(Halifax, NS) The StFX X-Men picked up a 4-3 win over the St Mary's Huskies in a Friday the 13th tilt at the Halifax Forum.
It was a tightly contested, hard-hitting game between the two AUS contenders; the second in a row between them. The X-Men improve to 4-0 on the young campaign. The Huskies fall to 1-2.
Brandon Hope (Canton, Mich.) was stellar in his first start of the year for the X-Men. He made several huge stops en-route to 24 saves and being named the first star of the game.
Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, N.S.) popped in the overtime winner. Craig Duininck (St Cloud, Minn.), Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, Ont.) and Michael Clarke (London, Ont.) added the other X-Men tallies.
Cole Cheveldave (Calgary, Alta.) was big in net, in his first start of the year, for the Huskies trading saves with Hope all game. He ended up with 23 saves, falling just one short at the end.
It was the Huskies who jumped on top just 5:44 into the first. Jake Coughler (St. Catharines, Ont.) chipped the puck off the wall to himself to get into the X-Men zone on the left wing. In on a two-on-one, Coughler kept his head up and fed Mullally driving to the net. Mullally used his backhand to redirect it five-hole for his first career AUS goal.
Under two minutes later, Beaton pushed it to 2-0 Huskies. Garlent picked up the puck on the left wing in the X-Men zone. He made a slick feed to Beaton who cut through the slot and ripped a wrister back across the grain low-blocker from the right hash-marks.
The X-Men responded on the power play just 1:14 later. Cianfrone got the puck on the right wing in the Huskies' zone and slid it up top to Cole MacDonald (Wetaskiwin, Alta.). Macdonald quickly sent a pass on a tee for Duininck, who one-timed a laser beam high glove from just above the left dot.
The Huskies controlled the majority of the first but Hope made the difference for the X-Men.
The second was a different story, as it was the X-Men with the jump in their step in the middle frame. It only took 3:25 for Cianfrone to knot the game up at 2-2.
On the power play again, Holden Cook (Oshawa, Ont.) got it to Matt Needham (Penticton, B.C.) in the neutral zone. Needham chipped and chased into the Huskies' zone, making a strong play behind the net he poked it out front to Cianfrone who got a shot off in traffic that went home five-hole.
Clarke put the X-Men up for the first time with a little over three minutes left in the second. Cook got in behind the Huskies D and won a foot race to the puck in the Huskies' zone. He stopped up and made a sharp pass across the low slot to Clarke who knocked it in low just inside the post.
The third started with a bang as Garlent tied it back up just 2:18 in. He picked off an errant X-Men pass at the left half-wall in the X-Men zone, took a couple steps and snapped it in five-hole from the left dot.
The rest of the third was a back and forth affair with both teams trading chances.
The Huskies had some controlled zone-time in the extra frame of three-on-three but it was the X-Men who struck twine. Sam Studnicka (Windsor, Ont.) made a strong move to drive on net from the left dot and Tremaine was right on the doorstep to pop in the rebound for the game winner.
Shots were 27 a piece. The X-Men went one-for-four on the powerplay, while the Huskies were zero-for-four.
Up next the X-Men will host the Dalhousie Tigers on October 20 in Antigonish, N.S. The Huskies will be back tomorrow at the Halifax Forum for a 'road game' against their crosstown rival Tigers.
Cam Honey-Webb, SMU Communications
Photo Mona Ghiz