CIS women’s hockey Wednesday roundup: X-Women claim AUS banner with dramatic double overtime victory over Aigles Bleues

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Mar 04, 2015

Source: Normand A. Léger, Moncton Sports Info

Moncton, NB – In dramatic fashion, the StFX X-Women are the 2015 AUS women’s hockey champions. They defeated the Université de Moncton 3-2 in double overtime in Game 2 of the Subway AUS final series as veteran fifth year forward Alex Normore (Bedford, NS) scored the game winner with two-tenths of a second left on the clock.

The goal came on a tic-tac-toe play between Subway player of the game Normore and Kara Power (New Glasgow, NS) on one final rush up ice in the second overtime period as the X-Women won the best of three series 2-0.

The Aigles Bleues nearly had Game 2 in hand as they held a 2-1 lead late into the third period. With under a minute to play the X-Women pulled goaltender Sojung Shin (Seoul, Korea) for the extra attacker and fifth year defender Jenna Downey (Stratford, ON) blasted a shot from the point that beat Moncton goaltender Gabrielle Forget (Joliette, QC) up high to tie the game and send it to overtime.

Downey’s goal came with only 25 seconds left to play. The veteran defender was honored as the AUS playoff most valuable player.

The home team Aigles Bleues opened the scoring in the game with a goal from Katryne Villeneuve (Casselman, ON) at 7:40 of the first period. After it looked like Shin had made the save between her pads on a shot from the point, the puck actually had came loose and Villeneuve tucked in the rebound. Catherine Dumas (Lévis, QC) and Marie-Pier Corriveau (Magog, QC) assisted on the play.

Moncton outshot the X-Women 18-6 in the opening period.

The X-Women thought they had tied the game at the 13 minute mark of the second period as Power wrapped the puck around from behind the net, getting it out front to Normore who thought she had pushed in under Forget’s pads, but the second year netminder held her ground and the puck didn’t cross the goal line. It was one of numerous big saves for Forget on the evening.

The second period finished scoreless as the Aigles Bleues outshot the X-Women 23-15 through 40 minutes.

Moncton increased their lead to 2-0 on a Veronic Thibeault (Val d’Amour, NB) goal at 9:03 of the third period. After a face-off win inside the StFX zone, the Aigles Bleues quickly moved the puck back to point and Thibeault deflected the puck in past Shin. Marika Lacroix (Orleans, ON) and Villeneuve had the helpers.

The X-Women finally breathed life when third year forward Connor Garagan (Fredericton, NB) pounced on a rebound and connected on an open net at 13:31. Sisters Jenna and Lisa Downey were in on the assists.

Villeneuve had a great chance for the Aigles Bleues to increase their lead as she went in on a breakaway but was stopped by Shin, who made several key saves for the X-Women down the stretch.

Downey then provided the late-game heroics with her game-tying goal at 19:35 from Power and Normore.

A ten minute 4-on-4 overtime period ensued and the X-Women had another close call with Forget again squeezing the pads to prevent the puck from going across the goal line, and again from a Normore and Power play.

When nothing was decided after ten minutes with the game still deadlocked at 2-2, the two teams played an entertaining 20 minute 4-on-4 period.

Villeneuve had a key scoring chance as she broke down the wing alone but was stopped by Shin, who got to enjoy the eventual StFX victory on her 25th birthday.

The officials put their whistles in their pockets as the top two teams in the AUS conference battled it out with end to end action, exchanging scoring chances. Both Forget and Shin came up with game-saving stops to keep their teams alive.

Normore’s game winner sent the StFX squad into a frenzy as the clock sounded on the second overtime period and the X-Women claimed their 10th AUS banner in team history.

Shin had 35 saves in the StFX goal and Forget posted 48 saves, as the X-Women held a 51-46 shot advantage.

X-Women head coach Ben Berthiaume, named AUS Coach of the Year earlier in the day, commented after the game, “It was a great AUS final that went down to the wire as both teams worked really hard. The overtime was phenomenal back and forth action and it was anyone’s game.”

“Moncton has a really good hockey team and they came at us hard in the first period, but we slowly clawed our way back into the game and had a great finish.”

Along with the AUS Coach of the Year honors, the first place X-Women took home several other conference accolades, including Alex Normore who was named AUS most valuable player for the fourth consecutive season. She is also an AUS first team all-star, along with Jenna Downey and Sojung Shin.

Second year forward Daley Oddy (Cranbrook, BC) was named an AUS second team all-star, defenseman Nicole Halladay (Smith Falls, ON) was named to the AUS all-rookie team and third year X-Women captain Taylor Dale (Oromocto, NB) was singled out as the AUS most sportsmanlike player.

For the Aigles Bleues, Katryne Villeneuve picked up the AUS rookie of the year award, as well as being named an AUS second team all-star and all-rookie. Marika Lacroix was named an AUS first team all-star and both Gabrielle Forget and Marie-Pier Arsenault (Bonaventure, QC) were honored as AUS second team all-stars.

Both the Aigles Bleues and X-Women will represent the AUS conference at the upcoming CIS national championship in Calgary, scheduled for March 12-15. Tournament seeding and schedule will be announced on March 8th.

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