ST. PAUL, Minn. When Amy Madden (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Jill Rhody (St. Paul, Minn.) scored goals late in the first period erasing a 1-0 St. Thomas lead and giving the Saint Mary's University women's hockey team a 2-1 advantage, coach Terry Mannor had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.
He knew that Rhody's second goal of the season not only gave his Cardinals that 2-1 advantage after the game's opening 20 minutes but he also knew that it very well could have been a wake-up call for the Tommies.
Which is exactly what it was.
St. Thomas erupted for seven unanswered goals including three off the stick of Jackie Carroll as the Tommies erased that 2-1 deficit and handed the Cardinals an 8-3 setback in the teams' Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference opener Friday evening.
"(St. Thomas) is a very good team," said SMU coach Terry Mannor of the Tommies, who entered the weekend series ranked No. 6 in the latest USCHO.com poll. "We came out and really played well the first period, but after that, (St. Thomas) just took it to us.
"I don't know if they were taking us a little too lightly (in the first period), but they certainly came to life in the second and third periods."
After surrendering nine shots in the first period, the Tommies held SMU to just nine shots in the final two periods combined while pelting Cardinal goalie Nikki Jung (Inver Grove Heights, Minn.) with 38 shots, including 27 in the final two periods.
"This was a good learning experience for our team," said Mannor, whose team will host the Tommies in Game 2 of the two-game conference series Saturday. "We made some mental mistakes that we need to correct, but the effort was there everyone gave it their all right to the final horn.
"St. Thomas is tough, we're going to need to be at our best (Saturday), no doubt about that."