On Saturday night, there were the teams that had either Maggy Burbidge or Paige Grenier. And then there were the teams that lost.
With two goals from each of their key forwards, the UNB Reds and StFX X-Women completed sweeps of their respective semifinal series, booking their tickets to the AUS final. The X-Women secured their place in the final with a 4-2 victory at home over their cross-province nemesis, the SMU Huskies. The Reds defeated the STU Tommies 3-2 at the Tommies’ home, the Grant-Harvey Centre.
StFX 4 Saint Mary’s 2
Burbridge had two of the biggest goals on the night: the game-winner and the one late in the third to put it away. After SMU’s Kara MacLean tied the game at two late in the second period, Burbridge responded just 1:17 later, walking out from behind the net and beating SMU’s Dagny Hudspeth high glove.
As the Huskies began to push back with time winding down in the third, the X-Women took off on a 2-on-1 the other way led by Abby Lewis. Launching the pass, she found Burbidge’s stick which redirected the puck into the back of the Huskies’ cage. That was enough to send the crowd of 700-plus at the Keating Centre into a frenzy, if it hadn’t already been all game.
Burbidge also picked up an assist on X’s first goal of the game, which Lewis scored. Landyn Pitts also netted one for the hosts, while Shae Demale was the additional Huskies goal scorer.
Jamie Johnson in the StFX net became more crucial as the game went on, coming up with nine saves in the final period to hold down the lead. She stopped 21 all night as, for the second straight game, X outshot SMU. The count was 30-23. Dating back to 2019, StFX has now beaten SMU six straight times in playoff games.
UNB 3 St. Thomas 2
To be fair, each team had someone score twice. For STU, that was Emma Pye, who capped off an impressive playoffs with a pair at home.
However, Grenier saved her second for crunch time. After scoring earlier in the game just minutes after Pye’s first, Grenier scored the go-ahead goal with only four minutes remaining on the scoreboard, enough to clinch the 3-2 win over their Battle of the Hill rivals. UNB will play in the AUS final for the first time since their return to varsity competition in 2018.
The other goal scored Saturday night came from Lillian George, a critical power play tally that tied the game up at two before the second period was out. From there, UNB overpowered STU on the shot clock 9-4 and, with Grenier’s winner, outscored the Tommies, 2-0 in third periods in the series. Overall, the Reds controlled the shots 32-25.
Lauren Carter assisted on the final two Reds goals to help her team clinch game two. Kendra Woodland, again, was huge for UNB between the pipes, coming up with 23 saves in the win. STU’s Caroline Pietrowski played solid too, stopping 29 shots to cap off what was a good playoffs for her.