Antigonish, NS - The StFX X-Men defeated the visiting Dalhousie Tigers 4-1 at the Keating Centre on a snowy Friday evening. The crowd was treated to 60 minutes of fast-paced hockey, featuring a scoring blitz for the X-Men in the second period led by first star and Subway Player of the Game Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) who scored a hat trick.
The opening frame showed both teams' speed and agility, with only four penalty minutes incurred. Dalhousie goaltender Connor Hicks (Kanata, ON) turned aside all 12 X-Men shots he faced, while X-Men netminder Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) denied the 10 shots on net from the Tigers.
The action started 5:16 into the second period with StFX on the power play. After a near mistake in the StFX zone, Marchand became entangled with a Dalhousie player, leaving a wide open net. X-Men captain Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) entered the opposing zone and dropped the puck for Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) at the point. Needham passed cross ice to Stevens who went towards the net and fired a shot short side past Hicks for his first of the evening.
The offensive duo of Tremaine and Needham teamed up again for the second, and ultimately game winning goal, assisting on the powerplay once more- this time setting up Holden Cook (Whitby, ON). Cook brought the puck behind the Dalhousie net before passing to Needham who then slid the puck to Tremaine parked in front of the net. Tremaine made the initial shot on goal which was saved by Hicks, with Cook coming to the side of the net and capitalizing on the rebound bringing the game to 2-0.
Within 63 seconds Stevens brought the score to 4-0 in favour of the X-Men, completing his hat-trick in front of the hometown crowd, and adding the only even strength goal in the game. Just a few seconds after changing from two-man advantage to a single man advantage for StFX, Stevens was again able to beat Hicks short-side off assists from Needham and Cook.
After a brief rest, Stevens sped onto the ice and accepted a pass from Regan Spears (Port Hood, NS) in the corner. He then rifled a shot past Hicks - completing his hat-trick.
Shots in the second period significantly favoured StFX at 16-7.
Dalhousie fought hard in the third period, but were not able to close the margin.
With just under three minutes remaining in regulation play and Dalhousie on the powerplay, Chandler Yakimowicz (Kingston, PA) finally solved Marchand. Dalhousie's only goal of the evening started with Duncan MacIntyre (Sydney, NS) taking a shot from the point which got deflected in the slot by Yakimowicz and rang off the post and in behind Marchand. Colton Heffley (Swift Current, SK) was also credited with an assist on the play.
Final shots in the game favoured the X-Men at 34-32 as Marchand picked up his fifth win of the season between the X pipes. He also picked up third star honours in the game. Needham, with three assists, was second star and Stevens was first star and Subway player of the game.
The local crowd was also treated to an impressive demonstration of sledge hockey from The Antigonish Bulldogs Minor Hockey association novice inclusion players during the first intermission, as three members of the team also skated with the X-Men during the warmups. The StFX X-Men have fostered a strong relationship with the Bulldogs, being an active part of promoting physical activity for children with and without disabilities in the community. The evening events were organized by the StFX Human Kinetics department.
The X-Men have their final home game before the holiday break Saturday evening at 7:00 pm against the Université de Moncton. Dalhousie will have a break until November 28th, when they will again play StFX, this time in Halifax.
Courtesy Kiana Pace, StFX Sports Information