AUS women’s hockey championship daily recap: Saturday

The two foes fought valiantly but it was UPEI who came out on top, earning a spot to the finals. Photo by Dal Athletics.

The two foes fought valiantly but it was UPEI who came out on top, earning a spot to the finals. Photo by Dal Athletics.

UPEI Panthers  2 – 1  St. FX X-Women

UPEI Panthers goalie Kristy Dobson carried her team on her shoulders and now finds herself in the AUS championship game because of it.

Dobson was sensational throughout but she really shined in a third period where the puck rarely left her team’s end. Her masterful performance between the pipes led the Panthers to a nail-biting 2 – 1 upset Saturday over the No. 1 St. FX X-Women. The loss knocks the defending champion out of the playoffs.

The nationally ranked St. FX program outclassed their opponents in the shot department, 34 – 17.

Graduating forward Kelsey O’Donnell said it’s unlike anything she has experienced as a Panther. It is the first time her school has beaten St. FX in the program’s six-year history.

“It’s the most surreal feeling I’ve had in the five years I’ve been with the team,” O’Donnell said, holding back tears. “It’s just all our hard work this year is finally paying off. It’s great to see.”

The victory shoves UPEI into an unexpected final Sunday afternoon against Mount Allison, who earned the Pool B berth after beating the University of Moncton in the second game on Saturday.

UPEI was the first to get on the scoreboard, tallying 17:31 into the first period with a power play marker from Jenelle MacKenzie.

Midway through the second, UPEI doubled their lead when rookie Jessie-Anne Howard corralled a rebound to the back of the net to take the 2 – 0 advantage.

In the third, St. FX gave it their all but were turned aside again and again by Dobson. The X-Women solved her once with 3:43 remaining but the buzzard rang before the defending champs could score again, falling 2 – 1 to close out their 20 – 4 season.

St. FX would have automatically qualified for the finals if they could have pushed the game into overtime.

UPEI is lucky to come out with the victory after their goalie was peppered with 14 shots, while the team in front of her only managed one shot. Considering that they still won the game, UPEI head coach Bruce Donaldson can laugh about it now.

“My defence coach said to me, about halfway through the period, ‘Have we not had a shot yet?’ and I said, ‘No,’ Donaldson recalled. “And he said, ‘What do you think?’ I told him, I don’t care. We don’t need a goal, they need two.”

St. FX didn’t get their desired two goals thanks to strong netminding from Dobson. Not even the nation’s second best scorer Janelle Parent could get the puck past her.

“We hit posts, we hit her square in the chest. I don’t know, we had to get one but she just stood on her head and kept her team in there,” she said.

Dobson was mobbed by her teammates after winning player of the game honours. She was serenaded to a “Dobson!” chant while leaving the ice from a loud contingent of UPEI fans.

 

Mount Allison's #18 Katelyn Morton is on Moncton's doorstep. Photo by Pau Balite.

Mount Allison's #18 Katelyn Morton is on Moncton's doorstep. Photo by Pau Balite.

Mount Allison Mounties  5 – 4  University of Moncton Aigles Bleus

Mount Allison came back from a pair of two-goal deficits Saturday to punch their ticket to the AUS championship game.

The No. 3 ranked Mounties fell behind 2 – 0 in the first period and 4 – 2 at the end of the second, but still managed to recover from both daunting deficits to turf the No. 2 ranked Moncton Aigles Bleus 5 – 4.

To get to the AUS championship game is a remarkable accomplishment for the Mounties. Before squeaking into the playoffs last season, Mount Allison spent four years in the basement as the conference’s worst team.

Fourth-year forward Katelyn Morton said this victory is a statement to the conference that they cannot be ignored.

“Everyone thought we could never do it because we’ve been a weaker team these past couple of years, but we’ve proven ourselves just by playing hard.”

Mount Allison will next face off against UPEI to secure AUS supremacy on Sunday. Both teams have not won a league championship in their school’s history.

“This is what we play for,” said Mount Allison coach Zach Ball. “Every team in the league wants to be on the ice tomorrow, and every team in this league wants to be playing in the CIS championships in Edmonton, so, you know, we take things one step at a time.”

Katelyn Morton made it her mission to keep the Mounties in contention, scoring her team’s opening three goals. She said her side’s never-say-die attitude worked in their favour.

“I don’t know, we’re just one of those teams that play better when we’re down,” she said. “We know we have to. We can’t let up.”

After Morton’s back-to-back goals for Mount Allison evened the match at two apiece, the Mounties found themselves down by two goals once again late in the second period.

Mount Allison’s 4 – 2 deficit led to an interesting final period. Morton got her hat trick early in the frame, crashing the net to cash in the rebound. Later, 4:30 into the period, defender Megan Davies embarrassed Moncton goalie Kathy Desjardins, lobbing the puck from the point just far enough to bounce right in front of the goalie and slide past Desjardins’ five-hole to tie the match at four.

Davies capitalized again 13:13 into the period to give Mount Allison the 5 – 4 lead they would not surrender.

A distraught Moncton captain said her team did what they could.

“We tried hard but their goaltender stopped everything,” Geneviève David said. “I can’t ask for anything more from the girls.”

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Ian Froese

Ian was the Gazette's Editor-in-chief for Volume 146. He was the Sports Editor for Volumes 145 and 144.

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