Antigonish, NS - The visiting Saint Mary's Huskies defeated the StFX X-Women by a narrow 2-1 margin in an intense battle on Sunday afternoon between the top two teams in the conference.
It was the home side that opened the scoring at the 2:21 mark with Patti-Anne Tracey (Antigonish, NS) firing a great wrist shot off the near post and past Rebecca Clarke (Keswick, ON). The play began with Lindsay Donovan (Miramichi, NB) intercepting a SMU pass and streaking into the zone before she made a perfect cross-ice pass to Tracey.
The Huskies immediately turned up their intensity after falling behind. At the 6:59 mark Caitlin Peijkovic ((Sherwood Park, AB) rifled a wrist shot from the slot into the top corner and past X netminder Carly Molnar (London, ON). The Huskies line made quick short passes along the wall and when the time and space was just right, Laura Horwood (Grandfalls-Windsor, NL) fed Peijkovic in the slot.
The second period saw each team exchange scoring chances. Both teams were good in transition with the defenders not slow to join the rush or make a long pass if the opportunity presented itself. They also showed good passing skills in the offensive zone, but there was a tendency by times to throw passes into the slot area only to have the defending team quickly counter-attack.
The only goal of the period was scored with only 17 seconds remaining. Kaitlin Howarth (Thunder Bay, ON) worked hard along the half-way to win the puck and then quickly passed it back to Taylor Keeping (Hacketts Cove, NS). Keeping threaded a nice pass through to the veteran Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON) in close, who placed her shot into the top corner of the net.
The Huskies were able to hold the X-Women scoreless in the third period. The game did become a bit chippy with a number of body contact penalties being assessed. Each team had its stand out players, the Huskies rookie defensive pairing of Caleigh Meraw (Red Deer, AB) and Alexa McMillan (Edmonton, AB) was excellent in all three zones. They often faced Sarah Bujold (Moncton, NB) and StFX's main offensive threats and helped to see SMU through to a precious road victory in Antigonish.
The Huskies Howarth was named the game's third star, StFX's Molnar, with 23 saves in the losing effort was the second star and Kiana Wilkinson was named first star and Subway Player of the Game for her efforts.
The Huskies next play host to the Mounties on Thursday, November 15 at 7:00 pm. StFX will travel to Fredericton to play the UNB Reds next Friday at 7:00 pm.
Courtesy Bart Sears, StFX Sports Information