ANTIGONISH, NS - The UNB REDS defeated the STFX X-Women in dramatic fashion on Friday night, with a thrilling 3-2 come from behind overtime victory at the Charles V Keating Centre.
REDS defender MacKenzie Keenan (Midhurst, ON) played the hero, notching the overtime winner with a low shot off a pass from captain Payton Hargreaves (Whitby, ON), who earned player of the game honours.
As expected, it was a low scoring affair early on. STFX controlled possession in the first period but UNB goalie Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC), the 2022-23 USPORTS player of the year, made a number of big saves, including a couple of breakaways. Shots at the end of the first period were 19-3 in favour of STFX.
UNB kept pushing to even the score but X-Women goaltender Amaya Giraudier (Assiniboia, SK) was up to the task, making a couple of big saves late in the period, and kept the score 1-0 through 40 minutes. Shots at the end of the second period were 26-11 in favour of the X-Women.
It was UNB captain Hargreaves who tied the game with her seventh goal of the season midway through the third period, firing one in from up close, with the assists going to Katelyn Scott (Almonte, ON) and Robyn Brokenshire (St. Albert, AB).
STFX reclaimed the lead with less than five minutes to play, thanks to a goal from Ashlyn Garnett (Dartmouth, NS) off a feed from McCloskey. However, the REDS weren't done for the night, with Lindsey Smith (Onslow, NS) going high with a shot off a scramble. Lillian George (Nipissing First Nation) assisted.
Shots at the end of the third were 37-22 in favour of STFX as the teams were knotted at 2-2 at the end of regulation play.
The overtime action was back and forth until Keenan buried the winner, with two minutes left to play.
Woodland picked up her sixth win of the season, making 36 saves. Giraudier had 20 saves while picking up the loss.
STFX forward Kamdyn Switzer Stittsville, ON) was named second star of the game, while Woodland earned the third star.
It's a short turnaround for the X-Women, who host the Mount Allison Mounties on Sunday afternoon for a 3 p.m. matchup. The REDS continue their road trip with a game against the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Recap courtesy Matt Draper, STFX Athletics
Tonight's match up marked the second annual Hockey Gives Blood fundraiser game for X-Women Hockey, raising awareness for stem cell & blood donations in partnership with the STFX Blood Club and Canadian Blood Services. To learn more and register to become a donor, visit www.blood.ca