SACKVILLE, N.B. – The Saint Mary's Huskies are going to the championship game of the Subway AUS Women's Hockey Championships hosted by Mount Allison University, thanks to an exciting 3-1 win over the Saint Thomas Tommies. Sienna Cooke was outstanding yet again in goal for Saint Mary's, making 36 saves, 24 of which came shorthanded as Saint Thomas went 0-for-7 on the powerplay, which turned out to be the difference in the game.
Saint Thomas spent 22 minutes on the powerplay, but the Huskies' penalty kill was too much to handle, and Cooke made several key saves in the third period to advance the Huskies into the final.
The Huskies started things off very quickly, as a Kaitlyn Abbass rush off the opening face off resulted in a rebound opportunity for captain Rebecca Mosher, who made no mistake to give SMU the lead 20 seconds in.
The score remained 1-0 through the remainder of the first and second periods, which saw the Tommies double the Huskies in shots by a 20-10 margin.
The Huskies struck next on the powerplay in the third when Brianna Soper scored her third goal of the tournament on a high wrist shot after walking off the sideboards into the face off circle.
Saint Mary's then killed off a pair of two-man disadvantages before the Tommies got an injection of life when Kayla Blackmore and Kenya Marcelline combined to find Jordan Miller all alone in front to cut the deficit to 2-1 with 2:15 left to play.
With goaltender Julia Sharun pulled and the extra attacker on the ice, the Tommies were unable to tie the game up, and Carly Gray's clearing attempt from the bottom of her own face off circle slid all the way down into the empty net to seal the deal at 3-1 with 11 seconds left.
Sharun made 12 saves in goal for Saint Thomas, while Cooke faced 37 shots, 17, of which came in the third period.
The Huskies now advance to the championship game for the second time in the last four years, and a truly remarkable turnaround following their 1-22-1 record only a year ago.
Game time Sunday is at 4 p.m., and the Huskies will face either the St. FX X-Women or UPEI Panthers.
The host Mount A Mounties lost their first game, which was held Thursday evening, 3-1 against the X-Women. The Mounties next posted a 2-1 win against the Panthers on Friday evening. Mathematically, the Mounties couldn’t advance to the championship game by virtue of the 3-1 loss to St. FX in Game 2 of the tournament. The host team’s goal differential of -1 did not allow them to move on to Sunday's game.