an admirable effort. With 37 saves, she kept the Stingers off the scoresheet in the second and third. Recognized as the Huskies Player of the Game, Alice Philbert earned the nod for the Stingers, testament to the high quality of goaltending. 

With the fourth and final shutout clinching the bronze medal, Drever emerged as one of the feel good stories at Nationals. Gaining acclaim and admiration, the prestige of a podium finish made richer with long time head coach Steve Kook placing the medals around the necks of a jubilant group of players, the milestones reached rank among the finest of her career.

“I think that it is definitely up there as one of my greatest moments with the Huskies! It is pretty special to have a team that plays so well defensively in front of me, makes my job easier. I am really happy with how I came to play in the playoffs and the numbers I put up just show how hard I was working all year long to get here! It is a post season run that I won’t forget!”

A monumental March also brought a significant number of accolades. Honoured as a Finalist for the Mary Ethel Cartwright Award, in recognition of the Huskies Female Athlete of the Year, Drever emerged as a celebrated figure in the university’s athletic conversation.

Twice, Drever earned recognition as the Huskies Athlete of the Week, awarded March 9 and 31. Fittingly, Huskies blueliner, and fellow Albertan, Isabella Pozzi earned a share of the March 31 honour, also landing a place on the U Sports Tournament All-Star Team.

Closing out the month with the Canada West Player of the Week nod, awarded on March 29, it was the exclamation point to an epic, and highly memorable, playoff.

“I cannot put into words what it means to be honoured as a Huskie Athlete of the Week, especially twice in one month.

There are so many other incredible athletes from other teams at the university competing. For them to pick me out as the Athlete of the Week is super special and it feels pretty great to be recognized.”

All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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