Montreal, QC – The StFX X-Men fell 2-0 to the Canada West champion UBC Thunderbirds in the consolation semifinal of the U PSORTS championship Friday morning at CEPSUM Stadium at the Université de Montreal.
X-Men head coach Graham Kenendy noted, "We played an excellent UBC team with lots of depth who may have been a bit more experienced than our squad. We have a lot of young players but this was a really good game for our program and helps us to understand what the next steps are to achieve success at the national level."
The StFX X-Men started out strong and had a scoring opportunity in the sixth minute off a Dan Hayfield free kick but his shot went just wide to the left of the UBC net. On an ensuing corner kick the X-Men thought they had scored but it was ruled no goal.
It was the Thunderbirds who ended up on the board first as they capitalized on the corner kick in the 14th minute. Jordan Haynes sent a kick to the front of the StFX net and Nick Fussell got a head on it to deposit it into the net past the outstretched hand of X-Men keeper William Veinot.
The Thunderbirds were quick on the transition game, working the ball into StFX territory, but the X-Men defense held them at bay. Veinot had to be quick on a save from a low shot by Mihai Hodut in the 21st minute.
The teams continued to exchange possessions and penetrate for shots on goal but no major scoring chances resulted in the remainder of the half and the 1-0 UBC lead held up through 45 minutes.
The second half continued in much the same play as the first with back and forth play but the Thunderbirds getting more balls and touches through than the X-Men. Their best chance came in the 57th minute when Ryan Arthur headed a crossed ball wide right.
X-Men defender Jack Kennedy blocked UBC header on another crossed ball in the 62nd minute as the Thunderbirds continued to pressure and create scoring chances.
Ryan Arthur broke through a crack in the X-Men defense four minute later and looked sure to score but Lewis Dye got back to the X net and deflected the shot high, preventing the score.
UBC had another good chance in the 76th minute but Veinot came up with the save and the X-Men defense saved another one on the rebound.
With the Thunderbirds controlling much of the possession in the second half, the X-Men began to press for the equalizing goal in the final five minutes of play. They were unable to create a solid chance to score, however, and it was the Thunderbirds who ended up tallying on a late goal in the 87th minute by Haynes.
The second year defender also took home player of the game honours for UBC in the 2-0 win.
X-Men defender Lewis Dye received player of the game recognition for StFX. He commented that "I thought we played well and I thought in the second half we should have scored a goal or two but unfortunately we couldn't come up with the result we wanted."
Likewise, Coach Kennedy acknowledged the play of his squad, noting "I am very pleased with our effort today, especially in the first half. We were able to get everyone in the game today so everyone got an experience at a national championship tournament and that was important."
With the loss the X-Men are eliminated from further tournament competition and finish in seventh place. The Thunderbirds advance to the consolation final on Saturday against the winner of Calgary-York.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information