Halifax, NS – In Wednesday night hockey action at the Halifax Forum, after a quiet two periods, a flurry of late goals saw the StFX X-Men (3-2-2) take a 5-3 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers (1-6-0).
The game got off to a very physical start, with both sides throwing bodies, but no offensive action to speak of in the opening minutes.
Midway through the first period, the X-Men picked up the pressure in the attacking end, showing some fantastic puck movement right through the slot to force Tigers netminder Connor Hicks (Kanata, ON) to make saves from post to post.
The Tigers were able to counter that pressure on a rush out of their own zone with Colton Heffley (Swift Current, SK) breaking into the StFX zone down the left hand side. Heffley was met by a defender, but still managed to get a backhand shot toward goal that was stopped by Blade Mann-Dixon (Antigonish, NS), but the rebound dropped right in front for Chandler Yakimowicz (Kingston, PA) to tap home.
The lone goal was the final scoring chance of the period as the teams went into the break with the Tigers leading 1-0.
Once again the first half of the second period was physical, but very back and forth with no real scoring chances.
But once again midway through, the X-Men held pressure in the Tigers end, but the shooting lanes were being clogged up, with most shots getting deflected before they even had a chance to get to the goal.
A quiet second period came to an end with the score still 1-0 for the Tigers.
The X-Men opened the third period with intensity in the Tigers end, firing everything they could toward the goal. Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) took a shot from just below the faceoff dot that was stopped by Hicks, but the rebound squeaked back out to him as he followed it to the top of the crease. Needham fired again quickly at a seemingly wide open net, but Hicks twisted enough to get his glove on the ice and rob Needham with a phenomenal save.
The X-Men didn't let up with the pressure after that chance though, and they were finally able to beat Hicks five minutes into the period.
During the continued stint of pressure, the puck came back to the point on a clearing attempt from the Tigers that was stopped by Holden Cook (Whitby, ON). Cook fired a low shot from the line with a little bit of traffic in front, and the puck just squeezed through the pads of Hicks and trickled into the net for the equalizer.
A string of back and forth penalties midway through the third period provided opportunities for both sides to break the deadlock, and the Tigers were able to capitalize first.
The puck made its way around the outside of the zone as the Tigers settled in on the power play, and Andrew Shewfelt (Dartmouth, NS) walked in off the blue line with a clear shooting lane to the net. Shewfelt took his time and picked his spot, firing low on the glove side, just sneaking it over the pad of Mann-Dixon.
It didn't take long for the X-Men to counter back however, on a nice play to break Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) into the Tigers zone. Cianfrone cut into the middle of the ice and wait out Hicks and lift the puck over his diving attempt to tie it up again.
It was a constant back and forth battle for the remainder of the game, as the Tigers collected another goal off the stick of Shewfelt with the Tigers breaking into the zone, the rebound from Jackson Playfair (Fort St. James, BC) dropping in front for Shewfelt to hammer home to give the Tigers the lead once again at 3-2.
Again, the X-Men found the equalizer within minutes. This time Cook found Needham in front with a cross crease pass, and Needham lifted it high over the glove of Hicks to make it 3-3.
This time it was StFX who was able to take their first lead of the game, after a delay of game penalty on Hicks who batted a rebound out of mid-air and out of play.
The X-Men set up for their power play, with Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) at the very top of the blue line. Centorame wound up and sent a hard slap shot into the top corner that Hicks had no chance to see with his own player in front attempting to block it. The goal put the X-Men up 4-3 with just two minutes remaining.
The Tigers had to pull Hicks immediately after the goal, and had one late rush in an attempt to tie it up, but the X-Men were able to find the empty net, and time ran out with StFX completing the 5-3 victory.
Centorame earned the Subway Player of the Game title for his late, game winning goal in this one.
The Tigers will be back on the ice on Saturday when they travel to take on Moncton, while StFX will play host to Moncton on Friday.
Courtesy Kirk Jessome, Dalhousie Sports Information