Battle of the Hill: Tommies welcome fans back

The St. Thomas University women's hockey team played their home opener against the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds in the first “Battle of the Hill” on Oct. 8, 2021. (SRM Photography/STU Athletics)

The St. Thomas University women’s hockey team played their home opener against the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds on Oct. 8 in the first “Battle of the Hill” of the season.

Fans were lined up all the way out to the lobby of the Grant Harvey Center to get a seat and some made signs to show their support for the teams.

“It’s just nice to have the fans I think more than anything. … We have good fan support here,” said head coach Peter Murphy.

He said the team missed their fans last year, especially since they only played six games in the shortened 2020-21 season, where a home-opener wasn’t possible due to the pandemic.

Peter Murphy, seen in this file photo, is the head coach for the St. Thomas University women’s hockey team. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

The game began with a ceremonial puck drop by STU captain Alex Woods, UNB captain Frederike Cyr, STU president Dawn Russell and senator David Richards.

Four minutes into the first period, UNB goalie Hailey Martens collapsed to the ice after a collision. Martens suffered an upper-body injury and went to the hospital but was later released. She was replaced by Kendra Woodland who played for the U22 Canada Development Team before coming to the Reds.

UNB applied pressure to the Tommies team to regain control of the puck. But STU managed to keep all of the offensive pressure to the boards, allowing goalie Caroline Pietroski to make saves.

In the second period, UNB scored four goals in a row and three of them went in just over the right shoulder of Pietroski.

In the third period, STU pressured on Woodland who made 21 saves throughout the game.

Olivia Reid, a St. Thomas University student and forward on the women’s hockey team, said Battle of the Hill is a fun game to play. (Aaron Sousa/AQ)

Reid scored the first goal for STU off a pass from linemate Emma Wilson. Wilson scored STU’s second goal with an assist from Aislynn Byers.

“[Battle of the Hill is] always a quick game which is fun to play in, obviously a little more fun when the score is going our way,” said STU forward Olivia Reid. “[The Reds are] a tough team and if you let up for one second, they’ll take advantage of it.”

The Tommies lost 5-2 to UNB.

“We’re obviously going to learn from it and come back harder next time,” said Reid, focusing on their upcoming game on Oct. 29.

Murphy said he was pleased with what he saw from his players during the Battle of the Hill game.

“We felt it was a closer game than what the score showed,” he said. “A lot of teams pack it in, but we didn’t – lots of fight in the girls.”