Tommies edge X-Women 2-1

Photo courtesy Dalton King
Photo courtesy Dalton King

Antigonish, N.S. - The CIS #8-ranked St. Thomas Tommies (9-5-1) skated to a 2-1 win over the StFX X-Women (7-7-1) in AUS hockey action Saturday afternoon at the Keating Centre. 

In a scoreless first period, the teams traded chances, but goaltenders Abby Clarke (Springdale, NL) of the Tommies and Sojung Shin (Seoul, Korea) of the X-Women kept the puck out of their respective nets. 

In an even opening period, the X-Women out-shot the Tommies 11-7, with each team coming up empty on the power play.

During the first 90 seconds of the second period, both sides had chances to hit the scoreboard.

Kara Power (New Glasgow, NS) and Daley Oddy (Cranbrook, BC) of the X-Women could not beat Clarke from in tight, while Tommie forward Becky Conner (East St. Paul, MB) collected a turnover and broke in alone on Shin, but the puck rolled off her stick before she could take a shot.  

On an X-Women power play, team captain Taylor Dale (Oromocto, NB) could not score on a high backhander from the slot.

At the 8:39 mark, Kelty Apperson (New Hamburg, ON) was awarded a penalty shot after an X-Women defender hauled her down as she broke in on Shin. On the attempt, she made a move to the forehand, but lost the puck as the StFX goaltender shadowed her.

The Tommies broke the scoring goose egg at 12:21, when veteran defender Caley Steinert (Emerson, MB) blasted a high, hard shot from just inside the X-Women blue line that beat Shin under the cross bar to the glove side. Stephanie Ford (Cobourg, ON) and Marina Sergina (Dmitrov, Russia) garnered the assists.

Late in the period, the X-Women mustered a handful of scoring opportunities, including Oddy getting a wrist shot away after winning a face-off, with Power collecting the rebound from the lip of the crease for a second chance, but Clarke thwarted the effort.

On the power play, Dale walked in off the blue line for a shot, but Clarke made another save.

Early in the third period, the X-Women had a chance for the tying goal, when Jenna MacDonald (Osgoode, ON) intercepted a pass inside the Tommies' zone and broke in shorthanded, but Clarke made a blocker save.

As the final 10 minutes continued, the X-Women buzzed for the equalizer, including chances for Lisa Downey (Stratford, ON) and Schyler Campbell (Galloway, NB) from point-blank range.

At 13:15, the Tommies doubled their advantage, when Lauren Henman (Cow Bay, NS) chipped a shot over the right shoulder of Shin, on a broken play after a 2-on-2 rush. Apperson and Eliza Snider (Fort Saskatchewan, SK) collected the helpers.

With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, at 18:09, Jaelei Meyer (Carlyle, SK) picked the top corner with a wrist shot from the point to slice the Tommie lead to 2-1. Sarah Bujold (Riverview, NB) and Campbell assisted on the marker. 

The X-Women pulled Shin for an extra attacker late, but they could not force overtime.   

Clarke made 35 saves for the win, while Shin turned aside 20 shots in the loss.

The Subway player of the game and first star was Clarke, with Steinert and Kara Power earning second and third star honours, respectively.

The Tommies will be back in action Sunday, Jan. 17, when they visit Sackville, N.B. to face the Mount Allison Mounties in a 2:15 p.m. start.

On the same day, the X-Women will host the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleues. Puck drop is set for 2 p.m.