Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Women defeated the U SPORTS No. 2 ranked Saint Mary's Huskies 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday night at the Charles V. Keating Centre. Second year X-Women forward Tyra Meropoulis (Edson, AB) scored the game winner, adding to her national leading point tally with three points in the game.
With 27 total points (20 goals, 7 assists), Meropoulis currently leads U SPORTS in both points and goals scored. She scored two goals and added an assist in the win over SMU to earn Subway player of the game honours.
The teams played a cautious first period and did not generate a lot of big scoring chances. Shots were low, 7-6 in favour of the X-Women.
The Huskies had two power play opportunities in the period but X held them off.
StFX's best scoring chances came late in the period, as they were pressuring in the Huskies end and controlled the possession to generate a few shots on goal, but Rebecca Clark (Keswick, ON) held her ground in the SMU net.
The Huskies began the second period on the power play but were again unable to effectively set up and get any shots on net.
Ellen Laurence (Kentville, NS) had a great scoring chance for SMU but X-Women netminder Jamie Johnson (Victoria, BC) stopped her from point blank range in the slot.
The Huskies finally broke the goose egg at 8:18 of the second period as Siobhan Birch (Mississauga, ON) scored. After Johnson stopped a two-on-one rush, she couldn't squeeze the rebound and Birch was on the door step to put the puck in.
The lead didn't last long, however, as the X-Women answered back two minutes later. Emerson Elliott (Aurora, ON) brought the puck down the wing and found linemate Meropoulis in front of the Huskies goal and she potted it past Clark.
Taylor Keeping (Hacketts Cove, NS) gave the Huskies back the lead with 2:30 left in the period as she connected with Laura Horwood (Grandfalls-Windsor, NL) on another odd-man rush into the X zone.
The 2-1 Saint Mary's lead held up after 40 minutes as shots were even at nine apiece in the middle frame.
They went up 3-1 just 1:09 into the third period as Miranda Hatt put in a rebound after SMU pressure in the StFX end.
StFX quickly got back into the game thanks to a pair of power play goals scored a minute and a half apart. Jayden Thompson (Aurora, ON) scored at 3:33 while on the man-advantage and the X-Women went right back on the power play as a penalty was called on the same play.
On the ensuing power play, Elliott tipped in a Meropoulis shot to score the X-Women's third goal of the night and even things up at 3-3.
The period continued with fast-paced action as both teams pressed for the go-ahead goal.
The duo of Meropoulis and Elliott almost connected on a two-on-one but Clark came up with a big glove save with six minutes left to keep her team in the game.
Regulation play closed out with the score knotted at three goals apiece as Saint Mary's outshot the X-Women 28-25.
The first five-minute overtime of four-on-four play did not solve anything. Nor did the five-minute three-on-three extra period that followed.
Kristen McKinley (Rothesay, NB) had the best scoring chance for the X-Women in the second overtime period, and Horwood nearly netted a goal for the Huskies, but the teams remained deadlocked after the extra time.
Meropoulis was the 10th shooter in the shootout and the only one to score as she beat Clark five-hole to secure the win for the blue and white.
Final shots in the game were 41-33 for the X-Women as Johnson picked up the win with 30 saves and picked up third star honours. Huskies forward Taylor Keeping was the second star.
With the win the X-Women improve to 14-5-1 on the season and remain in third place, two points back of UPEI and four points back of the first place Huskies who fall to 16-4-0.
Saint Mary's are back in action Friday night, January 17th when they host Moncton. The X-Women will then host the same Moncton squad on Saturday night in Antigonish.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information