Antigonish, NS - The U SPORTS No. 7 ranked StFX X-Women surpassed the visiting St. Thomas University Tommies 5-2 Friday evening in the AUS season-opening game for both teams at the Charles V. Keating Centre.
In a game that saw 44 penalty minutes, the X-Women got out to a 4-0 lead as the Tommies were forced to play catch-up but to no avail. Special teams were a big factor as the X-Women were 2-for-3 on the power play while the Tommies went 1-for-11 against a strong StFX penalty kill unit.
Shots favoured the X-Women 14-9 through the first period as StFX scored two goals.
Defenseman Lindsey Donovan (Miramichi, NB) scored the game's first goal with an unassisted marker as she went top shelf on Tommies goaltender Abby Clarke (Springdale, NFLD) just over five minutes into play.
Freshman forward Kristen McKinley (Rothesay, NB) finished off the period with a wrist shot from the slot at 17:09, after a breakout pass from the X-Women zone by defenseman Nicole Corcoran (Bloomfield, PE) who was credited with the assist.
StFX came out strong in the second, scoring at 4:43 while on the power play. Veteran forward and reigning U SPORTS player of the year Sarah Bujold (Riverview, NB) unleashed a wrist shot that just beat the glove of Clarke. Donovan and fifth year forward Daley Oddy (Cranbook, BC) assisted on the play.
The X-Women added their fourth goal of the evening with an unassisted, short handed goal by forward Jenna MacDonald (Osgoode, ON). MacDonald picked up a loose puck and out-maneuvered the Tommies defender in front of the net to score the backhanded goal at 13:42.
With the score at 4-0 in favour of StFX, Tommies goaltender Clarke was pulled in favour of Taylor Cooke (Brantford, ON).
The Tommies scored their first marker of the evening with 1:30 left in the second periof while on the power play. Forward Alisha Gilbert (Chipman, NB) got the puck past StFX goaltender Carley Molnar (London, ON) off an assist from Rebecca Conner (East St. Paul, MB) following a scuffle in front of the net.
StFX outshot St. Thomas 8-6 in the second period.
The third period saw the X-Women produce 15 shots on net, with Oddy having StFX's only goal in the period. During a power play 8:22 in, and following several scoring chances, the veteran X-Women captain capitalized by redirecting a pass from defenseman Santana Gravelle (Lumsden, SK). Forward Emerson Elliott (Aurora, ON) was also credited with an assist on the goal.
Just under a minute and a half later, St. Thomas netted a power play goal of their own while on a two-man advantage. Defenseman Leah Galati (Mississauga, ON) released a slap shot from the point after being set up by Conner and defenseman Paige Jackson (Stoney Creek, ON).
Final shots in the game favoured StFX 37-23 as Molnar earned the win in nets with 21 saves. Cook, with 15 saves, was tagged with the loss for the Tommies. Clarke turned aside 17 pucks for STU.
The Subway Player of the Game was awarded to X-Women defenseman Lindsey Donovan who had a two-point evening and anchored the strong blue line for X. Second star went to X-Women forward Daley Oddy and third star honours to Tommies forward Rebecca Conner.
Both teams are back in AUS action tomorrow. The X-Women are at home Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm against Mount Allison, while St. Thomas head to Halifax to visit Dalhousie at 6:00 pm.
Courtesy Kiana Pace, StFX Athletics Communications