X-Men defeat Aigles Bleus 4-2

Photo courtesy Jessica Pomeroy
Photo courtesy Jessica Pomeroy

Antigonish, NS – The CIS ranked No. 9 StFX X-Men defeated the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus 4-2 in AUS hockey action Friday evening at the Charles V. Keating Centre.

Eric Locke (Toronto, ON) and Zack MacQueen (Woodstock, ON) connected for a key shorthanded goal late in the second period to help seal the win for the X-Men.

The home team opened the scoring in the game as Michael Clarke (London, ON) fed fellow freshman forward Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) a pass to the open side of the Aigles Blues net and he made no mistake finding the mesh.

It stood as the lone goal of the first period as the StFX outshot Moncton 11-7.

The Aigles Bleus tied the game 2:09 into the second period when Alex Emond (Pohenegamook, QC) assisted on a Robbie Graham (Richibuctou, NB) goal. X-Men netminder Drew Owsley (Lethbridge, AB) made the initial save but the puck dropped in front of him and through his legs into the open net.

Bronson Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, AB) gave the X-Men back their one goal lead when he scored at 5:32, beating Brandon Thibeau (Riverview, NB) with a blast from the point as Jagger Dirk (Pentincton, BC) and Pancel assisted. The goal came at the end of an X-Men power play opportunity.

X-Men forward Brad Cuzner (Glace Bay, NS) hit the cross bar midway through the second period on a good scoring chance for StFX.

While shorthanded, MacQueen and Locke skated up ice on a 2-on-1 opportunity with MacQueen making a quick, slick pass across the slot to Locke who beat Thibeau to give the X-Men a two-goal lead.  

The 3-1 score held after 40 minutes as shots favored the X-Men 12-10 in the middle period.

The X-Men continued their pressure in the final period. Max Iafrate (Livonia, MI) had a great scoring chance, skating down the right side and ringing one off the cross bar midway through the third period.

Thibeau then robbed Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) point blank.

The Aigles Bleus did not back down however, as Emond scored their second goal at 11:19 of the third period to pull the visitors to within a goal. He potted the puck into the open side of the X net, catching Owsley out of position as Thierry Comtois (Sherbrooke, QC) and Joel Blanchard (Caraquet, NB) assisted.

With the score 3-2 in favor of StFX, Brent Turnbull (Stellarton, NS) gave the X-Men some breathing room as he beat Thibeau low on the glove side off an Adam Stevens pass (Bedford, NS) with just under four minutes to play.

Moncton pulled their netminder with a minute and a half to play but could not score the equalizer.

Final shots were 31-25 for the X-Men as Owsley made 23 saves in the win. Thibeau also had 23 saves in the losing effort for the Aigles Bleus.

MacQueen received third star honors with Moncton's Emond being named second star. Pancel took home first star and Subway player of the game honors for his two-point effort on the night.

With the win the X-Men improve to 17-6-3 on the season. They will be back in action on Saturday night when they host St. Thomas (2-22-1) at 7:00 pm at the Keating Centre.

The Aigles Bleus (10-13-2) travel to Halifax on Saturday to face the Dalhousie Tigers (8-13-4), also at 7:00 pm.