On the strength of the first regular season goals from a pair of freshmen, the St. F.X. X-Women skated to a 3-0 victory over the Saint Mary’s Huskies.
The Atlantic University Sport (AUS) rivals faced-off, Nov. 22, at the Keating Centre.
“It was pretty awesome,” Patti-Anne Tracey, an Antigonish native, said.
Her goal, on assists from Kristen McKinley and Emily Power, late in the second period, turned out to be the game-winner.
“We had just finished a strong power play, and our line was on the bench saying that we needed to work really hard on our next shift, and build off that energy,” Tracey said.
Noting her parents (Terese and Al) and many relatives, were in attendance, she agreed, it was great to score at home.
“I was really happy to get one for them,” Tracey said.
After Lydia Schurman – from Santana Gravelle and Lindsey Donovan – doubled the X-Women’s edge, early in the third period, Amy Graham finished the scoring, unassisted.
“It was really special,” she said of her first conference marker.
After taking a hard, low point shot through traffic, Graham pounced on the loose puck and ripped it into the open net.
Carley Molnar made 20 stops for the shutout.
Head coach Ben Berthiaume agreed the win was one of the team’s most complete efforts of the season.
“We have had a couple – I think that was one of them, for sure,” he said.
“From a systems’ point-of-view and just a work ethic, I think, we were there the whole game, which is nice to see, especially against a good team like Saint Mary’s.”
Berthiaume said the team is “always up” for match-ups with the Huskies.
“That is something we have to push forward with – against other teams – always having that jump,” he said.
“I think the players, in the last number of games, have been buying in more – as far as [knowing] we need that jump every shift. And, after every shift, refocus and go out and do it, again.
“We are really starting to do a good job at that,” Berthiaume added.
In the first of two games in six days versus the Huskies, freshman Emerson Elliott notched the deciding goal in a 3-1 win, Nov. 17, in Halifax.
After the Huskies opened the scoring, Power – from Schurman – tied it.
Late in the first period, Elliott gave the visitors a 2-1 edge, on assists from Daley Oddy and Sarah Bujold.
Molnar made 21 saves.
Sandwiched between those games, the X-Women skated to a 4-1 home win, Nov. 19, over the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues.
Elliott led X with four points, including a hat-trick.
“We didn’t start off with our best but, I think, we definitely showed that we can come back,” she said.
“We got better, as the game went on, and I am glad that we got the win.”
After a scoreless first, Elliott opened the scoring, from Oddy, at 5:07 of the second period.
After Moncton tied it, Oddy regained the one-goal edge, on the power play, with 30 seconds remaining in the period.
Elliott and Donovan assisted.
In the third, Elliott scored twice, with Schurman, Graham, Nicole Halladay and Emma Winters providing assists.
Cassidy McEwan made 21 saves for her first regular season victory.
“I certainly would not have been able to do it without the way our team played in front of me. It was a good performance by everyone,” she said.
One of the freshman’s key stops was a stretching glove save.
“I took a look before she was coming in, so I had an idea [what she was going to do],” McEwan explained.
She added, with a laugh, “It just kind of happened.”
As for her first year at X, McEwan said she “loves it.”
“It is awesome – a great experience. I don’t think any university can really compare to this one,” she said.
“I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” she said, adding the tremendous support she has received from her team.
Tracey echoed that sentiment.
“Everyone has been amazing,” she said, noting she is “enjoying everything” about her Xaverian experience.
“It is the best decision I have ever made,” Tracey added.