Fredericton, NB – The StFX X-Women defeated the U SPORTS No. 7 ranked St. Thomas University Tommies 6-2 in Game 1 of their best-of-three Subway AUS women's hockey semifinal series Friday night at the Grant-Harvey Centre.
X-Women forward Daley Oddy (Cranbook, BC) scored the first goal of the night at 8:26 of the first period and Nicole Halladay (Smith Falls, ON) followed up with another X marker at 11:22 on a scramble in front of the net to give the X-Women a 2-0 lead 12 minutes into the game.
Tommies head coach Peter Murphy said the team was able to settle in after the shaky start. "After that bad stretch, we were good. We know how to score, you can see it when you watch, and we got lots of opportunity but didn't get one."
The Tommies locked down their defence and managed to get out of the first period trailing only 2-0 after a few scoring chances from the X-Women.
Early in the second period, the Tommies had a five-on-three advantage, but weren't able to capitalize. "Our first power play didn't look good at all," Murphy said. "I thought the other ones we got chances and got some pucks on, but everybody's playing tight, so it gets harder."
The X-Women kept pressuring with scoring chances but Taylor Cook (Brantford, ON) stood tall in the Tommies net.
StFX held onto their lead through to the end of the second period, when StFX goalie Ariana Orasanin (Ancaster, ON) put on a display, stopping a flurry of shots near the end of the period.
"I thought she played well. She's had a good second half," Murphy said of Orasanin. "We don't go in being worried that we won't score, but she played well."
The third period was a much different story for the Tommies, as an early goal at the 3:13 mark from Lauren Henman (Cow Bay, NS) allowed them to cut the X-Women lead to one.
Just seven seconds after Henman's goal, the X-Women countered with two quick goals of their own, less than a minute apart. The first one came from AUS all-rookie Lindsay Donovan (Mirimichi, NB), followed up with a marker from Jenna MacDonald (Osgoode, ON), as the visitors took a 4-1 lead.
Jessie McCann (Grand Bay, NB) responded for the Tommies just 34 seconds later with a power play goal to narrow the gap once again, but it was all for naught as StFX scored on the empty net with just over a minute to go. Heather Tillsley (Aurora, ON) potted the goal.
Kara Power (New Glasgow, NS) scored in the dying seconds of the game to cap off an offensive explosion from the X-Women, who topped the second place Tommies 6-2.
StFX Subway player of the game and first star Ariana Orasanin made 29 saves in the StFX net as the X-Women were outshot 31-21 by their counterparts.
Cook, with 15 saves, took the loss for St. Thomas.
Veteran forward Kelty Apperson (New Hamburg, ON) received Subway player of the game honors for the Tommies.
St. Thomas will visit StFX for Game 2 of the series this Sunday, Feb. 26 in Antigonish, NS. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm.
Contributed by St. Thomas sports information