Huskies edge X-Women in exhibition hockey action

Photo courtesy Nick Pearce
Photo courtesy Nick Pearce

Antigonish, N.S. – The visiting Saint Mary's Huskies skated to a 4-2 victory over the StFX X-Women in exhibition hockey action Thursday night at the Keating Centre auxiliary ice surface.

In a fast-paced opening 10 minutes of the first period, the teams exchanged opportunities, but the game remained scoreless.

Mary Worndl (Kitchener, ON) tried to put the Huskies on the scoreboard, when she broke down the left wing and tested Pascale Daigle (Irishtown, NB) with a pair of shots, but the X-Women goaltender stood tall.

For StFX, forward Daley Oddy (Cranbrook, BC) engineered a rush into the Saint Mary's zone, which led to a flurry of chances, off a goalmouth scramble, but Rebecca Weagle (Lunenburg, NS) was able to keep it out of her net.

At 12:01, the Huskies jumped to a 1-0 advantage, when Breanna Lanceleve (Middle Sackville, NS), from the back of the net, found Caitlyn Manning (Cambridge, ON), in front, who made no mistake on a hard wrist shot. Worndl garnered the other assist.

On the heels of that goal, the X-Women exerted pressure in the offensive zone for a long stretch, but they were unable to get a clean shot on Weagle.

The Huskies doubled their edge on a Worndl goal, with the assists coming from Manning and Lanceleve.

For the final 1:10 of the period, Saint Mary's had a power play, but they came up empty.

In the opening minute of the second frame, the X-Women killed off the remaining penalty time.

Early in the period, Daigle was sharp in steering aside a shot, off the rush, from Lanceleve.

For the X-Women, Sarah Bujold (Riverview, NB) raced into the Huskies' zone before unleashing a blast that Weagle got a piece of, with her trapper, and deflected the puck wide.

A few minutes later, Connor Garagan (Fredericton, NB) sped away on a partial breakaway, but defender Kiana Wilkinson (Prince George, BC) dove to poke the puck off her stick, before the senior forward could get a shot away.

Garagan collected another pair of scoring chances, after taking a pass from defender Emma Winters (Lower Sackville, NS), but Weagle maintained her shutout.

At 7:32, Bujold gained the Saint Mary's zone and tested Weagle, who made the save, but the junior forward gobbled up the rebound and scored short side. Jenna MacDonald (Osgoode, ON) notched the lone assist, to make it 2-1.

Only 17 seconds later, at 7:49, the X-Women coughed up the puck in their own end, and Haylee Tretiak (Tuelon, MB) took advantage, beating Daigle from the slot to regain the two-goal lead for the visitors.

Bujold tried to cut the Saint Mary's edge in half, but Weagle made a blocker save on a hard shot.

Daigle kept the deficit at two goals, when she stymied Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON), from in close.

With just under eight minutes remaining in the middle stanza, defender Heather Tillsley (Aurora, ON) ripped a shot from just inside the blue line, but Weagle smothered it.

A short time later, MacDonald zoomed by her defender and crossed the Huskies' blue line, but Weagle deflected her shot wide.

At 17:15, the X-Women sliced the deficit in half, when Alley Goodreau (Airdrie, AB) put a nifty deflection on a Winters' point shot, beating Weagle five-hole, to make it 3-2.

In the closing moments of the second, Daigle made a couple key saves to keep the X-women within one goal.

In the opening five minutes of the third period, the senior goaltender continued her strong performance, which included thwarting a partial Saint Mary's breakaway.

From there, the X-Women started to press for the equalizer.

Midway through the period, Oddy blocked a shot, just inside her own blue line, before grabbing the puck and skating into the Saint Mary's zone. She then put a backhand pass on the tape of Garagan, who could not solve Weagle with a shot from the slot.

With less than eight minutes remaining in regulation, Oddy uncoiled a hard shot, through a screen, from the top of the circle, but Weagle blocked the effort and covered the puck.

At 14:40, the Huskies scored made it 4-2, on an insurance marker from Nicole Blanche (Dunville, NF), on a helper from Manning, who earned the first-star selection.

Worndl and Bujold were the second and third stars, respectively.

The teams will continue their pre-season schedules Saturday, Oct. 1, with a re-match in Halifax.

Puck drop is set for 2 p.m.