X-Women clinch first place with win over Reds in final regular season game

Photo credit Fran Harris
Photo credit Fran Harris

(FREDERICTON, NB) The STFX X-Women scored three times in the first period in a 5-2 win over the UNB REDS on Tuesday night, the final game of the Atlantic University Sport regular season.

The game was original scheduled for February 3rd but was postponed due to inclement weather.

With the win, STFX finishes atop the AUS standings, one point better than the REDS.

"It wasn't the outcome we wanted," said REDS' captain Payton Hargreaves (Whitby, ON).

The home team opened the scoring, on a fluke play.

Mackenzie Keenan (Midhurst, ON) fired a puck from behind the goal line that struck a stick in front of the X-Women net and ricocheted past goalie Brooklyn Oakes (Richmond Hill, ON).

The visitors countered exactly one minute later, on a goal by Ireland McCloskey (Barrie, ON) and again 47 seconds after that on a goal by Landyn Pitts (Antigonish, NS) to take a 2-1 lead.

Two minutes later, Anna MacCara (Trenton, NS) broke in alone and beat REDS' goalie Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC) to put STFX up 3-1.

MacCara's goal prompted a UNB timeout as interim head coach Kyle MacDonald looked to stem the visitor's momentum.

The tactic worked and the X-Women took their 3-1 lead into the first intermission.

The second period took on a decidedly different tone with defence and goaltending taking over for almost 15 minutes.

With 5:30 to play in the period, off a draw in the STFX zone, Marisa Valla (St. Catharines, ON) feathered a shot through the slot that was deflected by Hargreaves and past Oakes, trimming the X lead to 3-2.

In the third period, X added to their lead.

McCloskey scored on a penalty shot at the 13:13 mark and Kalle Hastman (Calgary, AB) added an empty-net goal to make the final 5-2.

UNB outshot the X-Women 35-27.

"It was a gutsy win," said Oakes, named the Tim Horton's Player of the Game. "That was the most shots I've had all year. I fought hard, we all fought hard, and we wanted it so bad, and we earned it.",

"We scored first, had some momentum and had a lot of fight in us, but they capitalized on the three opportunities that they had and that was the big difference-maker there," said Hargreaves.

The X-Women finish the regular season with a record of 21-5-2-0 (W-L-OTL-SOL), good for 44 points. The REDS finish 21-6-0-1, good for 43 points.

"We have to regroup and come together as a team," said Hargreaves. "We have to come out flying and not let the other team get those opportunities to put us down early."

Both teams earn byes through the first round of the AUS playoffs and await to-be-determined semi-final opponents.


Recap courtesy Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics