Halifax, NS - The Saint Mary's Huskies won Game 2 of the AUS men's hockey semifinals over the StFX X-Men by a 4-2 score to take a two-game advantage in the best of five series.
After a tight first period, the saw the teams tied 2-2, then a scoreless second period, the Huskies managed to edge out the X-Men in the third to take the victory.
Saint Mary's opened the scoring just over a minute into the game. A shot from the point from Nicholas Welsh (Halifax, NS) was tipped in by Anthony Repaci (Toronto, ON). Hunter Garlent (Thorold, ON) also had an assist.
The X-Men were quick to even it up with a rush from Regan Spears (Port Hood, NS). Creating a turnover at his blue line, he beat the Huskies defense and came down the right wing with speed before beating Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, QC) five hole. Lane Cormier (Hopewell, NS) assisted.
SMU took the lead again halfway through the period, when Calder Brooks (Emerald Park, SK) in the corner sent the puck to Noah Zilbert (Fredericton, NB) for a one timer in the slot.
On the power play with three minutes to go, the X-Men tied the game once again. Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) entered the zone and cut to the middle before throwing the puck back to Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON), who passed over to Cole MacDonald (Wetaskiwin, AB) for a shot from the point. With traffic in front of the net, the puck went straight in.
The teams headed into the intermission tied 2-2.
It was a physical battle throughout the game, but a penalty-filled second period gave momentum to the Huskies as they spent the majority of the period in the X-Men zone. Goalie Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) was spectacular for the visiting team, turning away 19 shots in the second frame.
The Huskies were pressing for a goal, with chances in tight from Garlent, Repaci, and Jake Coughler (St. Catharine's, ON), but Marchand's sharp glove kept the score tied. Dylan Di Perna (Nobleton, ON) had chances on one-timers from the circle fed by Brooks, but again, Marchand turned them away.
The X-Men had four shots in the second frame, but the score stayed tied heading into the third period.
Special teams proved important in the final period, as the Huskies finally capitalized on the power play halfway through the period. Garlent, made a nice move around the X-Men defense to enter the zone, then fired a shot on net. Marchand made the pad save but Stephen Johnson (Moncton, NB) followed up the play and put in the rebound.
The X-Men looked to come back with a four-minute power play of their own, but Johnson scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway to make it 4-2 in favor of the Huskies with just under five minutes to go.
The X-Men pulled their goalie and with 20 seconds to go, Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) had a breakaway, but the puck was poke-checked by Austyn Hardie (Halifax, NS) in a solid defensive play.
Unable to score in the remaining time, the Huskies took this game 4-2. With two goals in the game, Johnson given the Subway Player of the Game for Saint Mary's.
StFX's Cole MacDonald earned the same honour for his squad who now faces an uphill battle to get back in the series.
With the Huskies up 2-0, Game 3 of the best-of-five semifinal series will be played on Monday evening, February 25 in Antigonish at 7:00 pm. If necessary, Game 4 will be on Wednesday, February 27.
Courtesy Sarah Moore, SMU Sports Information