By Thomas Becker
It was a nightmarish third period for the Panthers, who coughed up a two-goal lead and surrendered four goals in the decisive frame.
Down 3-1, the X-Women (13-1-2) came out of the final intermission strong and showed why they're the team to beat in the AUS, tying the game in minutes on goals by Sarah Bujold and Patty-Anne Tracey. Bujold finished with two goals to lead her team.
Alley Goodreau scored the game-winner at 17:59, all but sealing Saturday afternoon's come-from-behind victory.
Coming off a 6-0 road win against Mount Allison the night before, the Panthers (4-7-5) looked good out of the gate, getting a handful of shots on goal. Cassidy McEwan, who got the nod between the pipes for St. FX, stood tall turning the scoring threats aside early.
That was until Rachel Colle got to her midway through the period. Leah Byrne battled behind the net on the strong forecheck and managed to get the puck in front for Colle, who beat the goaltender for the 1-0 advantage.
Colle was at it again at 8:05 in the second period, when she notched her second marker of the game, bumping her up to fourth in the league in goals scored with nine on the season.
On a faceoff draw a minute and a half later, St. FX's Amy Graham trimmed the deficit 2-1 after firing a shot past Megan Sullivan, who tried to reach back to recover the puck before it crossed the goal line.
However, a determined Panthers squad looking to upset the league-leading X-Women restored their two-goal lead just three minutes later, as Lindsay Johnston recorded her third goal of the campaign on the power play.
Though no lead is safe when facing a top-tier team like St. FX as evident in the opening minutes of third period. 19 seconds in, Bujold trimmed the deficit 3-2, while Tracey followed that up two minutes later with the equalizer, giving new life to the visiting team.
The X-Women continued their relentless attack and finally completed the comeback bid on Goodreau's low shot that beat Sullivan glove side, giving them their first lead of the game 4-3 with only two minutes to spare. Bujold then iced it with an empty netter for the 5-3 final.
The Panthers look to get back to the win column when they welcome the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus on Jan. 10 at 7 p.m.