NAPANEE, Ont. (U SPORTS) – The 2017 U SPORTS Women's Hockey Championship kicked off Thursday afternoon at the Stratchona Paper Centre, where the McGill Martlets survived an early scare to fend off the tenacious StFX X-Women, 3-1.
CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: http://en.usports.ca/championships/wice/index
McGill advances to Saturday's semifinal, where they will meet the winner of the UBC-Queen's quarter-final which gets started at 7 p.m. ET. For StFX, their tournament will continue with a prime-time consolation game on Friday night at 7 p.m. Both games will be available on OUA.TV
"All in all, it's obviously great to get the win, but I'm not sure we played our complete game," said Martlets head coach Peter Smith. "We're young, we were maybe nervous in the first period, so it's good to get that first win under our belts."
McGill's Gabrielle Davidson led all scorers on Thursday afternoon with a pair of goals.
Rookie of the Year Tricia Deguire was steady in net for McGill, turning aside 22 of 23 shots faced en route to the victory, while StFX's Ariana Orasanin stopped 21 or 24 in taking the loss.
Kara Power opened the scoring for the X-Women just 41 seconds into the game, when she beat Deguire clean on a breakaway.
Davidson drew McGill level at 13:38 of the first period, as she bested Orasanin with a quick snap shot to the five-hole.
The Martlets took over control in the second period, with goals from Jade Downie-Landry and Davidson propelling them to a 3-1 lead at the second intermission. Downie-Landry's goal was the prettiest of the afternoon, as she took a slick Olivia Atkinson feed before deking out Orasanin.
The third period passed without much incident, as StFX pressed but was unable to generate much towards Deguire in the McGill net.
"We had a good third, but (we had) two glaring mistakes in the second and they're going to bury on those," said StFX head coach David Synishin. "You want to win, but it just wasn't there for us today. Our girls didn't quit and I'm proud of their effort."
GAME NOTES: McGill entered nationals as RSEQ champions following a two-game sweep of No.7 Concordia...StFX came to Napanee off the back of a triple-overtime loss in the decisive third game of the AUS finals against No.3 Saint Mary's...StFX goaltender Ariana Orasanin, a fourth-year student, made her competitive debut in November 2016.
Official Boxscore: http://en.usports.ca/championships/wice/2017/championship
PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
StFX: Kara Power
MCG: Olivia Atkinson
Friday, March 17
11:00 a.m. Quarter-final 3: No.3 Saint Mary's vs No.6 Alberta (OUA.TV)
3:00 p.m. Quarter-final 4: No. 2 Guelph vs. No. 7 Concordia (OUA.TV)
7:00 p.m. Consolation 1: No.5 StFX vs. Loser QF 2 (OUA.TV)
Source: U SPORTS Communications