Antigonish, NS – The U SPORTS No. 6 ranked StFX X-Women defeated the UNB Reds 2-0 Friday night at the StFX Keating Centre in the first AUS regular season game of 2019.
The first period saw both teams held scoreless although the X-Women had a 12-6 edge in shots and generated a few key scoring chances. Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC) held her ground in the Reds net, and thanked her goal post when X-Women forward Lea MacLeod (Dartmouth, NS) dinged one off the pipe on a late period power play opportunity.
The X-Women went on the man-advantage again in the opening minute of the second period and despite four shots on goal could not solve Woodland. It was then the Reds turn for a power play, but they too could not convert.
The goose egg was finally broken when Kristen McKinley (Rothesay, NB) scored for StFX with 3:40 left in the second period. Defense Emma Thomas (Red Deer, AB) stretched a long pass up the side that McKinley took from just outside the blue line, then went in and roofed the puck over the shoulder of Woodland to give the home squad a 1-0 lead.
The advantage held up until the end of the period as StFX outshot UNB by a lopsided 13-2 margin in the middle frame.
The X-Women continued to outnumber the Reds in scoring chances in the third period and they took a 2-0 lead off a Santana Gravelle (Lumsden, AB) power play goal just over seven minutes in. Lindsey Donovan (Miramichi, NB) did a nice job of keeping the puck in the Reds zone then passed across to Gravelle on the point who unleashed a low shot that beat Woodland on the short side.
The Reds best scoring chance came with just over two minutes left in the period off consecutive shots by Hanna Matchett (Nanton, AB) and Ashley Stratton (Mount Pearl, NF) as StFX netminder Carley Molnar (London, ON) had to be quick.
UNB pulled Woodland in favour of the extra attacker with 39 seconds left to play, but time ran out on the visitors as X hung on for the victory.
Final shots were 35-17 for the X-Women as Molnar earned the shutout victory with 17 saves. She received third star of the game honours, while Reds netminder Woodland was the second star with 33 saves on goal.
StFX forward McKinley was the first star and Subway player of the game as her second period goal held up as the game winner.
The Reds are back on the ice Saturday night as they head to Halifax to take on Dalhousie in a 7:00 pm game. The X-Women will host Moncton on Sunday at 2:00 pm.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Communications