DII women’s defenseman joins rush, helps Mexico Warriors claim Amerigol Latam Cup title in Fla.
Dominique Dueñas-Abin, a senior defenseman on Liberty University’s ACHA Division II women’s hockey team, originally from Mexico City, played on the Amerigol Latam Cup Tournament women’s division champion Mexico Warriors this past week at the Panthers IceDen, home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers in Coral Springs, Fla.
The Mexico Warriors won their first game against Columbia, 5-3, and a second against Chile, 11-4, on Wednesday before shutting out Puerto Rico, 3-0, on Thursday and edging Argentina in Friday’s final preliminary game, 6-4.
Finally, in Saturday’s semifinals, the Warriors repeated their 3-0 triumph over Puerto Rico before again dominating Chile, 9-4, in Sunday’s championship game.
“We won every single game, and we were in control for the whole tournament,” Dueñas-Abin said before returning taking the ice for the Lady Flames’ practice on Tuesday afternoon. “The tournament was just Latin American countries, so it was another level (from the World Cup).”
She played forward and scored a goal and tallied a couple assists in the final against Chile.
“I’m a defenseman, so (transitioning to forward) was hard at the beginning, but then I just got the momentum going and it was good,” Dueñas-Abin said.
Being familiar with a few of her teammates helped.
“I had played with three or four of them, including one that I had known since I was 10,” Dueñas-Abin said, noting that she now plays for Concordia University in Montreal.
Dueñas-Abin grew up playing hockey with her older brother and younger sister at one of only six rinks in all of Mexico.
“I started with figure skating, and my brother was playing hockey, and I was like, ‘That’s much more fun than figure skating. I’m going to try hockey,’” she said, noting that she later moved to Canada to play high school hockey.
Her father imports clothes from the United States to Mexico City.
“My dad has a line of clothes, but I’m not into fashion,” said Dueñas-Abin, who is pursuing a degree in criminal justice at Liberty. “I want to be a CSI detective somewhere in the United States.”
At this past week’s tournament, her sister, Nicole, played goalie for the U16 boys team, which also went undefeated and beat Puerto Rico in its championship final. Her older brother, Jorge — who competed collegiately at the University of El Paso (Texas) — played defensemen for Mexico’s men’s Division I team, which avenged its only loss and upended Columbia in the consolation final.
Dueñas-Abin, who has played with the Mexican women’s national team in the IIHF women’s World Cup in the past and narrowly missed making Mexico’s Olympic teamthat went to Japan, plans to try out for next year’s World Cup team in March.
“The coach sent me a text that he wanted me to be a part of the national team,” she said. “I told him, ‘Yes, but I study in the United States, and I won’t be able to practice with you until December when we have vacation,’ and he said that was fine, so I’ll be practicing with them over Christmas Break. The goal, for all Mexican girls, is to play hockey (in the Olympics).”
For now, she is most looking forward to her senior season as a defenseman with the Lady Flames, who open against West Virginia on Sept. 30 at 9:45 p.m. and Oct. 1 at 2 p.m. at the LaHaye Ice Center, embarking on their journey to qualify for the ACHA DII National Championships, set for March 16-21 in Marlborough, Mass., near Boston.
“I prefer playing defense and I am so excited to play here one more year,” Dueñas-Abin said, who said the team is better than the one she just played on and comparable to Mexico’s national team. “We have really good players, and solid defense and forwards, too. I got named the assistant captain the day before I left (for Florida), so I’m really excited for that.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer