(Halifax, NS) The Saint Mary's Huskies won game two of the AUS men's hockey semifinals against the StFX X-Men to take a two-game advantage in the best of five series.
After a tight first period, the Huskies managed to edge out the X-Men in the third and take the game 4-2.
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 going into the third period.
Special teams proved important in the third, as the Huskies finally capitalized on the power play halfway through the period. Garlent, making a nice move around the X-Men defense to enter the zone, 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. With two goals, he was given the Subway Player of the Game for Saint Mary's.
The X-Men pulled their goalie and with twenty 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.
The Subway Player of the Game for StFX was Cole McDonald.
Game 3 of the best-of-five series will be played on February 25 in Antigonish at 7 pm. If necessary, game 4 will be on February 27.
Source, Sarah Moore for SMU
Photo Nick Pearce