(Halifax) In a Sunday afternoon matinee between Halifax rivals, the Saint Mary's Huskies got a flurry of first-period goals from first-year players on their way to topping the Dalhousie Tigers 5-2 at Alumni Arena.
The win puts the Huskies at 7-0-1 on the season, as they hang on to the top spot in the AUS standings. The Tigers fall back to .500 at 4-4 and sit tied for fourth with the STU Tommies.
"I thought we did more with the puck offensively today," said Huskies head coach Chris Larade. "We had more purpose to our game, especially in how we attacked the net and shot the puck."
Caitlin Pejkovic (Sherwood Park, Alta.) and Alexa McMillan (Edmonton, Alta.) netted the first goals of their AUS careers. While, fellow first-year Huskie Laura Horwood (Grandfalls-Windsor, N.L.) tallied her second of the season. Veterans Laura Polak (Bedford, N.S.) and Beatrice Harrietha (Guelph, Ont.) rounded out the Huskies' scoring.
"The team played amazing it was a great game," said McMillan, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "Everyone put in a great effort together and that's why we won."
Ashley Forler (Kitchener, Ont.) made 13 saves and showed great rebound control in the win for the Huskies. She kept her record perfect moving to 2-0 in her AUS career.
Bianca Canadé (Mississauga, Ont.), with her first on the season, and Lisa MacLean (Inverness, N.S.) scored for the Tigers.
Fabiana Petricca (Woodbridge, Ont.) made 29 saves in the loss and now has a 3-1 record this season.
Pejkovic opened the scoring just 2:13 into the game. Taylor Keeping (Hackett's Cove, N.S.) centred the puck from the left-corner to Horwood on the doorstep. Petricca made the first save and Pejkovic pounced on the rebound in the low-slot snapping it home glove side.
Horwood made it 2-0 with a power-play marker at the 12:18 mark of the first. Breanna Lanceleve (Middle Sackville, N.S.) worked the puck to Nicole Blanche (Dunville, N.L.) in the left-corner. Blanche slipped a pass to Horwood all alone on top of the crease and she snapped a one-timer five-hole.
McMillan got on the board just under four-minutes later. Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, Ont.) made a breakout pass to Mary Worndl (Kitchener, Ont.) in the neutral-zone. Worndl made a great pass to herself, with perfect curling weight up-ice past the Tigers' D, and worked in on a break. Again Petricca made the first save and McMillan, who had jumped up into the rush from her D-position, picked up the rebound in the slot and buried the eventual game-winner.
McMillan gave the credit to Worndl setting up the play with a great effort on the initial shot that "ended up with a big rebound and I just stepped up and put it in the net. It was a team effort."
Shots were close in the first with the slight edge going to the Huskies at 10-8 but it was the Huskies that controlled the pace and flow of the game.
Polak made it 4-0 Huskies with a power-play marker 6:04 into the second. With a face-off in the attacking right-circle in the Tigers' zone, Polak won the draw to Lanceleve on the right wing and she tapped it back to Hannah Askin (Waterloo, Ont.) on the point. Askin walked the line and put a shot on net through traffic. The puck ricocheted a couple of times and ended up sitting loose in the crease and Polak drove the net to jam it in.
The Tigers started to rally in the mid-second, sparked by Canadé getting them on the board at the 9:16 mark. Keana Oshowy (Woodbridge, Ont.) worked through the right-circle in the Huskies' zone and fired a shot that was deflected behind the net. Corrine Desjardins (Ottawa, Ont.) picked it up and flipped it back out front to Canadé who tapped it into an open net.
MacLean made it a two-goal game on the power-play at the 15:44 mark. Annika Rose (North Vancouver, B.C.) made a short pass to MacLean who picked it up just outside her own blue-line on the left side. She danced through the neutral-zone working cross-ice and chipped the puck to herself into the Huskies' zone on the right-wing. She cut through the circle towards the net and snapped a shot low-blocker-side.
Harrietha capped off the scoring with just under three-minutes left in the second. Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, N.B.) won a draw in the Tigers' zone to Birch who dropped it backed to Harrietha on the point. Harrietha wound up and stepped into a drive along the ice that found it's way through the traffic in front and in.
Officially the Huskies outshot the Tigers 15-2 in the second but the Tigers were able to control a bigger chunk of the play in the middle frame.
The third was a fairly even affair, as both teams exchanged power-play chances but neither could find a finishing touch.
"I thought today we really just rolled up the sleeves a little bit more and really bared down and shot with purpose," said Larade.
Up Next, the Tigers host the UPEI Panthers at the Halifax Forum on Friday, November 10. The Huskies go on the road to play the Tommies in Fredericton, N.B. on Saturday, November 11.
Photo Nick Pearce