X-Men skate to 5-1 win over Tigers

Photo courtesy Carter Hutton
Photo courtesy Carter Hutton

(Halifax, NS) – In Saturday night AUS men's hockey action, StFX capitalized on three power play opportunities, skating to a 5-1 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers at the Civic Arena.

With the win the X-Men remain undefeated on the AUS season. The Tigers were able to put shots toward the net, but did not find a goal until late in the third period as special teams were the story of the game.

The Tigers took two early penalties in the first period to put them at a 5-on-3 disadvantage. They killed off the first of the penalties, but as time was winding down on the second, the X-Men capitalized. Working the puck into the zone on the right side, Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) found a cross-ice pass, and had plenty of time to pick his spot and beat Tigers goalie Corbin Boes (Saskatoon, SK).

The Tigers had great opportunity to even it up just a few minutes later as Andrew Rieder (Regina, SK) was sent in on a partial break and took a low shot on the blocker side of Brandon Hope (Canton, MI), but Hope was able to get the body in front of it and put an end to the play.

The Tigers had a few final chances on a late power play, but were unable to find the back of the net, and the first period ended with just the lone X-Men goal.

StFX struck again midway through the second period as a long break-out pass was handled by Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON), who found Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) with a fantastic pass from the face-off dot to the opposite side of the crease and Pancel tapped it home.

The Tigers once again had late power plays, but the X-Men defence was clogging up the lane and shots were hard to come by.

Boes kept the Tigers in the game with great saves late in the period, especially on a shot from Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) that was tipped in front and Boes was able to just get a toe on it and keep it out.

Heading into period number three, StFX held a 2-0 lead.

The X-Men capitalized on an unlucky Tigers bounce as a clearing attempt was deflected back into the slot to Matt Needham (Penticton, BC). His point-blank shot was stopped, but Cianfrone was in the right spot to put the rebound home for his second goal of the game.

The Tigers looked like they might have their opening goal midway through the third period on a long shot from Myles McGurty (Hoboken, NJ), but it was stopped by Hope and the rebound sat just behind him in the crease and was cleared before Jackson Playfair (Fort St. James, BC) could get a stick on it.

Special teams play was key again for the X-Men as they picked up another goal on the power play. A shot from the point was blocked by a Tigers defender in front, but the puck bounced back out to Cole MacDonald (Wetaskawin, AB) in the slot who wired a wrist shot over the blocker of Boes to give the X-Men a 4-0 lead.

The Tigers continued to take costly penalties resulting in a two-man advantage for StFX with just three minutes left in the game. Just as the first penalty expired, Centorame drove towards the net down the left side, and found Holden Cook open in front of the net who jammed it in to give them a 5-0 lead.

The Tigers broke the shut-out just seconds later as Ryan Verbeek (Kingston, ON) picked up the puck just outside the blue line, carried it in around a StFX defender and snuck a low backhand shot past Hope.

The Subway Player of the Game was X-Men forward Bryson Cianfrone for his two-goal effort in the match.

The Tigers will play their next game on Wednesday as they travel to Acadia to take on the Axemen. StFX will play at home on Wednesday facing off against Saint Mary's.

Courtesy Kirk Jessome, Dalhousie Athletics Communications