X-Men open AUS season with shutout over Tigers

Courtesy Trevor MacMillan
Courtesy Trevor MacMillan

(HALIFAX, N.S.) – Two first period goals set the tone for the visiting StFX X-Men on Friday night, as they topped the Dalhousie Tigers 6-0 in the AUS season opener at the Halifax Forum.

The X-Men took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, cracking the scoreboard in the opening and final minute of the period.

Forward Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) opened the scoring just 41 seconds into the contest, finishing off a tape-to-tape pass from forward Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON). The goal was the result of a turnover just outside the Dalhousie blue line.

The X-Men added to their lead with exactly one minute left to go, as forward Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) went top shelf on Dalhousie goalie Corbin Boes (Saskatoon, SK).

The visitors were the aggressors for most of the period, controlling play in the neutral zone and getting a number of open looks. Studnicka, along with defenceman Max Iafrate (Livonia, MI) and Mitchell Wheaton (Sherwood Park, AB) all had opportunities to increase StFX's 1-0 lead in the opening 10 minuutes, however Boes was up for the task.

The Tigers were able to generate some chances in the back half of the period – their best look coming with just over 7:30 left in the first frame. Forward Tanner Williams (Iroquois, ON) found himself wide open in front of the crease, but put the puck just over top of the net.

StFX padded their lead at 1:04 of the second period while on the power play.

Forward Eric Locke (Toronto, ON) positioned himself at the left point and blasted a one-timer past Boes on a 5-on-3 advantage for the visitors.

The Tigers surrendered three minor penalties in the middle frame – and a fourth that continued over from the first period, however Boes kept his team in the game with a number of clutch saves.

Dalhousie's blue line was active in period, causing a few turnovers which led to odd-man rushes the other way. Their best chance to get on the board came with just over six minutes left to go on a 2-on-1, however an attempted shot went just wide to keep the score 3-0 entering the third frame.

The Tigers initiated the pressure in the final period with four scoring opportunities in the first three minutes. Forwards Andrew Wigginton (Sackville, NS), Alex Cote (Montreal, QC) and Colton Parsons (Kingston, NS), as well as defenceman Myles McGurty (Hoboken, NJ) all had chances, but StFX goalie Brandon Hope (Canton, MI) stood his ground.

Dalhousie kept on pressing, however a shorthanded goal by the visitors with just under seven minutes in altered the momentum for the remainder of the game. Forward Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) stole the puck in the neutral zone and put a wrist shot past Boes to increase the X-Men's lead to 4-0.

Anthony Difruscia added the final X-Men goal at 8:51 for the 5-0 victory.

Hope finished with 36 saves for the shutout, while Boes stopped 31 shots in the loss.

Both squads are back in action tomorrow night. Dalhousie will battle cross-town rival St. Mary's at the Forum, while StFX will play host to Acadia. Puck drop is 7:00 pm for both games.

Courtesy Mike Still, Dalhousie Athletics