Strong second period not enough to overcome X-Women
On Saturday in the Sackville arena the Mounties women’s hockey team fell in their season opener to the St. FX X-Women by a score of 4-2. In front of a crowd excited to see hockey starting up again, the Mounties put on a solid performance, despite the loss. The team showed a lot of potential for good things in the coming season.
The game started with nerves from the Mounties in their home opener, allowing St. FX to take advantage and procure several quality scoring chances. Fortunately Mountie goalie Keri Martin did not show any sign of early-game jitters, making the first save of the game with ease and continuing to make great saves throughout the opening minutes of the game. One to note was a kick save with the left pad made on the full stretch to deny the St. FX forward.
With nine minutes left in the period St. FX finally beat Martin with a quick rush by the right winger, snapping a shot that hit the far post behind Martin and ricocheted directly onto the stick of a St. FX forward who deposited it into the open net. Toward the end of the period the Mounties seemed to have gotten over their nerves and started to put pressure on the St. FX defense.
The Mounties come out firing on all cylinders in the second period, with first year Andrea Dinan scoring the Mounties first goal of the regular season.
It happened after St. FX turned the puck over in the neutral zone and it was picked up by fifth-year defense Emily van Diepen, who made a great lead pass finding Dinan streaking down the left wing into the zone where she snapped a shot off the far post and in to tie the game at ones.
A quick penalty taken by the Mounties slowed some of the momentum from the recent goal, and it was completely gone when St. FX scored one minute later. A scramble in front of the Mountie net resulted in the puck landing on a St. FX forward’s stick and being slid past a screened Martin, making the score 2-1. Following this goal, lines led by alternate captain Kara Anthony and captain Mackenzie Lalonde put together good shifts of hard forecheck and cycle, trying to find the equalizer being unable to get past the St. FX goalie.
Late in the second period St. FX found the back of the net again, this time on a quick shot from the side boards that was tipped right in front of the net into the top corner over the shoulder of Martin. This made the score 3-1.
Again the Mounties started the period strong, scoring minutes into the third. After just grazing the post with a shot, the Mounties picked up the puck behind the St. FX net and Kelly Matarazzo fed it in front through a sea of legs. The puck found the stick of Rhiannon Ford who one-timed a hard slap shot past the St.FX goalie, making it a one-goal game again.
St. FX again answered quickly with a shot from the point that Martin kicked in front of the net. The St. FX forward picked up the rebound and beat Martin with a backhand on the short side to make the score 4-2. This was a tough one for the Mounties, as after gaining momentum from a goal St. FX were able to strike right back.
Late in the third Martin made two highlight reel saves to keep the Mounties close, the first on a St. FX player coming on a breakaway. Martin was able to quickly close the five hole and deny the goal. Seconds later she made a diving save across the crease to pull the puck off of the goal line.
Despite a good effort in the final minutes, the Mounties were unable to find the two goals necessary to tie the game. An entertaining game that demonstrated this young Mounties team has speed, skill and will gain experience. Captains Lalonde and other veterans, including alternate captain Anthony, Bujold and van Diepen, will be counted on to provide leadership to this young group as they improve. The star of the game overall was goaltender Keri Martin, who made 40 saves, many of the spectacular variety, and will surely give the Mounties a chance to win every game. Congratulations to both Andrea Dinan and Rhiannon Ford for scoring their first career AUS regular season goals.