(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) The U SPORTS no. 4-ranked StFX X-Women opened up a 1-0 series lead over the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleues with a 4-0 victory Wednesday night in the first game of the best-of-three Subway AUS semifinal series.
The home StFX squad opened up a 3-0 lead after the first period as Carley Molnar (London, Ont.) earned the shutout victory in nets for the AUS first place X-Women.
AUS conference MVP Daley Oddy (Cranbrook, B.C.) opened the scoring in the game just over three minutes into the first period as she capitalized on a loose puck in the neutral zone and broke in alone on Moncton netminder Gabrielle Forget (Joliette, Que.), beating her with a high shot. The goal was unassisted and came shorthanded as the Aigles Bleues had just started a power play.
At the other end, Molnar came up with some key saves in the StFX net to maintain her team's early 1-0 lead.
Freshman forward Patti-Anne Tracey (Antigonish, N.S.) was on the receiving end of a nice pass on a two-on-one rush with AUS first team all-star defense Lindsey Donovan as the duo gave the X-Women a 2-0 lead at 15:10 of the opening period.
Moncton nearly replied with a goal of their own on the next shift as Brittany Poitras (Saint André, N.B.) rang one off the goal post.
With 44 seconds left in the opening period, Nicole Corcoran (Bloomfield, P.E.I.) increased the StFX lead to 3-0 as her shot from the point beat Forget five-hole. Kristen McKinley (Rothesay, NB) won a face-off in the Moncton zone then Kate Gotaas (Sherwood Park, Alta.) got the puck to Corcoran.
The X-Women took the 3-0 advantage into the locker room after 20 minutes despite being outshot 9-6 by the visiting Aigles Bleues.
Moncton were pressing early in the second period for a goal as they had a power play opportunity that generated several scoring chances, but the puck stayed out of the X net.
Forget then came up big with a couple key saves on an ensuing X-Women power play and the 3-0 score held after a fast-paced opening five minutes to the period.
The X-Women's fourth goal of the night came at 11:07 as Sarah Bujold (Riverview, N.B.) tipped in a Jenna MacDonald (Osgoode, Ont.) shot. Oddy had brought the puck into the Moncton zone, skated around behind the net then fed it to MacDonald who skated into the slot and one-timed it on the UdeM net. Bujold, parked in front, evaded the defenseman and tipped it in past Forget.
Marie-Pier Corriveau (Magog, Que.) and Sarah-Ève Mailhot (Montréal, Que.) nearly connected for a Moncton goal late in the period but Molnar held her ground in the StFX net.
The Aigles Bleues were kept off the scoresheet as the X-Women lead 4-0 through two periods, with shots even at nine apiece in the middle frame.
The third period saw each team exchange a handful of scoring chances but no goals were scored as the X-Women held on for the victory, and Molnar the shutout, with 21 saves in the game.
Forget turned aside 25 pucks in the losing effort for the Aigles Bleues who were outshot 29-21 by the X-Women.
A pair of veteran forwards earned Subway player of the game honours for their respective squads as Oddy received the nod for the X-Women and Katryne Villeneuve (Cassleman, Ont.) for the Aigles Bleues.
The series now shifts to Moncton, N.B. for Game 2 on Saturday evening as the X-Women look to win the Subway AUS semifinal series in two straight games, while the Aigles Bleues seek to force a third and decided game back in Antigonish on Monday evening.
Game time Saturday is 7 p.m. at J. Louis Levesque Arena.
Source: StFX Sports Information