(Halifax, NS) The Saint Mary's Huskies moved to the top of the AUS women's hockey standings with a 6-3 win against the StFX X-Women on Sunday at the Dauphinee Centre in Halifax.
The Huskies came out strong in the opening period, outshooting the X-Women 14-4. Coming off of a four-game win streak, StFX won most puck battles at the blue lines, but not protecting the middle of the ice led to chances that the Huskies capitalized on.
Saint Mary's opened the scoring in the dying seconds of a power play halfway through the period. Left alone in the slot, the puck spurted out to Miranda Hatt (Eastern Passage, NS) and her shot went over the shoulder of goalie Cassidy McEwen (Lloydminster, AB). Shae Demale (Red Deer, AB) and Mary McDonald (Calgary, AB) assisted on Hatt's ninth goal of the season.
The X-Women were quick to respond, however, evening the score just 30 seconds later. Emerson Elliott (Aurora, ON) took advantage of a misplay at her defensive blue line by the Huskies' Kiana Wilkinson (Prince George, BC) and raced down the ice on a breakaway. Her shot hit the shoulder of Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON) and bounced up and over the goalie.
The exciting back and forth play continued as less than a minute later, the Huskies scored again to pull ahead 2-1. Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, NB) was deep in the X-Women zone on the forecheck. She stole the puck and returning to the front of the net, made a beautiful deke past two defenders and roofed a backhand shot into the net.
The first period ended with the Huskies up 2-1.
Adding three unanswered goals, the Huskies were in control in the second period.
With 13 minutes to go, a shot from the point from Wilkinson on the power play went wide. It bounced off the end boards to the other side of the net, where Murphy swatted at it. The puck instead went across the crease to Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON) for a tap in.
Two minutes later, the Huskies went back to work and got another goal with a very similar play, a low one timer from Birch after a pass from Murphy. Taylor Keeping (Hackett's Cove, NS) also assisted on the play.
With six minutes to go, Hatt raced to get an icing call waved off and won the puck battle behind the net. She tossed a pass out front to Demale, whose one timer went into the back of the net for the Huskies' fifth goal.
The X-Women had chances, with Lea MacLeod (Dartmouth, NS) hitting the post short side, but puck luck wasn't with them as the second period ended with Saint Mary's up 5-1.
The X-Women, hunting for a comeback, started the third period with lots of energy, outshooting the Huskies 11-3, and they scored halfway through the period. Coming off the bench, Emma Thomas (Red Deer, AB) skated into a pass from Kristen McKinley (Rothesay, NB) and wired a slap shot from the point into the back of the net.
With six minutes to go, the X-Women scored again to pull within two. After a couple of power plays, they had momentum and Elliott, battling in the corner, got the puck to the front of the net. Tyra Meropoulis (Edson, AB), drifting in the high slot, snuck down low and connected with a one timer, making it 5-3.
Pulling their goalie, the X-Women made the last two minutes of the game exciting, but they were stymied with an empty net goal by Demale as the Huskies secured a 6-3 win.
The Subway Player of the Game was Shae Demale, with two goals and an assist.
The Huskies play next on November 28 when they travel to take on Mount Allison, while StFX travels to face Moncton on November 29.
Sarah Moore, SMU Communications
Photo Nick Pearce