Antigonish, NS - The visiting Saint Mary's Huskies bested the StFX X-Women 4-2 Friday evening in Game 1 of the Subway AUS championship best-of-three game series at the Charles V. Keating Centre. The crowd of over 200 people were treated to 60 minutes of fast paced hockey between the top two teams in the conference.
With the win the U SPORTS No. 2 ranked Huskies take a 1-0 lead in the series over the No. 3 ranked X-Women as the series now shifts to Game 2 on Sunday evening where the defending AUS champion Saint Mary's can clinch their second straight conference banner on home ice. The X-Women will be looking to force a deciding Game 3 back in Antigonish on Tuesday.
StFX Subway Player of the Game Kate Gotaas (Sherwood Park, AB) opened the scoring in Game 1 for StFX 9:41 into the opening period as she skated into the Huskies zone alone and fired a shot past Huskies goaltender Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON) on her glove side.
Saint Mary's answered StFX's opening goal only 13 seconds later after Kiana Wilkinson (Prince George, BC) held the blue line and moved the puck deeper into the X-Women zone. Laura Polak (Bedford, NS) found the puck in front of the X-Women net, beating two StFX defenders and goaltender Carley Molnar (London, ON).
Just over 15 minutes into the contest, following a scuffle in front of the StFX net which resulted in Molnar sprawling for the puck, Huskies Subway Player of the Game Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, NB) roofed the puck off an assist from Kate Barber (Aurora, ON), bringing the score to 2-1 in favour of Saint Mary's.
Adding to their lead just under three minutes later, Barber gained her second point of the night assisting on a goal by Taylor Keeping (Hackett's Cove, NS). A bounce off the boards found Keeping all alone in front of the X net, as she beat Molnar up high.
Shots in the first period favoured StFX 9-7 but it was the Huskies who held the 3-1 advantage on the scoreboard.
The second frame saw only one goal and it came early on. Fifty-three seconds into the period Gotaas added her second unassisted tally of the evening following a turnover in the neutral zone. Her shot came off the post, beating Clarke for the second and what would amount to the final StFX goal of the evening.
Shots in the second period were low, favouring StFX 6-5 as they pulled to within a goal of the Huskies at 3-2 after the 40 minutes.
The final frame saw StFX unable to capitalize on two open net opportunities, but Saint Mary's added to their lead. At the 3:41 mark, Keeping scored the final goal of the game off a wrist shot fired on net after strong play by her teammates.
X-Men veteran fifth year forward Daley Oddy was called with a five-minute major boarding call with only six seconds left in the game. The infraction was a costly one as it will mean the conference MVP and leading scorer in the country will be forced to sit out Game 2 on Sunday.
Friday night's game saw StFX go 0-for-2 on the power play and Saint Mary's go 0-for-4. Shots in the game favoured StFX 23-19.
Game 2 of the Subway AUS Championship will see the two teams face-off at 7:00 pm in Halifax on Sunday evening, March 4th.