Fredericton, NB - When the top two teams in a conference meet you would expect a close, hard fought game. That's exactly what the St. Thomas Tommies and StFX X-Women did when they faced off Friday night, as the Tommies came away with a 2-1 shootout win.
Both teams came into the tilt in the top ten of U SPOSRTS rankings with StFX at No. 8 and STU at No. 6.
Each team began the game strong defensively, getting into the shooting lanes to block several shots and limit scoring opportunities, as they remained scoreless after 20 minutes. It wasn't until the 9:17 mark of the second period that Lindsey Donovan (Miramichi, NB) skated towards the Tommies' blue line and floated the puck on net and fooled goaltender Abby Clarke (Springdale, NL) with a high shot.
It took the Tommies 21 shots to solve Carley Molnar (London, ON), and it was Mariah Carey (Avonport, NS) who redirected a nice pass from Megan Pardy (Courtice, ON) to tie the score at the 7:19 mark of the third period.
The Tommies were outshot 30-22 through regulation, but found another gear in overtime, generating several scoring opportunities.
The best chances in overtime came from both team captains, as Emily Oleksuk (Thunder Bay, ON) rang a shot off the cross bar and Sarah Bujold (Riverview, NB) was denied by Clarke on a breakaway.
Bujold and Emily Power (Airdrie, AB) scored in the shootout for StFX. Lauren Henman (Cow Bay, NS) scored once, and Lauren Legault (Winnipeg, MB) scored twice for the Tommies in the shootout as Legault was credited with the game winning goal.
"We knew what this game meant, and it could be the difference between two points and six points in the standings," said Tommies fifth year goaltender, Clarke, about the game's implications on the Atlantic University Sport standings. "It's a good kind of nervous coming into this game. They're a very, very good hockey team and we have to respect that. We took that good nervous and turned it into good energy."
Clarke made 34 saves through regulation and the two overtimes, and then stopped three of the five StFX shooters in the shootout to clinch the game for the Tommies. Molnar made 29 saves in the loss.
The game marked the final one of regular season play for the opening half of the season. The Tommies (14-2-0) will return to action following the holiday break when they host the Saint Mary's Huskies (8-6-1) on January 5th.
StFX (10-3-3) will travel to Montreal for exhibition action December 28-30 for the Concordia Theresa Humes tournament. They resume AUS regular season play on January 4th when they host the UNB Reds (7-5-3).
Courtesy St. Thomas Sports Information