(Fredericton, NB) The "Battle of the Hill" is back as St. Thomas University Tommies defeated the University of New Brunswick Reds 2-1 in their second matchup of the season.
The first matchup between the two teams also had a score of 2-1 in favour of the Tommies, but that game was decided in double overtime, with Lauren Legault (Winnipeg, MB) scoring the winner.
This game didn't need overtime as the Tommies (7-2-0) received goals from Emily Oleksuk (Thunder Bay, ON) and Kaylee Vader (Sherwood Park, AB), while Abby Clarke (Springdale, NL) made 24 saves for the win.
Katherine Chadwick (Kanata, ON) scored the lone goal for UNB (4-2-3) while Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC) made 27 saves for the Reds.
The game started out great for UNB as some fiery forechecking produced a turnover in STU's end, which resulted in Chadwick's goal 16 minutes into the game, and that's how the score would stay going into the intermission.
Early in the second period Vader jumped on an opportunity created from STU's aggressive forecheck to pot her first goal of the season.
"Kaylee's coming back from injury, so it was nice to see her score," said head coach Peter Murphy. "She worked on her shot extensively over the summer and we were hoping for her to get a few opportunities to use it and she did on that play."
The rest of the second period had a lot of fast paced, end to end action with both goaltenders doing whatever they could to keep their team in the game.
Four minutes into the third period Jenna MacLean (Wilcox, SK) was sent to the penalty box for holding, giving the Tommies their third power play of the game.
That's all the firepower Clarke would need as she shut down a flurry of UNB attacks resulting in seven shots in the final four minutes of the game.
"Five years playing in this league you know what it takes, and you have to learn to keep your head level in those kinds of situations," said Clarke about the UNB pressure late in the game. "We did a great job of pushing them to the outside and I was seeing the puck well and felt really good today."
Clarke has been red hot for the Tommies over her last 5 starts posting a record of 4-1-1 with a goals against average of 1.00 and a save percentage of .957.
"She made two or three big stops for us tonight," said Murphy about Clarke. "I'd rather we weren't asking her to do that, but sometimes it's needed. She stopped everything that was called upon, and even the one that went I'm sure she would like to have another look at that."
With the win the Tommies take a one-point lead for first in the AUS standings with one more game played than StFX, who sit in second.
The Tommies will head to Sackville on Saturday to face the Mounties, who beat the Tommies 3-2 back on October 21st, while UNB will host UdeM that same day, with UdeM winning their matchup earlier this season.