(RIMOUSKI, QC) A new era in women's hockey has begun at the University of New Brunswick.
The returning women's team dropped a 2-1 exhibition decision, in a shootout, to CEGEP Rimouski, on Saturday.
"Obviously, not the result that we wanted, but I thought that we dominated the play," said Reds head coach Sarah Hilworth. "We outshot them. We outplayed them. We just couldn't figure out a way to score on a very good goalie."
Rimouski opened the scoring at 19:55 of the first period, when Laurie Ann Arsenault beat Reds starting netminder Hailey Martens (Ladysmith, BC).
History came almost a full period later.
"They kept feeding me pucks and one was bound to go in," said Grenier of her linemates. "Spitz made a good pass and I found a good area and just put it in."
"At that moment, it felt like getting the monkey off our back," she added. "We were struggling to put the puck in the net and you could just feel it, everybody on the bench kind of picked up, so it was good to get that momentum shift."
UNB continued to dominate play in the third, but Thibault held her ground.
"We have to find some courage," said Hilworth. "It's not going to come overnight, but once we get into the season, we can be a different team, having that will to put the puck in the net."
UNB had multiple chances during a five minute 3-on-3 overtime period, but failed to score.
Underlining the Reds' scoring issues, six UNB shooters came up empty-handed in a shootout.
Rimouski's sixth shooter, Clemente Dumesnil, beat UNB's Kendra Woodland (Kamloops, BC) to give the home team the win.
Disappointed with the loss, Grenier feels the team can do more.
"We're a young team, we've got lots to learn. That's only the first game. We're definitely looking to build," she said.
The Reds and Pionnieres meet again on Sunday afternoon.
Hilworth is optimistic.
"There's things that we saw that we were implementing in practice," said Hilworth. "I liked our transition game, we were getting up the ice quick. We were joining plays and the defence were up in there. There's definitely things I saw that we're taking from practice. We just have to find a way to finish."
UNB plays the entirety of its exhibition season on the road, ahead of the Reds' official return to Atlantic University Sport regular season play, on October 13th, when they host the Mount Allison Mounties.
RECAP AND PHOTOS: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics