Huskies come from behind to beat X-Women

Photo credit Eduardo Ibarra
Photo credit Eduardo Ibarra

HALIFAX, NS – The Saint Mary's Huskies scored four unanswered goals in a 4-3 comeback win over the U SPORTS #8 ranked STFX X-Women in Atlantic University Sport women's hockey action on Tuesday night at the Dauphinee Centre.

The Huskies came out of the gates firing, with forward Miranda Hatt (Regina, SK) getting a good shot attempt off of the opening faceoff, but X-Women goaltender Amaya Giraudier (Assiniboia, SK) was able to turn it away. The Huskies kept pressuring and recorded five of the first six shots on goal, but were unable to beat a sharp Giraudier in nets.

Despite the Huskies early pressure, it would be the visitors who hit the scoresheet first, as X-Women forward Landyn Pitts (Antigonish, NS) fired a shot from a tough angle that was deflected off the pad of Huskies goaltender Ridleigh Hansen (Red Deer, AB) onto the stick of Tea Pearce (Calgary, AB) who was able to knock the rebound into the goal to give STFX a 1-0 lead, 8:36 into the first period.

X-Women forward Kamdyn Switzer (Stittsville, ON) was a standout through the first 20 minutes and nearly doubled the visitors lead when she split a pair of Huskies defenders, but wasn't able to beat Hansen on a low shot.

Both teams fired 11 shots in the first period, and the X-Women took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

It took just 11 seconds for the X-Women to double their lead in the second period, off a beautiful passing play, as the opening faceoff went to defender Bree MacPherson (Antigonish, NS), who played a stretch pass to Maggy Burbidge (Falmouth, NS), who fired a nifty saucer pass right onto the stick of a charging Ireland McCloskey (Barrie, ON) who made no mistake, giving the X-Women a 2-0 lead.

Roughly five minutes later, the X-Women capitalized again off a faceoff in the Huskies zone, as Pitts won the draw and fired a shot towards goal, with Pearce once again able to bang the rebound home to put the visitors up 3-0, 4:43 into the second period.

The X-Women nearly added to their lead when McCloskey was sprung on a breakaway, but Hansen made a great save to keep the deficit at 3-0.

The Huskies cut into the X-Women lead midway through the period, as Hatt was able to intercept an X-Women breakout pass and fed linemate Ashley Penney (Lawrencetown, NS) who centred to Gillian Lapierre (Port Coquitlam, BC), who fired a fluttering shot that beat Giraudier on the glove side to cut the lead to 3-1.

Three minutes later the Huskies scored again off a nice individual effort from Ashley Penney. The play began when Hansen made a nice kick save, with Hatt chipping the puck ahead to a streaking Penney, who cut in, avoided a diving defender and beat Giraudier for the highlight reel worthy goal, cutting the lead to 3-2 with 7:10 remaining in the period.

The remainder of the period saw quality chances for both teams, but Giraudier and Hansen were quality in nets, with STFX taking a 27-24 advantage in shots on goal heading into the third period.

The X-Women made a goaltending change to begin the third period, with Brooklyn Oakes (Richmond Hill, ON) replacing Giraudier between the pipes.

Oakes turned away her first four shots faced, but the Huskies got a powerplay opportunity and capitalized midway through the period. Off a faceoff in the X-Women zone, Hatt won the draw and Penney dished a pass to Lapierre, who sniped a shot that took a fortuitous bounce off of Oakes and snuck over her shoulder for her second goal of the night, tying the game at 3-3.

Just three minutes later, the Huskies completed their comeback, as forward Aimee O'Neill (Glace Bay, NS) drove hard to the net creating a scramble in front, and defender Abigail MacKenzie (Stellarton, NS) was able to find the puck and stuff it home to put the Huskies in front 4-3, with 6:21 remaining in regulation.

The X-Women pushed for an equalizer and pulled their goalie for an extra attacker in the final 30 seconds. Penney had a chance at an empty net goal, was blocked by the X-Women defender, but the Huskies called for a penalty shot, which saw Oakes deny Penney's attempt. The Huskies were able to kill off the remainder of the clock and sealed their dramatic win with the 4-3 come-from-behind victory.

The X-Women outshot the Huskies 35-34 in the game, with Ridleigh Hansen turning away 32 shots for the win, while Giraudier (22 saves) and Oakes (eight saves) combined for 30 saves for the X-Women.

Huskies forward Gillian Lapierre was named Player of the Game with two goals, while Ashley Penney added one goal and two assists.

The Huskies win improves record to 10-5-1-2. They'll be on the road this weekend, visiting the St. Thomas Tommies (10-4-2-2) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Fredericton, NB and the UPEI Panthers on Sunday at 4 p.m. in Charlottetown, PEI.

The X-Women loss drops their record to 13-3-2-0 on the season. They'll be back on home ice on Friday, as the host the UPEI Panthers (5-11-0-2) at 7 p.m. in Antigonish, NS.


Recap by Allan April / Saint Mary's Huskies Athletics