By Thomas Becker
Led by Tyra Meropoulis' natural hat trick, the St. FX X-Women scored five unanswered goals to take down the UPEI Panthers 5-2.
Tied through two periods, Meropoulis simply dominated the third where she scored three straight goals.
"Knowing it was our last game, everyone needed to bear down and play for each other," said Meropoulis, who was named the Subway Player of the Game.
Before the X-Women (12-5-1) began their takeover, it was the Panthers (14-3-1) who struck first, as the opening period belonged to a pair of rookies, who put their team ahead 2-0 with their first AUS goals.
Fifty-eight seconds in, Lexie Murphy tipped in Faith Steeves' shot from the top of the right circle for the quick 1-0 edge. Tiah Scichilone then added her first at 18:45, when Jolena Gillard centred a beautiful pass from the side of the net to the slot, where the rookie wired it home.
"We needed to get our stuff together and play for our goalie, since she was holding us in," Meropoulis said about her team's first period performance. "We came out a better team and get some pucks on the net."
The X-Women came out strong in the second and got a goal back three minutes in, when Meropoulis battle for the puck and centred it in front to Emerson Elliott, who tucked it away.
At 11:54, Lacey Dimaulo took a short pass from Josie Chisholm and tapped it past goaltender Shaylin McFarlane for the equalizer.
St. FX took their first lead of the game at 7:38 of the third period, when Jayden Thompson fed a pass from the side boards to Meropoulis, who sniped it past the keeper
Meropoloulis connected on another seven minutes later when she floated an innocent looking shot that evaded the goaltender for the shorthanded marker. She then closed out the scoring at 18:37, when she buried a one-timer from the left circle setup perfectly by Elliott.
Cassidy McEwen turned aside 32 shots and earned her sixth win of the season between the pipes.
The Panthers, meanwhile, didn't do themselves any favours going 0-of-9 on the power play.
With the win, the X-Women sit just four points behind the Panthers for a coveted bye, setting the stage for what should be a thrilling second half of the season.
"It was a very important win heading into the next half," Meropoulis said. "We need to rest up and regroup and keep it going."
Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan