Fredericton, NB- The St. Thomas University Tommies fell 4-3 in a shootout to the first place Saint Mary's University Huskies in AUS women's hockey action Friday night at the Grant Harvey Centre.
The Huskies found the board first when Siobhan Birch buried the powerplay marker to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
"We played the way we always want to play," said Tommies head coach Peter Murphy. "Saint Mary's started with a really good pace and we were able to pick our pace up for the rest of the game."
The Tommies knotted the game back 1-1 when Megan Pardy's put home a nice feed from Olivia Reid on the power play. The Tommies did not stop there, with Aislynn Byers scoring her first career AUS goal on a shot that floated just over Saint Mary's goalie, Rebecca Clark, and into the net to give the Tommies their first lead of the game. Caleigh Meraw responded with less than three minutes to go in the frame when she ripped a shot past Marandee Hunter, tying the game once again at 2-2.
Murphy believes his team played up to their capabilities on the game, but allowed powerplay goals where they should not have.
"We identified how they were possibly going to score and they did," said Murphy. "We will need a bit of work on the penalty kill, but they are also the top powerplay in the conference."
Saint Mary's netted their third powerplay goal of the game when Ellen Laurence worked her way towards the net in the third period, and slid one through the five-hole of Hunter, giving the Huskies their first lead since first period. The game dwindled down to the dying minutes when Florence Awde tied the game for the Tommies on a bullet of a shot with 2:29 remaining in the third period. The tying marker was the second time in as many games the Tommies tied the game with less than three minutes to play in regulation.
"Just keep things positive on the bench," said Murphy of his team's recent comebacks. "This year, it's being developed and coming a little later with the veterans."
The game outlasted overtime following a few close opportunities for both teams, forcing this one to a shootout.
Ellen Laurence potted the winner through Hunter's five-hole on the second shot for Saint Mary's and they walked away with a 4-3 win.
Laurence was also given first star honours on the night. Both goalies put on a show in this one, with Hunter stopping 31 of 35 shots for the Tommies, while Clark posted 22 saves for Saint Mary's.
The game marked the end of the first half of the season for the Tommies, where they sit 9-8-1 heading into the holiday break.
"There were a lot of questions coming into the season," said Murphy. "Very strong term for as many young players we have and we are looking forward to seeing how we move forward in the second half of the season."
The Tommies are back in action on January 4th, when they take on the University of New Brunswick Reds in exhibition action at the Grant Harvey Centre.