Back in 2019, the St. Thomas University Tommies women’s hockey season came to a halt due to COVID-19. The sole opportunities to play were exhibition games against the University of New Brunswick Reds team.
On Sept. 18, they finally competed against another team, the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers, in their pre-season tune-up.
“It’s surreal. It’s nice to play someone else,” said forward Megan Pardy. “[UPEI] is a tough team to play. They’re big, strong, physical, fast – they’ve got skill. So, it was a good game to start with.”
The game started at 3 p.m. but the team was at the Grant Harvey Center earlier to do their stretches, warm-ups and pre-game skate around the freshly scraped ice.
Players from both teams were leisurely stickhandling around their zone and shooting on their goalies and the empty net. But, when the puck was dropped by the referee at centre ice, it was game on.
STU came out of the gate strong, generating many scoring chances on UPEI.
STU’s goalie Caroline Pietroski didn’t face many shots, but had the challenge of stopping three penalties in the first period, two of them being at the same time resulting in a 5-on-3, where UPEI dominated the offensive zone with their passes and cycling.
Towards the end of the second period, Pardy took a trip to the penalty box, leaving her team shorthanded. But, she ended up celebrating when forward Emma Wilson scored, with an assist by defenseman Aislynn Byers.
It was the third period, and Wilson scored again with a bar down on the Panther’s goalie after entering the zone on a 2-on-1 and looking off her pass option at the top of the left face-off dot. The Panthers tied up the game with two goals on a powerplay with less than five minutes left in the third.
They entered a three-on-three overtime, where Pardy received a pass and used the space given to her from the UPEI defense on the right side of the ice. Her speed gave her a 20-foot breakaway and she went one-on-one with the goalie.
“I don’t even know what happened really, I kind of blacked out,” she said. “I was going to shoot, and then I figured I’d try a deke.”
After a coordinated effort by the Tommies women’s team, they finished the game with a 4-3 win.