TMU bounce back from homecoming defeat with win over St. FX

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By Jaden Ho

The TMU Bold women’s hockey team held on for a 2-1 victory over the St. Francis Xavier (St. FX) X-Women in a nail-biting pre-season game on Saturday night at the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). 

The Bold were the better team for most of the game, outshooting the X-Women 36-22 and earning eight power plays. Despite their many chances on the man advantage, the Bold didn’t manage to score until their sixth powerplay opportunity. 

“It’s early in the season and obviously the powerplay is going to take a little bit of time,” said head coach Lisa Haley. “We’ve had a lot of turnover in who was on the powerplay from last year and we lost some big weapons, so we’re still trying to figure out everybody’s roles on the powerplay.”

The Bold started strong, dominating possession and holding the X-Women in their own zone for the first couple minutes of the game. Still, they were unable to find the twine until just before the five-minute mark in the opening frame.

A point shot from Ahalya Julien-Medeiros bounced off the pads of X-Women netminder Jamie Johnson before third-year forward Mia Morano found the rebound and tapped it into the open net for a 1-0 Bold lead. 

The X-Women had the first powerplay of the game as TMU’s Abby DeCorby was called for interference when she hauled down an X-Women defender in front of the visitor’s net, putting the Bold on the penalty kill with 14 minutes remaining in the period. The Bold’s penalty killers stood tall, limiting the X-Women to just one shot. 

A turnover in the neutral zone gave Morano a chance for her second of the game, snagging an errant pass and turning it into a breakaway. But she was stopped when Johnson made a terrific read. 

A cross-checking penalty called on Josie Chisholm gave the Bold its second powerplay opportunity of the period with just 22 seconds remaining in the opening 20 minutes. The Bold couldn’t convert in the first 22 seconds of the powerplay, heading into the intermission with a 1-0 lead. 

“We’re not worried about the stats here in the pre-season.” said Haley. “It’s more about finding where all the pieces fit together.” 

The Bold were better on their second powerplay, starting the second period generating chances and holding possession well. The X-Women penalty killers were up to the task though, surviving the pressure and killing the advantage. 

TMU went on the powerplay once again near the six-minute mark of the middle frame, with defender Vivian Hinch going off for head contact. The Bold once again struggled with the advantage, as the X-Women put a ton of pressure on the forecheck, not allowing TMU to escape their zone cleanly. 

Hinch was sprung from the penalty box for a breakaway, but fired a shot wide past rookie goaltender Lauren Griffin, who was sharp despite not facing a lot of shots in the first half of the game. 

“I’m excited for her, she’s a rookie in her first game at the OUA level, and I thought she was really steady early, tracking the puck well,” said Haley. “[She] stood tall when she needed to with a couple of really big saves in the third.”

With just 4:59 to go in the second period, the Bold went on their sixth powerplay of the game, as Chisholm went to the box again, this time for slashing. 

A great hold at the line by Brooklyn Gemmill allowed rookie forward Britni Yammine to get in on an odd-man rush. Yammine fired a shot over the shoulder of Johnson to make it a 2-0 game, earning her second goal in as many games this pre-season. 

“She’s definitely got a shoot first mentality, and it’s really paying off.” said Haley. “She’s come into the season with a lot of confidence and it’s definitely benefiting us on the offensive side of the ice.” 

Yammine’s hot start to the pre-season also has earned her the respect of her teammates. 

“I said to her, ‘good job buttercup!,’” said fellow goal scorer Morano of Yammine. 

It remained 2-0 for the remainder of the second period, as the Bold headed to intermission with a 27-9 shot advantage over the X-Women. 

The Bold had a slower start to the final period, with Gemmill taking a penalty just 40 seconds into the period. An early defensive breakdown on the penalty kill forced Griffin to make a brilliant stick save on a wraparound try, keeping the Bold up by two. 

Julien-Medeiros was called for body-checking with 12 minutes to go in the game, and the X-Women powerplay quickly turned into a 5-on-3 as Olivia Giardetti went off for holding. The X-Women took advantage just 15 seconds into the two-man advantage, as Maggy Burbidge cut into the middle of the ice and fired a shot that beat Griffin, cutting the Bold lead to one. 

TMU killed off the remainder of the powerplay, but the X-Women pushed hard, hitting a post and a pair of crossbars on the powerplay in the minutes following. The X-Women couldn’t equalize the score by the final buzzer, as Griffin and her posts stood tall in the net for TMU to secure the 2-1 victory. 

“I’m sure she’s going to thank both of her goalposts and her crossbar,” said Haley. “But sometimes you’ve gotta be good to be lucky and you’ve gotta be lucky to be good.”

UP NEXT: The TMU Bold women’s hockey team returns to action Thursday Sept. 29 at the MAC. Puck-drop is set for 6:15 p.m.

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