Tigers skate to 3-1 road win over X-Men

Photo courtesy Nic Latulippe
Photo courtesy Nic Latulippe

Antigonish, NS - The visiting Dalhousie Tigers (8-13-3) skated to a 3-1 victory over the StFX X-Men (12-9-2) in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) hockey action Friday night at the Keating Centre.

In the first period, the X-Men garnered the best early scoring chances, with captain Eric Locke (Toronto, ON) getting a hard shot away, off the rush, but Tiger goalie Jacob Fancy (Lower Sackville, NS) made the save with his right shoulder. A short time later, Max Iafrate (Livonia, MI) unleashed a point shot that Fancy smothered.

On a 5-on-3 power play, at the 7:07 mark, the Tigers opened the scoring. Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS), the X-Men goalie, made the initial save on a Phil Gadoury (Montreal, QC) blast, and turned aside the rebound, off the stick of freshman power forward Alex Pawelczyk (Sterling Heights, MI). But, from the lip of the crease, Andrew Wigginton (Sackville, NS) deposited the loose puck into an open net.

Less than three minutes later, at 10:27, the X-Men knotted the contest during a two-man advantage. From the point, Michael Clarke (London, ON) found Kristoff Kontos (Penetanguishene, ON), who made a no-look backhand pass across the crease that found Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON), who snapped it home.

Just 52 seconds into the second period, the Tigers regained the lead, after Andrew Rieder (Regina, SK) took a lead pass from his defenseman Jesse Lussier (Petawawa, ON), before skating over the X-Men blue line and scorching the puck over Marchand's right shoulder and under the cross bar. Fabian Walsh (Gloucester, ON) notched the other helper.

Jackson Playfair (Fort St. James, BC) tried to double the edge, but Marchand stoned him with his right pad.

Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) tried to collect the equalizer, but Fancy made the stop through a screen, while moments later Brent Turnbull (Stellarton, NS) rang a blast off the short-side goal post.

Late in the period, Marchand kept StFX within one goal, when he made consecutive saves, from in tight, on Steven Johnston (Sudbury, ON).

At 19:10, the Tigers jumped to a 3-1 lead, after taking advantage of an X-Men turnover in their own zone. Rieder jarred the puck loose and found Wigginton, who centered to Gadoury alone in front. As he lost his footing, the sophomore sniper roofed a shot over Marchand.

Early in the third period, Marchand kept the home side within striking distance, making back-to-back saves on Gadoury and Pawelczyk.

On an X-Men power play, Fancy slid post-to-post to make a stellar rebound save on Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS).

With StFX pressing to trim the lead, the Tigers raced off on a two-on-one counter-attack, but Marchand did the splits to make two stops.

With less than one minute remaining, and the X-Men net empty, freshman defenseman Cole MacDonald (Wetaskiwin, AB) ripped a shot off the goal post, after taking a feed from Locke.

Fancy was named the Subway player of the game and first star, while Rieder and Locke were named the second and third stars, respectively.

Fancy made 38 saves for the win, while Marchand turned aside 24 shots in the loss.

The X-Men will be back on the ice Saturday, Jan. 21, when they travel to Moncton to face Les Aigles Bleus. The Tigers will return to action Wednesday, Jan. 25, when they face the rival Saint Mary's Huskies in Halifax. Puck drop for both match-ups is 7 p.m.