X-Women play to dominant 7-3 win over Nipissing in U SPORTS consolation semifinal

X-Women play to dominant 7-3 win over Nipissing in U SPORTS consolation semifinal

(MONTREAL, QUE.) The no. 7-ranked STFX X-Women played to a dominant 7-3 win over the No. 6-ranked Nipissing Lakers Saturday afternoon in U SPORTS consolation semifinal action.

The X-Women were led by strong performances by Maggy Burbidge with a hat trick, Lea MacLeod with a goal and two assists and Nike player of the game Lauren Dabrowski with a goal and strong play on both sides of the puck.

Schedule & Results

U SPORTS leading scorer Burbidge noted after the game that she was very proud of how the group responded after a tough overtime loss last night. "I think we deserved a better outcome yesterday, but we really showed what we had today and I'm proud of our team."  

The X-Women got out to a confident start in the first period. After weathering an early Lakers goal, STFX went on to score three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes as they outshot the OUA finalists 15-4 in the opening frame.

Madison Laberge scored 49 seconds into the game on Nipissing's first shot on a low puck that trickled in off Jamie Johnson's goalie pad.

AUS first team all-star veteran forward MacLeod answered for X less than two minutes later as her shot from inside the point went bar down and beat Lakers goaltender Chloe Marshall.

MacLeod was on fire as she was turned aside on a shorthanded breakaway attempt, then assisted on the X-Women's next two goals.

After coming off four-on-four play and while on a short power play, Dabrowski scored with four minutes left in the period. MacLeod fed a nice pass across the top of slot and the U SPORTS first team all-Canadian defense Dabrowski skated in alone and fired from the top of the face-off circle to beat Marshall up high.

MacLeod then set up another X-Women first team all-Canadian Burbidge with 1:08 left to go. They were in tight on a two-on-one and Burbidge took the pass and ripped a high shot in tight over the glove of Marshall to give the X-Women the 3-1 advantage.

Vivian Hinch tallied the fourth goal for X just at the end of a power play 2:30 into the second period with a blast from the point that beat a screened Marshall.

The middle period saw several penalties being called on both sides. Nipissing had a 5-on-3 power play attempt for 1:15 but they struggled with the extra attacker, going 0-5 on power play attempts through 40 minutes.

The Lakers also spent plenty of time on the penalty kill as they were assessed several minor penalties throughout the period and not much action was played even strength.

Hinch's goal stood as the lone goal in the middle period as STFX led 4-1 on the scoreboard and had a 31-9 shot advantage after two.

Dabrowski noted in a second intermission interview that her X-Women needed to continue to "get pucks in deep, and not shy away from our game in the third period."

"Macleod and Burbidge have really shown up to play today, and as long as we control our puck speed, protect our zone we should have a good chance to win."

Win is what they did as the X-Women added three more goals in the final period.

Both teams skated hard in the third and exchanged scoring chances as Marshall and Johnson stood tall in their respective nets and made big saves for their team when called upon.

The Lakers on a couple occasions, pulled Marshall from the net both on and off the power play in attempt to score and close the gap on the X-Women. This paid off at 11:31 when the Lakers were on a 6-on-5 advantage when Katie Chomiak beat a screened Johnson with a high shot glove side.

The X-Women quickly responded 46 seconds later however, when Vukosa handed off the puck to Burbidge on an odd-man rush and she made no mistake beating Marshall for the second time in the game.

Not giving up, the Lakers tallied just 44 seconds after Burbidge's goal. Chomiak pushed the puck in under Johnson during a goal crease scramble for her second of the game as they closed the gap to 5-3 with seven minutes to play. She would take home Nike player of the game honours for her squad.

Nipissing again pulled Marshall while on a late powerplay, but Burbidge stole the puck deep in the Lakers zone and scored an empty net shorthanded goal, sealing her hat trick performance.

Kamdyn Switzer rounded out the scoring with 43 seconds left in the game with another empty netter for STFX.

The final shots in the game were 39-15 in favour of the X-Women as Johnson earned the win between the pipes with 12 saves.

The final penalty was 9-18 for STFX and 7-14 for Nipissing.

When asked how she thought her squad played differently today, Dabrowski noted, "I think we just showed a lot more heart today, a lot more urgency. I think we wanted the puck and didn't want this to mine and the other seniors last game. We got pucks deep and stuck to the game plan."

With the win, STFX advances to the fifth place game Sunday at 11:00 am EST against the Toronto Varsity Blues. The OUA champion Blues advanced with a 4-1 win over STFX's conference rivals UNB Reds in the earlier consolation semifinal game.

Burbidge commented, "I think we need to just do what we did today, get lots of pucks to the net and keep up our positivity on the bench. We're playing for our seniors so I have a good feeling going into tomorrow."

Source: Krista McKenna for STFX Athletics

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