(Halifax, NS) In their 2017-18 home-opener, the Saint Mary's Huskies rode a first period natural hat-trick from Nicole Blanche (Dunville, Nfld.) to a 6-0 win over the Mount Allison Mounties on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Alumni Arena in Halifax N.S.
"It was a scenario where the big girls came to play and everybody else followed," said Huskies head coach Chris Larade. "Our line of the three fifth-years (Blanche, Laura Polak (Bedford, N.S.), Breanna Lanceleve (Middle Sackville, N.S.)) was just flat out dominant and everybody followed suit."
Mary Worndl (Kitchener, Ont.) and Lanceleve, with a pair, added the other Huskies' goals.
Ashley Forler (Kitchener, Ont.) made 14 saves to pick up a shutout in the first start of her AUS career.
Keri Martin (Brampton, Ont.) made 22 saves for the Mounties.
Blanche got the Huskies on the board just 2:40 into the game. Beatrice Harrietha (Guelph, Ont.) got the puck on the left-point and sent it down low to down Caitlin Pejkovic (Sherwood Park, Alta.). She tapped to Blanche in the corner and Blanche walked out front and sniped just under the bar high blocker short side. The assist was Pejkovic's first AUS point.
"One of my teammates was open on the other side, I looked her off and took a shot," said Blanche. "I surprised myself with that one."
Blanche notched up her second goal only 26-seconds later. Kaitlin Howarth (Thunder Bay, Ont.) got the puck to Lanceleve in the left-corner. She spotted Blanche in the slot and Blanche snapped it low-glove-side.
"(Lanceleve and Polak) did a great job of moving the puck around and I just snuck into the slot and managed to get my stick on it," said Blanche.
In the last minute of the first Blanche picked up the hat-trick. Lanceleve got the puck to Polack in the Huskies zone and she chipped it up ice. Blanche scooped it up on left-wing just outside Mounties blue-line. She cut into the slot and made a backhand-forehand move before shooting it low right-pad just inside the post.
"I'm a right-shot but I like going down my off-wing so I can cut into the centre and shoot back across the way I'm moving," said Blanche. "That's one of my favourite go-to moves and it happened to work out that time."
Worndl picked up her first of the season 1:55 into the second. Hannah Askin (Waterloo, Ont.) fired a shot from the point and Worndl got her stick on it in the slot to redirect it home.
Lanceleve pushed the Huskies lead to 5-0 just over a minute later. Askin broke up a Mounties rush at the Huskies blue-line and poked it to Polak who made a backhand pass through the neutral zone that sprung Lanceleve on a blue-line breakaway. Lanceleve cut across the crease to her backhand and finished.
Lanceleve tallied her second goal with just under seven-minutes left in the third. At the end of a Mounties power-play Nicole Scholfield (Winnipeg, Man.) got it to Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, Ont.) in the Huskies zone. Birch spotted Lanceleve coming out of the box and lifted a lob pass that Lanceleve caught at the Mounties blue-line. She worked in on a breakaway and went bar-down with a filthy backhand from in tight.
The Mounties were zero-for-five on the power-play, the Huskies were zero-for-six.
Up next the Mounties go home to Sackville N.B. to host the UPEI Panthers. The Huskies stay home at Alumni Arena to face the UdeM Aigles Bleus. Both games are Sunday, October 22.
Photo Nick Pearce