X-Women settle for silver in CIS title game debut

On Sunday night, the St. F.X. X-Women played in their first women’s hockey national title game in school history. And did they ever get a lesson from a team who’s been there more than a few times.

The X-Women’s opponents were the McGill Martlets, who were playing in their fifth-straight national title game, looking for their third title in that span.

In the end, the Martlets’ experienced roster which features three former Olympians in goalie Charline Labonte and defencemen Cathy Chartrand and Gillian Ferrair, proved too much and the X-Women had to settle for silver, falling 5-2.

“It’s so tough to match up against them,” said St. F.X. head coach David Synishin of the Martlets. “They exploit your weaknesses early, and really take advantage of areas of the game that you have to work on.”

Early on, the X-Women seemed to weather the number-one nationally ranked Martlets storm. While they were out-shot, 10-6 in the opening period, St. F.X. goalie Kristy Garrow made some key saves and the X-Women only found themselves down 1-0 heading into the first intermission.

“They’re the best team in the country without a doubt, but we battled them hard,” said X-Women captain Suzanne Fenerty. “We didn’t give up and I thought we showed that in third period.”

After two quick McGill goals in the second and another early in the third put the X-Women in a 4-0 hole, Fenerty stepped up and started what looked to be a comeback charge.

The fourth-year’s point shot found its way past Labonte, giving the X-Women some hope. Erin Brophy would bring St. F.X. within two just four minutes later, scoring on the powerplay. But that was as close as the X-Women would come as McGill’s Alessandra Lind-Kenny would score with just over three minutes left to seal the game for the Martlets.

“That fifth goal going in was kind of a heartbreaker,” said Fenerty. “But coming into the third period we were down 4-0 and we kept battling. We got two back and we went out giving all we could and that’s all that matters.”

In addition to deciding the gold medal winner, this game also served as a battle of undefeateds. McGill came into Sunday with a 26-0 record, while St. F.X. sat at 29-0.

Unfortunately for the X-Women, they were unable to notch that 30th win, which they would trade all 29 others for if they could.

Synishin sees his team’s performance this season and at nationals as a move in the right direction for the X-Women.

“We have a very young team and this is great experience for them,” he said. “This is something we can go home and be proud of.”

A pair of X-Women made the tournament all-star team as Fenerty and forward Carolyn Campbell joined three Martlets, (Chartrand and forwards Jordan Peroff, who also took home tournament MVP and Leslie Oles) and a Queen’s Gael (goaltender Mel Dodd-Moher).

The silver medal marks the best finish for the X-Women at nationals, having previously never finished better than fourth.