Antigonish, NS – The St. Thomas Tommies forced a deciding Game 3 in the Subway AUS semifinals with a 2-0 shutout victory over the StFX X-Women Sunday night in front of over 400 fans at the Charles V. Keating Centre.
Paige Jackson's (Stoney Creek, ON) early first period power play goal was all the Tommies needed to take the second game of the series and send it back to Fredericton for a deciding Game 3 on Tuesday night.
Upon reflecting on the game Tommies head coach Peter Murphy commented, "It's always tough to win here to start with, but we knew we'd done it before this year and we were confident."
"There was a lot of penalties in the game both ways so each team had to work on their special teams. I don't think either team is really happy with their power play, but we were happy with our penalty kills tonight. Our D played really well and did a great job for us."
The Tommies took advantage of an early power play opportunity to start the game as Jackson put an innocent shot toward the StFX net that deflected in off an X-Women player and fooled goaltender Ariana Orasanin (Ancaster, ON). Assisted by Eliza Snider (Fort Saskatchewan, SK) and Teah Anderson (Regina, SK), the marker came at 2:24.
After a cautious first period of play, the Tommies held onto the 1-0 lead, also holding a 10-6 shot advantage to start the game.
The second period was physical and special teams were pressed into action. The X-Women fought off a pair of penalties. X-Women captain Kara Power (New Glasgow, NS) had three breakaways in the middle period but was unable to capitalize as Tommies netminder Abby Clarke (Springdale, NL) stood her ground between the posts and had help from the cross bar on one of Power's breakaway chances.
The Tommies penalty kill then went to work and held off a couple of X-Women power play opportunities, including a five-minute major assessed to defenseman Snider for cross checking.
Shots favored the X-Women 11-5 in the middle period.
St. Thomas continued their strong defensive play in the third period and were rewarded with a goal at 17:40, stopping any momentum the X-Women had in trying to score the equalizer. Lauren Henman (Cow Bay, NS) stole the puck in front of the StFX net and beat Orasanin high over the shoulder. Samantha Squires (Guelph, ON) and Kelty Apperson (New Hamburg, ON) picked up helpers on the play.
The X-Women pulled Orasanin in the final minute but were unable to mount an offensive attack as St. Thomas held on the win and Clarke earned the shutout victory with 26 saves.
Orasanin turned aside 20 pucks in the losing effort for StFX who were 0-for-5 on the power play.
X-Women acting head coach Ben Berthiaume commented, "I don't think we had it tonight. We were flat at times and we need to going the whole time and putting pressure on them and we didn't do that."
StFX head coach David Synishin was at the game but on limited duty as he continues to recover from a recent illness.
Tommies captain Apperson took home Subway player of the game honors for her team, while X-Women forward Jenna MacDonald (Osgoode, ON) received the same honor for her squad.
The Subway AUS semifinal series now shifts back to Fredericton for the deciding Game 3. Puck drops at 7:00 pm on Tuesday at the Grant Harvey Centre.
Looking towards the game that will send one team to the U SPORTS national championship at Queen's University March 16-19, Coach Murphy said, "I don't think either team is changing up their game plan, we know each other pretty well. We'll go out there and it'll be a good game."
Game 3 will be webcast on www.austv.ca.