Huskies defeat Tigers 4-0, advance to AUS semi-final
The Saint Mary's Huskies are heading to the AUS semi-final after defeating the Dalhousie Tigers 4-0 at the Dauphinee Centre on Wednesday night.
The sudden death quarterfinal saw the #2 seed Huskies (16-4-1) host their crosstown rivals from Dalhousie (4-12-5).
Early in the game, it was some uncharacteristic mistakes by the Huskies that saw the Tigers get early opportunities. Just over six minutes in, the Tigers went on the powerplay after Taylor Keeping (Hackett's Cove, NS) was sent to the box for interference. Dalhousie registered four shots on the powerplay, but Huskies goaltender Dagny Hudspeth (Burlington, ON) made some solid saves to kill off the man advantage.
Moments later, Tigers leading scorer Olivia Eustace had a glorious opportunity off a Huskies turnover, and had three shots from in close turned away by Hudspeth. On the ensuing counterattack, Huskies forward Kate Gallant (Brooklin, ON) had a partial breakaway opportunity but was turned away by Tigers goaltender Taylor Beam.
The Tigers would find themselves on the powerplay again moments later as Mary McDonald (Calgary, AB) was whistled for crosschecking. Despite being shorthanded, it was time for some magic from the AUS MVP Shae Demale (Red Deer, AB), as she deflected a Tigers pass at the blueline. Miranda Hatt (Regina, SK) picked up the puck and brought it across the neutral zone, firing a behind-the-back pass to Demale, who put a backhand shot past Beam for a shorthanded goal that gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead with 2:29 remaining in the first period.
The Huskies took their 1-0 lead into the locker room, outshooting the Tigers 9-7 in the first period.
The second period saw back-and-forth play continue, as the Tigers recorded the first three shots of the period before the Huskies found some offensive momentum. Off a faceoff in the Tigers zone, Lauren Papp (Brampton, ON) fired a shot from the point that was deflected onto the stick of Erin Denny (Eskasoni, NS), who shot it past Beam to double the Huskies lead to 2-0, 3:54 into the second period.
The Tigers continued to pressure for an equalizer, but Hudspeth had the answer, as she turned away 13 shots in the second period. The Huskies offense came alive again late in the period, as Mary McDonald drove in on net, had her initial shot stopped by Beam, but picked up the rebound and passed it to Hatt who shot it past Beam to make the score 3-0 with just 2:41 remaining in the period.
The Tigers outshot the Huskies 13-4 in the second period, but Hudspeth stood tall, and the Huskies made their opportunities count to take a 3-0 lead into the final frame.
Midway through the third period, the AUS MVP struck again, as Shae Demale tipped home a shot from Eve LeBlanc (Petit-Rocher, NB) to give the home team a commanding 4-0 lead, which they would secure for the final score.
Shae Demale was named Subway Player of the Game for the Huskies, scoring two goals on the same day she was named AUS MVP. Linemate Miranda Hatt added a goal and an assist, and Hudspeth made 30 saves for the shutout. Goaltender Taylor Beam was named Player of the Game for the Tigers with 24 saves.
"It was an exciting day for sure," said Demale post-game. "It was a must-win game, we knew we had to stick to what we did best, and we did it."
With the win, the Huskies advance to the AUS semi-final, where they will take on the #3 seed St. FX X-Women in a best of three series. The Huskies had a 2-1 record in three regular season matchups with the X-Women this season.
Recap by Allan April / SMU Huskies Athletics
Photos by Nick Pearce / SMU Huskies Athletics