WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The StFX X-Men forced a deciding Game 5 in the best-of-five Subway AUS semifinal series with a 4-3 victory over the Acadia Axemen Monday night as they tied the series 2-2.
Facing a must-win situation with Acadia leading the series 2-1 heading into the night, Mark Tremaine scored the game winner for the X-Men with 1:37 left to play in the game while on the power play.
AUS most valuable player Chase Marchand deservedly received Subway Player of the Game honours on the night for another strong performance in goal, as he posted 28 saves to help his team win.
An evenly matched opening period between the two teams showed on the scoreboard, with the game tied at 1-1 after 20 minutes.
The X-Men opened the scoring 5:56 into the first frame, on a goal by StFX defenseman Daniel Robertson, who came in off the blue-line and ripped a shot into the top right corner of the Axemen net.
Acadia evened the score late in the period, when defenseman Stephen Woodworth sent a cross-ice pass to forward Boston Leier who fired a low wrist shot past a screened Marchand.
By the end of the period, the X-Men led 11-10 in shots.
The second period mirrored the first. StFX capitalized on an untimely change by an Axemen defenseman due to an equipment issue, with StFX forward Matt Needham scoring on a scramble in front of the Acadia net to make it 2-1.
Less than four minutes later, the Axemen responded with a shorthanded goal from defenseman Tyler Ferry. On a 2-on-1 break with forward Sam Fioretti, Ferry kept the puck and fired it into the top left corner of the net to tie the game at two goals apiece.
With the X-Men holding a 23-21 shots on goal advantage after two periods, Acadia took their first lead of the game early in the final period, off a goal from forward and Axemen Subway player of the game, Sam Fioretti.
In a fast-paced third period that held an overtime feel, the tie held up until Alexander Lepkowski was sent to the Acadia penalty box for high sticking and the X-Men power play took advantage of the miscue to score the game winner while on the power play.
With 1:37 left in the period from a low wrist shot in tight by Mark Tremaine, from defensemen Santino Centorame and Jagger Dirk - who each had two assists on the night - the X-Men sealed the game and the win.
Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves turned aside 26 of 30 shots, while his StFX's Chase Marchand stopped 28 of 31 shots.
The series now returns back to Antigonish for the series-deciding Game 5 on Thursday, March 1st. The puck drops at 7:00 pm at the StFX Keating Centre.
The winner of the semifinal series will advance to the Subway AUS championship best-of-three final series against the UNB Varsity Reds who eliminated the Saint Mary's Huskies 3-0 in their semifinal series.
The Atlantic University Sport conference receives three berths in the 2018 U SPORTS University Cup national championship being hosted by UNB March 15-18.
Saint Mary's will await the loser of the StFX-Acadia series for a best-of-three consolation final series to be played next week to determine which AUS team will receive the third national berth.
Courtesy Joshua Foote, Acadia Sports Information