Trenton player entering her fourth year with Panthers
UPEI Panthers forward Lyndsay Oakes is shown during Atlantic University Sport action last season. From Trenton, Oakes is entering her fourth season with the Panthers.
TRENTON – For Lyndsay Oakes, March 4, 2012, will always be a special day to her.
It’s not her birthday or an anniversary, but the day the UPEI Panthers won the Atlantic University Sport women’s hockey championship 3-0 over Mount Allison. Although that’s been her most memorable moment since joining the Panthers four years ago, she hopes to live it again this season.
Oakes said the ultimate team goal for this season is to win another AUS banner, especially after falling 1-0 in the final to St. FX last year.
“It (most memorable moment) was definitely winning the AUS (championship),” she said. “Since joining the UPEI team there's nothing that can really compare. The majority of players don't get to experience it in their university career and it's pretty amazing that our team accomplished it, especially considering how new our program is.
“This past season we were only a good bounce away from winning it again, so it is very attainable.”
Starting out playing minor hockey in Pictou County, the Trenton native played for the midget AA Subway Selects and North Nova Gryphons before she was recruited by UPEI. Currently studying kinesiology, Oakes said over the past three years in Charlottetown she has learned a lot about herself both on and off the ice.
“Playing hockey has taught me to appreciate teamwork,” she said. “Every hockey player has their strengths and weaknesses. I have learned to trust and rely on my teammates to make up for my weaknesses and in return they can rely on my strengths. This has not only helped me succeed and build friendships with my teammates, but has helped me in every aspect of my life.”
Although playing with the teams in Pictou County had her well prepared for the AUS, she said there was definitely some learning early on.
“Playing university hockey I found you really have to focus on winning the one-on-one battles,” said Oakes. “Playing in the AUS the players are a lot bigger and faster and winning those puck battles are one of the little things that can make a huge difference in a game.”
Over the summer she elected to stay in Charlottetown instead of returning home. She said the reason for doing so was the access to the fitness centre on the UPEI campus. Her goal this summer was to improve her personal fitness, hoping that will translate into improved play on-ice this season.
“One advantage going to the gym here is that a lot of players on my team also stayed here this summer and a group of us would usually go together,” said Oakes. It would act as a motivator as opposed to going by myself at home. Our coach created a four-phase workout plan for us that mainly focused on building our strength so we would try to base our workouts on that.”
The Panthers host UQTR for a pair of exhibition games this weekend in Charlottetown before travelling to Antigonish Oct. 4-5 for their final preseason tune-up.
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