The Saint Mary's Huskies held on to beat the St. Thomas Tommies 4-3 in game one of their 2018 AUS Subway women's hockey semifinal series at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night.
"I thought we were good in the first and then everything after that was just hold on for dear life," said Huskies head coach Chris Larade. "We know we're going to need to be a lot better than that cause quite frankly that was nowhere near our best."
Kate Barber, Nicole Blanche, Laura Polak and Caitlin Pejkovic scored for SMU.
Rebecca Clark finished with 13 saves for the Huskies.
Olivia Reid, Lauren Henman and Becky Connor found the net for STU.
Abby Clarke made 29 saves and was named player of the game. She was busy in the first making 16 of her stops in the opening 20-minutes.
The Huskies got off to a strong start and controlled the play in the first.
Barber opened the scoring 4:56 into the game. Carly Baker sent the puck into the corner - Barber picked it up took it to the front of the net and slipped it home five-hole.
Blanche gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead at 10:23 of the first. Polak, Blanche and Breanna Lanceleve were working the cycle game in the STU zone. Polak gave it to Lanceleve who fed Blanche cutting to the net from the corner. Blanche made a shifty move to her backhand and flipped it in over the pad.
Shots were 18-5 for SMU in the first.
The Tommies exploded out of the gate in the second, and kept up the pace from there.
Reid made it 2-1 just 10-seconds into the middle frame. Emily Oleksuk worked into the SMU zone up the left wing off the opening draw, she put a pass on Reid's tape crashing to the back post and Reid sent it into the mesh
Polak restored the two-goal lead for Saint Mary's at 4:14 of the second. She worked into the Tommies zone and fed Lanceleve in the slot, her shot went just wide and Polak was able to direct the puck towards goal from a tough angle and it found it's way in.
Henman got it to 3-2 with a power play goal just over a minute later. Kristina Kocsis sent the puck down low to Henman who fed it towards the front of the net, the puck rattled around in the crease before crossing the line.
Pejkovic scored the eventual winner at 12:46 of the second. Hannah Askin worked it up to Taylor Keeping on the right wing. Keeping had her head up the whole way and spotted Pejkovic crashing towards the back post and Pejkovic made no mistake with a one-touch shot up high just inside the bar.
Saint Mary's led the shot battle in the second 9-6.
The third was an end-to-end affair.
Conner made it a one-goal game again 8:40 into the period. Paige Jackson fed Conner on the right wing, she chipped the puck up the wall and was able to beat several Huskies into the zone before firing a shot from the low circle that found it's way in after Clark got a piece of it.
STU pulled Clarke for the extra attacker with a minute left and SMU took a penalty that made it a six-on-four for 32-seconds. The Huskies were able to rag the puck on the wall to kill off the clock and hold on for the win.
Shots were 33-16 overall for Saint Mary's.
Up next, game two is in Fredericton, N.B. on Saturday, February 24 with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop. If necessary game three will be back at Alumni Arena on Monday, February 26.
Courtesy of Cam Honey-Webb, SMU