(Halifax, NS) The third place Saint Mary's Huskies (8-5-1) and the second place StFX X-Women (9-3-2) battled it out this Wednesday in AUS women's hockey action at the Halifax Forum. In a physical, fast-paced contest, the X-Women came away with a 3-1 win.
The opening face-off was won by Sarah Bujold (Riverview, NB) for StFX and the game was underway.
The tone for a physical game was set early with some pushing after the whistle around the StFX net five minutes in. Goalie Carly Molnar (London, ON) appeared to be injured in the play but stayed in the game.
Play was back and forth in the opening minutes. Penalties gave a slight edge to the Huskies as they went on the power play three times in the first period, but an aggressive StFX penalty kill kept them from capitalizing.
The Huskies had a couple of chances on the man advantage, including a one timer from Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON) that glanced off Molnar's mask, and a chance late in the period from Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, NB), whose shot was deflected through traffic and narrowly missed the net.
Lea MacLeod (Dartmouth, NS) responded with a good rush for the X-Women, driving the net and nearly stuffing the puck past goalie Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON) on the backhand.
The period ended tied at 0-0, with shots six apiece.
Saint Mary's opened the scoring at 4:01 of the second period. Mary McDonald (Calgary, AB) worked the puck behind the net and fed it out front for a one timer from Taylor Keeping (Hackett's Cove, NS). Murphy also assisted on the play.
StFX went on the power play at 7:10 and looked dominant, peppering the Huskies with shot after shot. Nothing went in, but shortly after the penalty ended the X-Women found the back of the net. On a two on one, Emily Power (Airdrie, AB) passed to Lydia Schurman (Summerside, PEI) who wired the puck top shelf to tie the game.
Schurman was immediately sent to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct after the play, as was Katie Peddle (Labrador City, NL) for the Huskies and Taylor Gravelle (Lumsden, SK), serving a 4 minute head contact penalty from Clark.
StFX scored again late in the period. Sarah Bujold (Riverview, NB) fed Tyra Meropoulis (Edson, AB) on the back door. Lindsay Donovan (Miramichi, NB) picked up the other assist.
The period ended with StFX in the lead 2-1 and dominating on the shot clock, outshooting the Huskies 18-9 in the second frame.
StFX spent six of the first 10 minutes of the third period on the power play and continued with that momentum to keep the Huskies contained for much of the final frame.
SMU pulled their goalie with just over a minute to go but couldn't find a goal, and Bujold added an empty net goal with three seconds to go to seal the game for the X-Women as they came away with a 3-1 win.
The Subway Player of the Game with the game winning goal for StFX was Tyra Meropoulis.
In their final games before the holidays, the Huskies host Mount Allison on Dec. 1, while the X-Women travel to Fredericton to play St. Thomas on Nov. 30.
Sarah Moore, SMU Communications
Photo Nick Pearce