Halifax, NS - The StFX X-Men defeated the Saint Mary's University Huskies 5-3 on Wednesday at the Halifax Forum. The X-Men entered the game ranked second in the U Sports Top Ten and improved their record to 8-3 on the season, good for second place in the AUS. The Huskies fell to 3-7-1 and sit in sixth place in the AUS.
Special teams were the difference in the game, as the X-Men went 3/3 with the man advantage, while the Huskies were 0/3.
Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) continued his strong play in goal for the X-Men in his first season of AUS action making 30 saves to improve to 6-0 on the season.
Taylor Burke (Halifax, NS), Alex Cord (Toronto, ON) and Ben Duffy (Lower Sackville, NS) responded with goals for the Huskies.
Eric Brassard (St Hubert, QC) made 23 save on the night for the Huskies dropping his record to 2-3 in his first AUS campaign.
The Huskies got on the board first just 2:17 into the game. Stephen Johnson (Moncton, NB) worked back and forth below the goal line and fed the puck back to Kyle Pereira (Brampton, ON) on the right point, Pereira fired a low shot on goal, Burke received the shot standing on the goal line to the right of the net took a step out front and roofed a backhand upstairs.
The X-Men answered on the power-play at the 13:35 mark. Michael Clarke (London, ON) sent a pass from the right point to Matt Needham (Pentincton, BC) in the slot. Needham fired quickly, Brassard made a nice pad save and the rebound went directly to Cianfrone to the right of the net just above the goal line and he buried it to tie the game at 1-1.
The X-Men took the lead at the 14:27 mark of the second period, scoring on the power-play again. Clarke carried the puck through the neutral zone across the Huskies blue line and dished off to Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) on the right wing. Cook worked a shot on goal that Brassard saved with his right pad and Iafrate was there to bang home the rebound after jumping into the rush.
With just under a minute to play in the frame, the X-Men added to their lead with another power-play goal. StFX sustained zone time with the man advantage, Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) fed the puck from the right half-wall to Needham covering the right point. Needham then worked it quickly across the blue line to MacDonald who walked into the left circle, at the dot he made a nice toe-drag to wrist shot move and buried it blocker side to make it 3-1 in favor of the X-men after 40 minutes.
The X-Men went ahead by a 4-1 score at 5:47 of the third period. Marchand made a big save on an Anthony Repaci (Toronto, ON) shot off a Huskies rush. Cook scooped up the rebound and raced up the left wing. He stopped up just before going into the corner and put a centering feed right on the tape of Duininck who was on the Huskies doorstep and the third year defenseman redirected it home for the goal.
The Huskies responded at the 9:48 mark. They won a face-off in the X-Men zone and kept the pressure up in the offensive zone. Twenty five seconds after the draw, Burke sent the puck to Johnson on the left wall who fed it back to Cord on the point. Cord walked the line and fired a wrist home to make it a 4-2 game in favor of StFX.
Still down by two goals, the Huskies pulled their goalie for the extra attacker with 2:30 remaining in the game. Tremaine forced a turnover and scored in the empty net at the 18:01 mark of the third.
The Huskies made it 5-3 with only one second left on the clock. Thomas Stavert (Kensington, PE) sent the puck back to the blue line in the middle of the ice. Captain Kyle Pereira did a nice job to keep the line and fired a shot on goal. Duffy was sitting in the slot to deflect it in just before time expired.
Final shots were 33-28 in favour of the Huskies.
Up next in AUS action, the X-Men will host the undefeated and U Sports No. 1 ranked UNB Varsity Reds on Friday, November 11th at home in Antigonish, NS.
The Huskies go on the road to face the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus on Friday, November 11th in Moncton, NB.
Courtesy Cam Honey-Webb, SMU Communications