Tommies split weekend double header

(Billy Cole/AQ)

The St. Thomas University women’s hockey team split a pair of weekend home games on Nov. 22 and Nov. 23. Their Friday night matchup welcomed the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers to town, while the Saturday night matchup had the Tommies face-off against the Mount Allison University Mounties.

University of Prince Edward Island Panthers

The Tommies struggled to generate momentum Friday night and the Panthers came away with a 3-1 victory.

Being outshot 13-4 in the first period, rookie goaltender Caroline Pietroski was put to the test, being forced to kill off two first period powerplays. UPEI was able to capitalize on the first powerplay to take a 1-0 lead but failed to get the puck past Pietroski during the second powerplay, keeping her team in the game.

STU continued to struggle in the second period, as the Panthers scored their second goal of the game midway through to take a 2-0 lead. The Tommies were unable to capitalize on their powerplay opportunity and were outshot once again in the period, this time 11-6.

Head coach Peter Murphy said the Panthers played with much more confidence than the last time the two met.

(Billy Cole/AQ)

“They’ve gotten some wins so they’re playing with a little more confidence,” Murphy said.

“That’s just the way it’s going to be this year. Confidence can sometimes not be there. So that was the biggest difference between us and them.”

The Panthers would strike again early in the final period of play to take a comfortable 3-0 lead. STU was able to make a late period push after a powerplay goal from Emma Wilson through the period. The Tommies pushed for the comeback, attacking the net and generating multiple scoring opportunities but were unable to find the back of the net again. The Panthers would skate away with a 3-1 win.

“We played a good eight minutes. Up until then, I’m not quite sure what we were doing,” Murphy said.

“It didn’t look at all like our team and the way it’s been playing.”

Pietroksi stopped 29 of 32 shots.

Mount Allison University Mounties

The Tommies were able to climb back the following night, dominating the Mounties in a 5-1 victory with goals coming from players who haven’t found the back of the net as often as others.

Kaylee Vader led off the high-scoring affair, as she fought off a Mounties defender while pushing hard to the net and was able to tuck the puck underneath the pad of the MTA goaltender for her second goal of the season.

It didn’t take long for the Tommies to get on the score sheet again, as Megan Pardy was able to split the defence while on the penalty kill and score her first goal of the season just two minutes after Vader’s goal.

The Mounties scored a powerplay goal in the minutes following the Tommies’ second goal to split the lead in half but it would be as close as they got, as STU finished the first period with a 2-1 lead.

Murphy said his team tried to capitalize on rebounds throughout the game.

(Billy Cole/AQ)

“We basically played those two goalies similarly but this one, the rebounds are sometimes there if you put pucks to the net so I think that’s what we’re trying to capitalize on,” he said.

It was Olivia Reid of the Tommies who shined in the second period, scoring two quick goals, one during the powerplay and the other just three minutes apart. Captain Emily Oleksuk assisted both goals. The Tommies went into the final period with a commanding 4-1 lead and defended it well during the final 20 minutes of play.

Mariah Carey of STU topped off the scoring late in the period while rookie goalie Marandee Hunter stopped 19 of 20 shots in the game to give the Tommies a 5-1 win for their eighth win of the year, putting them at the .500 mark with an 8-8 record.