X-Men bettered by rival Huskies

Courtesy Lauren Tidd
Courtesy Lauren Tidd

Antigonish, NS - Perennial rivals faced-off in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) hockey action Friday night, with the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies (5-7-1) skating to a 5-1 win over the U Sports #2-ranked StFX X-Men (10-5) at the Keating Centre.

With four goals in just more than eight minutes, including two shorthanded, the Huskies jumped to a 4-0 advantage after the first period.

At 9:01, Noah Zilbert (Fredericton, NB) picked up a rebound, off a hard point shot from Huskies' captain Kyle Pereira (Brampton, ON), and found the back of the net behind Brandon Hope (Canton, MI). Ben Duffy (Lower Sackville, NS) notched the other helper.

Just more than 90 seconds later, at 10:40, Taylor Burke (Halifax, NS) gobbled up a loose puck in the slot, after Hope made multiple quality saves under Saint Mary's pressure, and put it home. Duffy and Thomas Stavert (Kensington, PEI) collected the assists.

On the first power play of the game, the X-Men tried to trim the deficit, but Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, QC) stopped Max Iafrate (Livonia, MI) and Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) on consecutive slap shots.

On the same StFX man advantage, Bradley Latour (Barrie, ON) won a battle for the puck with Iafrate, before roofing a chip shot, from in tight, over Hope's right shoulder. Calder Brooks (Emerald Park, SK) and Alex Cord (Toronto, ON) were the set-up men on the tally.

Only 33 seconds later, at 17:40, the Huskies made it two short-handed goals, with Burke finishing a two-on-one break-in with Brooks, before putting a backhander home. Conor McGlynn (Oakville, ON) added the other assist.

After that marker, Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) replaced Hope between the pipes.

Early in the second period, off a pair of two-on-one rushes, Michael Clarke (London, ON) unleashed hard blasts, but Brassard steered them aside.

A couple minutes later, Locke sent line-mate Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) in alone on Brassard, who stymied the X-Men forward with his right shoulder.

In the first five minutes of the period, Marchand made multiple saves, which kept the X-Men deficit at four goals.

On an X-Men power play, midway through the second period, the Huskies almost garnered another short-handed goal, with Marchand making a sparkling save on a Brooks' backhand shot from close quarters.

With the teams playing four-on-four, Bronson Beaton (Springhill, ON) centered to Anthony Repaci (Toronto, ON) but Marchand robbed him with a highlight-reel glove stop.

Seconds later, the X-Men freshman goaltender made a trio of spectacular saves to keep the visitors off the board.

StFX received a late-period boost from freshman Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON), who roofed a wrist over Brassard, at the 19:03 mark. Kristoff Kontos (Penetanguishene, ON) and defenseman Mitchell Wheaton (Sherwood Park, AB) chipped in assists.

In the third period, the X-Men put some pressure on, but they could not solve Brassard.

At 5:25, the Huskies regained their four-goal edge, when a trailing Pereira, off a three-on-one, bested Marchand. Beaton and Hunter Garlent (Thorold, ON) assisted on the fifth goal.

With the X-Men trying to rally, after Brassard made a save on Clarke, Tremaine gathered the rebound, but could not find the back of the net.

On a power play, Cole MacDonald (Wetaskiwin, AB) fed Kontos, but Brassard slid across his crease to make the stop.

On a late 2-on-1, Locke fed Cianfrone, who tested the Saint Mary's goalie, but he made a glove save.

Brassard made 40 saves for the win, while Hope and Marchand turned aside nine and 22 shots, respectively, in the loss.

Brassard was selected as Subway player of the game and first star, while Duffy and Marchand garnered second and third star nods, respectively.

The Huskies will be back in action Saturday, Nov. 19, when they face the home Dalhousie Tigers in Halifax.

The X-Men will visit the same Tigers on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Puck drop for both match-ups is 7 p.m.