(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds scored more than just a win on Saturday, they clinched an Atlantic University Sport playoff berth.
Reece Laumbach (Wainwright, AB) scored the game-winner as the Reds beat the Saint Mary's Huskies 2-1.
The Reds opened the scoring at 17:36 of a tight first period.
Tamina Kehler (Chilliwack, BC) dug the puck out of the corner, skated into the slot and wired a shot past SMU Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON).
But the UNB lead didn't last long.
Kehler took a penalty at 18:57, and with the Huskies working the power-play, Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON) tipped a point shot past Reds netminder Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC) with just 15 seconds left in the period, tying the score 1-1.
It was a back-and-forth second period.
About 11 minutes in, UNB's Lily George (Garden Village, ON) rung a shot off the crossbar.
Then, with just 37 seconds left, the puck came to Laumbach, at the point. She fired a hard shot past Clark to give the home team the lead heading into the second intermission.
"I couldn't see if it had gone in or not, and then I was just excited for the team, there's no other way to describe it," said Laumbach.
UNB was forced to kill off a short 5-on-3 Huskies power-play in the third period, and a 6-on-4 at the end of the game, but held on for the win.
"I think we played the game not to lose in the first two periods, and when push came to shove, it was a little too late when we decided we wanted to play to win," said Huskies coach Chris Larade. "They're a team that wants to capitalize on your mistakes. They've got a good team."
UNB's win comes less than a week after the Huskies beat the Reds 5-2, in Halifax.
Laumbach says that loss was a motivating factor.
"We came out with a lot more energy," she said. "Definitely our start was the game changer. We had a good start and we were solid right off the bat. That's what put us over last weekend."
With the win, UNB's record improves to 12-8-3, good for fourth place in the AUS standings and a spot in the post-season.
"It was one of our goals this year, to make the playoffs," said Reds head coach Sarah Hilworth. "As a first-year team, I think that's where you try to aim, Vegas Knights style, just get in and see what happens. I think we have a check-mark next to that box, but I think we're still hungry for more. We don't just want to be in the playoffs, we want first round home ice advantage."
The Huskies are now 15-8-1 and sit third in the AUS, having also clinched a playoff berth.
The Reds played Saturday's game in their 'Pink In The Rink' jerseys, part of UNB's 'Think Pink Weekend,' which supports the Canadian Cancer Society through 'Shoot For The Cure.'
"Today we were playing for something more than ourselves, and we were playing for something bigger," said Laumbach. "That really had a big effect on how this game turned out."
The Huskies return home to host the St. Thomas Tommies, on Friday. Game time is 7:00pm.
The Reds are back in action on Sunday, hosting the St FX X-Women. Game time is 3:00pm.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: Lauren Tidd/for UNB Athletics