Stills from the Battle on the hill, from this past Friday 25th, 2022. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

It was a disappointing night for the women’s hockey team at St. Thomas University as the University of New Brunswick shut out the Tommies 4-0 during its annual Battle of The Hill on Nov. 25.

The weekend game marked UNB’s fifth shutout victory of the year second against the Tommies in November which only propels the Reds higher in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and U Sport standings. 

The Reds are currently first in Canada for women’s hockey with a record of 14-1-0-1. They proved too much to handle at the Grant-Harvey Centre as second-year Lauren Carter potted two, followed by goals from Payton Hargreaves and Ashley Stratton. 

Rather than UNB dominating, it was STU’s frequent trips to the penalty box that contributed to the loss. 

STU Head Coach Peter Murphy said the team needs to have better discipline and “be able to play hard” without bringing too much emotion into the game.

“Some people who took some penalties stayed on the bench for a little while after they took them, so hopefully they’ll get the message,” he said.

The Reds scored three power play goals. Coming into the game, their power play was hovering around 10 per cent. The percentage went up to 12.6 per cent.

“We made their power play look pretty good tonight,” said Murphy.

UNB goaltender Kendra Woodland stopped all 18 shots she faced during the shutout, bringing her stats to 1.09 Goals Against Average while boasting a .958 save percentage, making her the top women’s goalie of the AUS. In 10 games, she’s 9-1 and has only allowed 11 goals. 

The glimmer of light in a sea of darkness was Tommies player Kat Pelowich, who used her speed on multiple rushes to gain centre ice in the offensive zone, which resulted in high-danger chances against Woodland.  

“I saw a lot of ice today up the middle; I had a couple of rushes. UNB was giving us the middle, which is something that’s good for us — that we were able to adjust to,” said Pelowich. 

For the Tommies, the scoreboard woes keep on coming, being shut out three games in a row, including 7-0 against St. Francis Xavier University on Nov. 19 and 5-0 versus l’Université de Moncton on Nov. 23.

Murphy said during the winter break, the Tommies plan to work on their defence and offence.

“Defensively, we’ve got to do better to limit shot chances, and on the other side, we’ve got to recover more pucks and generate more shot chances,” he said.

The Tommies continue to get out-chanced and out-worked game after game. While defending, they allow the other team to continue possession and pepper their goalies, Caroline Pietroski and Katie Sweeney, with shots from high-danger areas. 

Multiple times this season for STU, goalies have been hung out to dry by their defence and offence.

In their last eight games, STU is 1-7, scoring only five goals while surrendering 29. They’ve been outshot 321-166, a staggering 155 shot advantage for the opponents, while the average is 20 for STU and 40 for the opposition.   

The offence must find a way to be creative and generate more shots when the Tommies come back to play l’Université de Moncton on Jan. 6, 2023. 

“We’re going to come back stronger next semester,” said Pelowich.