(RIMOUSKI, QC) The returning UNB Reds women’s hockey team found their offence and the win column on Sunday.
The Reds beat the CEGEP Rimouski Pionnieres 3-2 in exhibition play, the first win in the new era of women’s hockey at the University of New Brunswick.
“It’s great to have that first win under your belt,” said Reds head coach Sarah Hilworth. “The girls deserved it, they worked hard today. We saw some more grittiness today and we saw them come back, each goal we were down and then we finally got on top.”
“I would’ve liked to have seen more, but for our first win, it was gritty, it was hard-working and I think that we got the job done,” said Hilworth.
Despite giving up an early lead on a defensive zone turnover, the Reds bounced right back.
It took UNB just 1:36 to respond.
Sydney DesRochers (Woodstock, NB) drove down the left wing and fired a wrist shot past Rimouski netminder Megan Boudreau.
“I came through the zone, I saw one of their girls jump up, so I went stick to stick and drove in front of their net and I just let one go,” said DesRochers. “It’s always nice to score, and it’s always nice to bring the team back from a 1-0 deficit.”
After going down 2-1, Ashley Stratton (Mount Pearl, NL) scored on a wrap-around at 14:26.
The reborn Reds claimed their first lead late in the second period.
Jennifer Bell (Miramichi, NB) found the puck in a goal-mouth scramble and fired it past Boudreau.
“Everyone was crashing the net, hoping to get that,” said Bell. “We’d had a lot of rebounds, but weren’t getting to the puck and jumping on it, it always just seemed to get away from us, so it was really nice for us to be able to pot one off a rebound.”
“We had four different goal scorers this weekend, and I think that just builds confidence and it’s the monkey off their backs,” said Hilworth. “They’re all girls that we see scoring this year and for them to have that success early on will only build their confidence moving into the season.”
UNB dominated play in a scoreless third period.
Jaclyn Purcell (Saint John, NB) earned the win in the UNB net.
On Saturday, the Pionnieres needed a shootout to beat UNB 2-1.
Hilworth was satisfied with the split.
“To get out here and play games, and to build on the things we’ve asked them to do in practice was good,” she said. “There’s definitely things we want to see improving, but the success they found this weekend, I think was mission accomplished.”
The Reds resume pre-season play next weekend, with their first taste of Atlantic University Sport competition. They visit Moncton on Friday night and UPEI on Saturday afternoon.
RECAP AND PHOTOS: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics