(Halifax, NS) The semifinals of the AUS women's hockey playoffs got off to a start this Saturday at the Dauphinee Centre in Halifax. With a dominant performance, the Saint Mary's Huskies took a 4-1 win over the UNB Reds.
Initially, UNB played a tight defensive game, collapsing down low and blocking a lot of the Huskies' shots. On the forecheck, they were often first to the puck in the Huskies' zone, preventing easy breakouts.
Saint Mary's wore them down, however, and got 15 shots on net in the first period. The Reds had seven
The teams traded power play opportunities. UNB looked dangerous, getting shots from the point through to goalie Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON), but couldn't capitalize on the man advantage.
The Huskies opened the scoring late in the period. With just over a minute to go, Ellen Laurence (Kentville, NS) passed from behind the Reds' net to Caitlin Pejkovic (Sherwood Park, AB). Her shot was saved by goalie Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC), but the rebound bounced up and over Woodland's shoulder into the back of the net.
After the first period, the score was 1-0 for the Huskies.
They extended their lead early in the second period with a power play goal. Shae Demale (Red Deer, AB) passed to Brooke Murphy (Balla Philip, NB) who was cutting across the high slot. Her wrist shot beat Woodland glove side as the Huskies went up 2-0.
The Reds had a couple power plays back to back. With good puck movement, they got some scoring chances down low but again, were held scoreless.
With just under two minutes to go, UNB got on the board. On the rush, the puck went into the corner to the right of Clark. After a couple of passes between Frederike Cyr (Candiac, QC) and Myah Bowal (Terrace, BC), the puck got out to Lindsey Smith (Onslow, NS) who was left alone in the slot. Her backhand shot along the ice beat Clark five hole.
The score was 2-1 for Saint Mary's after two periods of play. They led 13-7 in shots during the second period.
In the third period, UNB kept trying to get stretch passes through the middle, but the Huskies held them to just four shots in the third period. In total the Reds got 18 pucks on net during the game, while Saint Mary's put 45 shots through.
The Reds pulled their goalie late in the period, but Shae Demale got two empty net goals to get the final 4-1 win. The first was assisted by Eve Leblanc, while Murphy got the helper on the second.
The Subway Player of the Game was Shae Demale with two goals and an assist for the Huskies.
Game two of the series will be played in Fredericton on February 25 and if necessary, game three will be back at the Dauphinee Centre Thursday the 27th.
Sarah Moore, SMU
Photo Nick Pearce