Antigonish, NS – The U SPORTS No. 3 ranked StFX X-Men defeated the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus 6-1 Saturday night in AUS action at the Antigonish Arena on StFX Homecoming weekend.
To start the game, Moncton had a few decent shots on goal while on the power play in the opening period of play but X-Men goaltender Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) and his penalty kill unit kept them at bay.
The X-Men responded a minute later with a goal from Needham. After Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) unleashed a shot from the point and Etienne Montpetit (Valleyfield, QC) made the initial save and also stopped Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) on the rebound, Needham pounced on the second rebound and deposited it into the mesh.
The teams exchanged power play opportunities midway through the period but neither could convert a goal.
The X-Men made good on another power play, however with 3:39 left to play as Needham scored his second goal of the period, again scooping up a rebound and roofing it up high. Centorame and Addison were in on the assists.
Despite being outshot 15-10 in the opening period, it was the X-Men who held the 2-0 lead.
The home squad went up 3-0 on another power play marker 4:18 into the third period when Cianfrone shoveled in a rebound after a goal crease scramble. A melee ensued in front of the Aigles Bleus net immediately following the goal as the teams ramped up the physicality.
With Moncton on the power play after penalties were sorted out, it was the X-Men who profited as defenseman Adam Holwell (St. John's, NF) netted an unassisted shorthanded goal. After beating his Moncton counterpart one-on-one he roofed a nice backhander over the shoulder of Montpetit as he skated across the Aigles Bleus crease.
StFX made it 5-0 when Needham scored his hat trick marker at 9:18. After Cianfrone dumped the puck in the corner, Addison picked it up and found Needham in the slot who made no mistake.
The physical play continued as both teams received several minor infractions throughout the period. The Aigles Bleus closed out the period with a 5-on-3 power play but did not score.
Shots in the middle period favoured the X-Men 17-9.
The intensity increased in a fast-paced third period. With under nine minutes to play X-Men defenseman Cole MacDonald (Westaskiwin, AB) received a five-minute major and game misconduct for kneeing and Aigles Bleus Wilson Forest (Matane, QC) was sent off for unsportsmanlike play as tempers flared.
While on the ensuing four-on-four play, the X-Men scored their sixth goal of the evening, coming off the stick of Regan Spears (Port Hood, NS) on a 2-on-1 play with Addison. Holwell also had a helper on the play.
The Aigles Bleus scored their lone goal of the game less than two minutes later while on the power play as Robbie Graham (Richibuctou, NB) tallied on a goal crease scramble. Maxime St-Cyr (St-Didace, QC) and Forest assisted.
Final shots in the game favoured the Aigles Bleus at 37-33 as X-Men netminder Raaymakers earned third star honours for his 36 saves. Needham was the second star and Addison, with four points, was the first star and Subway player of the game.
With the win, the X-Men improve to 3-0 on the season and sit in first place in the AUS standings. Their next game will be on Friday, October 11th when they host Saint Mary's at home in a 7:00 pm game at the StFX Keating Centre. The Aigles Bleus will face UNB in Fredericton on the same night.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information