Fredericton, NB - The St. Thomas University Tommies fell 2-0 to the St. Francis Xavier X-Women Friday night at the Grant Harvey Centre in a rematch of last year's Atlantic University Sport Championship.
However, there was more than just a hockey game on tap for the evening. The Tommies paid tribute to Maddy Murphy, who lost her life earlier in September. Both the Tommies and the X-Women had connections to Murphy, as Danielle Ring (Saint John, NB) of STU and Kristen McKinley (Rothesay, NB) both knew Murphy. Prior to the game the Murphy family were joined by friends at center ice for a ceremonial puck drop featuring Ring and McKinley.
"It's tough, because some of the girls did know Maddy, and those who didn't, know the girls who knew her," said Tommies head coach, Peter Murphy about the emotional nature of the game. "It was a nice, and I know the family appreciated the gesture to do the game in her honour. I spoke to Ben [Berthiaume] before the game and they were on board with anything we wanted to do for them."
The game began shortly after the ceremonial puck drop, and as if had been scripted from a movie it was McKinley who got the X-Women on the board just 47 seconds into the game, drawing assists from Lindsey Donovan and Cassidy McEwen.
After that goal McEwen and Tommies goalie Caroline Pietroski (Etobicoke, ON) would stay spotless for the remainder of the game, with McEwen turning away all 17 shots she faced and Pietroski stopping 24 shots.
"Caroline had a great game in net for us tonight," said Murphy about his rookie goaltender. "We didn't call on her to make any ridiculous saves, but she made all the saves she needed to make."
Emerson Elliott notched an empty net goal for StFX with 1.6 seconds left to seal the victory and push the X-Women's record to 3-0 on the year.
The Tommies are still searching for their first goal of the season, as they have been shutout through their opening three games. However, Murphy isn't worried about the goals coming for his team.
"We haven't scored yet, but we are a team I know can score so it's just a matter of time."
On the flip side of the scoring, the Tommies have been a shut down team defensively to kick off the 2019-20 campaign, allowing just six goals in their opening three games, with two of those goals coming via the empty net.
Following the game both teams joined each other at center ice for a group photo.
"It was really good to see that at the end because we compete hard against each other but at the same time there are bigger things in the world than a hockey game," said Murphy post-game.
StFX will travel to Moncton Saturday night to face the Aigles Bleues, while the Tommies will head to Sackville for a date with the Mounties in a matchup that will see one team get their first victory of the season.
Courtesy St. Thomas Sports Information