(Halifax, NS) The defending AUS women's hockey champions were knocked out of playoffs this Sunday as the StFX X-Women beat the Saint Mary's Huskies in game two of the semifinals. A tightly fought game saw the Huskies trailing as the X-Women held on for a 5-2 win to advance to the finals.
The Huskies got off to a quick start with a goal after a great individual effort from Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON). Protecting the puck in the slot, she spun away from her check and wired a slap shot over the shoulder of Carley Molnar (London, ON) to put the Huskies on the board less than two minutes into the game. Taylor Keeping (Hackett's Cove, NS) and Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, NB) had the assists.
The X-Women responded with a power play goal. Off a face off in the Saint Mary's zone, Emily Power (Airdrie, AB) won the draw back to Santana Gravelle (Lumsden, SK) and over to Lindsey Donovan (Miramichi, NB), whose shot from the point went straight in.
The visiting team added another goal with under five minutes to go in the opening period. Carly Burrows (New Glasgow, NS) redirected a slap pass in the slot past goalie Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON) to take a 2-1 lead. Emma Thomas (Red Deer, AB) and Hannah MacDonald (Wetaskiwin, AB) assisted.
In the second period, the Huskies came out with intensity. After getting a chance off the forecheck from Shae Demale (Red Deer, AB), they tied up the game on the next possession with a goal from Keeping.
Pushing to take the lead, the Huskies had lots of zone time in the offensive end, but the X-Women scored two before the second period ended.
Halfway through the period, Donovan came off the half wall and took a sharp angle shot that beat Clark five hole. Lydia Schurman (Summerside, PEI) and Power assisted on Donovan's second goal of the game.
Late in the period, the X-Women extended their lead as Kristen McKinley (Rothesay, NB) tipped in a shot from the point from Thomas. Lacey Dimaulo (Okotoks, AB) also assisted as the X-Women took a 4-2 lead.
The Huskies put Ashley Forler (Kitchener, ON) in net for the third period. With four power plays in the final frame, the home team was pressing for a goal and had chances in tight, but Molnar stood strong. Their best chance came when Caleigh Meraw (Red Deer, AB) took a shot from the point that was saved. The rebound went right to Keeping but she couldn't get a handle on the puck.
With two and a half minutes to go, the Huskies were on the power play and pulled their goalie for the two man advantage. However, Sarah Bujold (Riverview, NB) sent a bouncing puck from before the red line in for an empty net goal and that would be the final score: 5-2 for the X-Women.
The Subway Player of the Game for the X-Women was Lindsey Donovan, while Taylor Keeping earned the honors for the Huskies as their season came to an end.
With the win, the X-Women will advance to the finals against either the St. Thomas Tommies or the UNB Reds.
Sarah Moore for SMU
Photo Nick Pearce