In the final game of her AUS career at her home rink, Frederike Cyr has secured another banner for the Aitken Centre’s rafters.
With a shorthanded goal 2:53 into the second overtime, Cyr has won the UNB Reds their second consecutive AUS women’s hockey championship. They beat the StFX X-Women — the same team they defeated in the final last year — 3-2 to clinch the three-game final.
As X went to a power play early in the overtime period, four X-Women were caught down low as MacKenzie Keenan cleared the puck from the UNB zone. Lillian George was first to the puck by a large margin as she and Cyr went on a two-on-one. The fifth-year players made no mistake connecting for the golden goal, sealing the first championship that the UNB women’s hockey program has clinched on home ice.
Unlike the first two games of the series — where teams combined for a total of four goals — the offensive jump was clear right off the hop in game three. StFX’s Kamdyn Switzer opened the scoring very early on, with a power play goal at 3:40 of the first period. The X lead was short-lived though. Just over a minute later, Lauren Carter picked up a bouncing puck after a shot hit the boards. She spun it around at goal line height and threw it in Jamie Johnson’s direction, going in.
The Reds had the next goal more than a period later, thanks to fifth-year Ashley Stratton. On the wraparound opportunity, she beat out Johnson for UNB’s first goal on the power play in the final. Although that one beat Johnson, the X goalie was brilliant on a few occasions — such as a mid-period George breakaway — to keep the score at 2-1.
Finally, that paid off for X on a late-period power play. Lauren Dabrowski threaded the needle on a pass from the blue line to Chloe Vukosa at the back door of the UNB net. She chipped it high enough over Woodland’s glove for the equalizer. That was the last goal the AUS playoff MVP would allow, finishing the game with 33 stops. She also took the conference MVP honour in last season’s playoffs.
The Reds had the best chances in overtime prior to the goal, such as a partial breakaway from Sydney Oitomen. Johnson, however, thrived all game long. She stopped 36 shots.
While the AUS season ends, both teams will head to U SPORTS nationals next weekend. The tournament is hosted by the Montreal Carabins from March 16-19. A schedule will likely be out early next week.
COVER PHOTO: AUSTV