Women’s hockey squad continues win streak

Jessie McCann, right, of the St. Thomas University Tommies avoids Bria Harding of the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers during Saturday's game at Grant-Harvey Centre. McCann scored the first Tommies' goal before STU went on to win 8-3. Photo: Nathan DeLong/The AQ

The Tommies women’s hockey team wrapped up a four-game homestand on the weekend by extending its win streak to seven contests.

St. Thomas University (15-1-1) downed the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers 8-3 Saturday at Grant-Harvey Centre in a match that wasn’t as lopsided as the score suggests.

STU scored four goals in the third period, including two on the power play from forward Teah Anderson, to seal UPEI’s fate.

The Tommies were also led by Myf Thomson’s five points and goalie Taylor Cook’s 19-save performance.

“It was a lot closer than 8-3 for the majority of the game,” said Sara O’Toole, assistant coach of the Tommies.

Forward Maria Clinton opened the scoring for the Panthers (10-6-1) at 13:32 in the first frame, roofing a backhand shot on a rebound after Cook denied fellow rookie Jenna Pellerin’s initial scoring attempt.

Jessie McCann responded for STU three minutes later, shooting from the left point and beating UPEI netminder Megan Sullivan. Rearguard Samantha Squires and forward Emily Oleksuk provided the assists.

Stephanie Ford then knocked a rebound past Sullivan to put the Tommies up by a goal at 17:34. Thomson chipped in with the helper.

UPEI forward Lindsay Johnston was sent off for bodychecking at 5:14 in period two before Thomson made her pay 23 seconds later with the first of STU’s four power play goals on five opportunities.

Emma Weatherbie trimmed the Panthers’ deficit to one at 8:04, poking the puck in after a UPEI shot hit the goal post and Cook fell backwards in an effort to save it.

But the Tommies responded quickly – which has been a common theme lately – as Becky Conner’s shot went bar down to restore STU’s two-goal lead. Forwards Alisha Gilbert and Alex Woods recorded the assists.

UPEI forward Sydnee Baker made it 4-3 off a low shot that beat Cook on a man advantage at 10:33 while STU forward Danielle Ring served a slashing minor.

The Tommies scored early and often in the third period, as Anderson tipped a shot from Woods past Sullivan at 1:37 on a power play before Gilbert scored on a rebound a minute later.

Anderson’s tip was on point again at 10:33, as she deflected Paige Jackson’s shot into the UPEI net on the power play to make it 7-3.

Thomson earned the second assist on that goal before knocking a loose puck past Sullivan after the Panthers coughed it up at 14:06 to put the final nail in the coffin.

“It’s great to see different players having strong games, and it’s not always the same people,” said O’Toole.

“It shows that we have good depth and leadership and the older players are stepping up when they need to.”

Sullivan blocked 27 of the Tommies’ 35 shots in the losing effort. UPEI also went 1-for-3 on the man advantage.

STU will play four games on the road against the Saint Mary’s University Huskies, St. Francis Xavier University X-Women, Dalhousie University Tigers and Mount Allison University Mounties over the next two weekends before returning home to host the Huskies on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.

For three of those contests, the Tommies won’t have captain Kelty Apperson in the lineup. The dynamic fifth-year forward will play for Team Canada at the 2017 Winter Universiade event from Jan. 28 to Feb. 6 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

“We’re happy for her,” said O’Toole. “We’ll be cheering for her as she represents St. Thomas, which is incredible.”