Hard-working forward also leads Western in points at the holiday break
By Pat Payton
Special to the Independent
LONDON – April Clark, of St. Marys, is off to a great start to the 2017-18 season, leading the University of Western Ontario Mustangs women’s varsity hockey team in scoring.
The hard-working forward is now in her third year with the Mustangs.
At the holiday break, the 20-year-old Clark has 11 goals—tops in the OUA—and four assists for 15 points in 13 league games. She also has four penalty minutes.
In the OUA scoring race, Clark is tied for top spot with a player from Nipissing. She also leads the league in powerplay goals with four.
In the CIS (Canadian) rankings, Clark leads the country in goals and is among the top five in points.
“I trained at Total Package Hockey last summer (at Western), and I got my strength up and put on more muscle,” Clark replied when asked for reasons for her fast start.
“They have an (off-ice) shooting range there, and I used it a lot. I think that really helped me going into this season.
“I’m shooting more and getting good passes, and me and my linemates are really gelling together,” she added.
Starting with the Jr. Devilettes’ program in London, Mustangs’ coach Kelly Paton has had the opportunity to watch Clark grow as a hockey player over the past five years.
“April creates good opportunities to score,” Paton said in a recent interview. “And I think she’s learning how to score against some of the goalies we come up against. It starts with being repetitious at practice.
“We’re really happy with her confidence level. I think her development curve has continued to go up.”
Through “playing experience,” Paton says Clark’s ability to “read the game” is another strong asset.
“She leads our team in terms of finish (around the net),” the coach says. “And she has a good chemistry with her linemates.
“We have more depth in scoring than in previous years,” she added.
Recent Western results
In Waterloo on Nov. 18, Clark fired two goals in a 3-1 Western victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks.
Mustangs recently split a pair of road games, winning 2-1 over the Lancers in Windsor and losing 5-2 to the Gryphons the next night in Guelph. Clark scored both Western goals against Guelph.
On Dec. 2 in St. Catharines, Clark earned two assists in a 4-2 Mustangs’ victory over the Badgers.
Western currently has a record of 7-1-3-2, good for 25 points and third place in the OUA standings behind Queen’s and Brock.
— April, a DCVI grad and the daughter of Stan and Darlene Clark, of St. Marys, is studying Kinesiology at Western.
–In March of 2018, Western will host the Canadian university women’s hockey championship at Thompson Arena on campus.
–From a personal standpoint, Clark says she would like to be named to the 2017-18 Canadian university women’s all-star hockey team.