(Halifax, NS) In their final home game of the regular season, the Saint Mary's Huskies women's hockey team battled the St. Thomas Tommies to a 3-0 Huskies victory at the Dauphinee Centre. Special teams were key for the Huskies in the victory as they scored two power play goals and killed off five penalties.
In the first couple minutes, the puck was bounced around in the neutral, but a power play opportunity gave Saint Mary's an early lead. On the half wall, Shae Demale (Red Deer, AB) made a nice move and then wired a shot that beat Caroline Pietroski (Etobicoke, QC) high short side. Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, NB) assisted on the goal less than five minutes into the first period.
The Tommies didn't register a shot on net until about eight minutes in as they were stymied by a patient Huskies' breakout that used passes and reverses behind the net to great effect. At the other end of the ice, an aggressive Huskies' forecheck hemmed the Tommies in their end, but St. Thomas did a good job of tying up sticks in front of the net, leaving most centering passes to go harmlessly through the slot.
The first period ended with Saint Mary's up 1-0, leading 16-4 in shots.
Twenty-five seconds into the second period, the Huskies got another power play goal. A battle in front of the net saw Taylor Keeping (Hackett's Cove, NS) put in the rebound off of a long shot. Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON) and Kiana Wilkinson (Prince George, BC) got the assists. The Huskies slowed down the pace a bit, opting to dump and chase the puck rather than keep attacking the net.
St. Thomas had a couple of power plays in the second half of the period. Lauren Legault (Winnipeg, MB) got their best scoring chance with a nice shot from the top of the circle that was redirected on the way to the net. Goalie Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON) had to be sharp to make the save as she bobbled the puck up high.
The Huskies had a late power play and spent lots of time in the Tommies' zone, but Pietroski stopped any scoring attempts to keep the score close, 2-0 to head into the third period. Shots in the second frame went in Saint Mary's' favor 9-6.
The Tommies were pushing for a goal in the third period. With two power plays back-to-back midway through, they were getting more pucks on net, but mostly from low danger areas. Unable to convert on the man advantage, St. Thomas trailed for the rest of the game.
Pulling their goalie with two and a half minutes to go, the Tommies tried to create more pressure with 6 on 5 play. However, the Huskies secured the win with an empty net goal from Ellen Laurence (Kentville, NS). It was assisted by Aimee O'Neill (Glace Bay, NS) and Laura Horwood (Grandfalls-Windsor, NL).
That was the final score, a 3-0 Huskies' win - and an important two points as they vie with the StFX X-Women for first place in the AUS.
Coming up to the end of the regular season, the Huskies travel to PEI to play the Panthers on February 7, while the Tommies host the Dalhousie Tigers on February 8.
Sarah Moore, SMU
Photo Mona Ghiz