After the second-longest game in AUS women’s hockey history (97:17 of playing time), the Huskies women’s hockey team has won their second consecutive championship. Third year forward Gemma MacDonald scored the winner in triple overtime to put the Huskies up 3-2. Winning the series after three one-goal games against St. Francis Xavier, the Huskies demonstrated what exceptional hockey looks like.
All six of the #3-nationally-ranked Huskies playoff games were one goal games, in fact. The Huskies were challenged in the semifinals by Moncton, who came fifth in the regular season. However, they prevailed to face upset winners St. FX for a physical, high-shooting final series. Opening the series at home on March 3rd 2017, the Huskies claimed a 3-2 win, with one goal from Laura Polak and two from rookie and eventual playoff MVP Siobhan Birch. Up by three goals until halfway through the third period, St. FX nearly started a comeback, scoring one after the ten-minute mark. With less than five to play, St. FX’s Daley Oddy instigated a near-brawl with a hit to the head on Siobhan Birch. SMU’s Caitlyn Manning and the X-Women’s Heather Tillsley traded punches before being called on roughing. Oddy received a double minor for her hit, but SMU gave up a goal on the power play to make it a 3-2 game. However, the Huskies held on for the win.
The Huskies lost 2-1 in Antigonish on March 5th 2017, with Nicole Blanche scoring the lone goal and Rebecca Clark making 35 saves in the loss. Returning home for the do-or-die game, the Huskies wowed the home crowd with their intensity and tenacity. Caitlyn Manning scored under five minutes into the game, but St. FX responded by the end of the first. Oddy put X up 2-1 early in the 3rd, but Nicole Blanche responded minutes later with an assist from Hannah Askin. The teams traded shots and chances for over fifty more minutes before MacDonald, from Askin and Polak, ended the game in triple overtime.
The Huskies swarmed the ice, celebrating the win. But the celebration won’t last long – the team travels to Napanee, Ontario, along with St. FX, next week to compete at the U Sports championship starting March 16th.