Big third period lifts Huskies over X-Men

Photo courtesy Lauren Tidd
Photo courtesy Lauren Tidd

Antigonish, NS – On the strength of five unanswered third-period goals, the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies (13-12-1) skated to a 6-2 victory over the rival StFX X-Men (14-10-2) in Atlantic University Sport hockey action Friday night at the Keating Centre.

Both teams garnered quality chances in a scoreless first period.

With just more than two minutes remaining in the opening stanza, the X-Men defense sprung sniper Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) loose, just outside the Saint Mary's blue line, with a nifty stretch pass. Cook broke in alone but Cole Chevedave (Calgary, AB) turned him away with his left pad.

Early in the second period, on the power play, Saint Mary's defenseman Mark Trickett (Baddeck, NS) tested Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) with a point shot, but the X-Men freshman goaltender made the pad save.

Shortly after the Huskies' man advantage expired, the X-Men raced into the offensive zone, with captain Eric Locke (Toronto, ON) feeding a trailing Michael Clarke (London, ON) but Cheveldave slid across to make the stop.

The home team collected another scoring opportunity when Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) found Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) alone in front, with a cross-ice pass, but Cheveldave was able to get across to make the save, with the X-Men sophomore not getting good wood on the puck.

At 8:50, the Huskies broke the scoring goose egg, with Bronson Beaton (Springhill, ON) tallying, from Hunter Garlent (Thorold, ON) and Anthony Repaci (Toronto, ON).

Less than four minutes later, at 12:37, Clarke scored on an X-Men power play, after taking a pass from Kristoff Kontos (Penetanguishene, ON). Jagger Dirk (Penticton, BC) notched the other helper.

At 14:08, the X-Men took their only edge of the game - 2-1 - after Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) gobbled up a turnover, on the edge of the crease, and beat Cheveldave. It was an unassisted effort.

In the third period, the X-Men had a golden opportunity to double their advantage, with a power play chance, but they came up empty. During the man advantage, sophomore defenseman Max Iafrate (Livonia, MI) ripped a shot off the cross bar behind Cheveldave.

With seven minutes remaining in regulation, on the power play, Garlent, from Beaton, tied the contest.

At 15:10, Trickett, from Bradley Latour (Barrie, ON) and Aaron Berisha (Mississauga, ON), gave the Huskies a 3-2 advantage.

Just more than two minutes later, at 17:35, Repaci raced behind the X-Men net, on the fore check, and fed Garlent in front, who made no mistake and doubled the visitors' lead.

In the final minute, Garlent, from Repaci and Beaton, along with Stephen Shipley (Ilderton, ON), on helpers from Michael Curtis (Georgetown, ON) and Connor McGlynn (Oakville, ON), sealed the deal with empty-net markers for the Huskies.

Garlent earned Subway player of the game and first-star honours, while Repaci and X-Men forward Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) were named second and third stars, respectively.

Cheveldave made 31 saves for the win, while Marchand turned aside 24 shots in the loss.

The Huskies will be back in action Saturday, Jan. 28, when they host the Acadia Axemen, ranked fourth in U SPORTS. The X-Men will return to the ice Friday, Feb. 3, when they welcome the U SPORTS top-ranked UNB Varsity Reds. Puck drop for both match-ups is 7 p.m.