Moncton, NB – The StFX X-Men won their Subway AUS quarter-final series 2-0 over the Moncton Aigles Bleus with a 4-3 victory on the road Friday night. With the win the X-Men advance to the best-of-five semifinals against second place Acadia.
StFX opened the scoring in the game as Eric Locke (Toronto, ON) connected with Craig Duininck (St. Cloud, MN) at 5:48. His pass from the corner of the Aigles Bleus zone found Duininck outside the face-off circle who one-timed a shot past Brandon Thibeau (Riverview, NB) in the Moncton net.
The Aigles Bleus wasted no time tying the game as the scored on the ensuing play just 14 seconds later. After a dump into the StFX zone and a poor clearing play, the puck came back to Marc-Anthony Therrien (Nicolet, QC) who blasted a shot past X netminder Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS). Samuel Roussy (Paspébiac, QC) and Samual LeBlanc (Moncton, NB) assisted on the play.
Carl Marois (Montmagny, QC) gave Moncton their first lead of the game as he netted a power play goal at 11:50 on a 2-on-1 rush up ice, taking the shot himself and beating Marchand up high. Roussy picked up his second assist on the night.
The Aigles Bleus took the 2-1 lead into the dressing room after 20 minutes despite being outshot 12-8 by the X-Men in the opening period.
The X-Men tied it at 2-2 off a Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) shorthanded goal at 4:49 of the second period. Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) blocked an Aigles Bleus shot then brought the puck up ice. He found Jagger Dirk (Penticton, BC) who got it over to Studnicka for the goal.
StFX took the lead at 10:53 when Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) scored after Studnicka created traffic in front of the Moncton goal and Stevens was able to bang the puck past a screened Thibeau. Tremaine picked up a helper on the goal.
StFX had a slight 9-8 edge in shots during the second period as they took the 3-2 one-goal advantage into the final period.
The Aigles Bleus pressured for the equalizer as they were fighting for their playoff lives. The best scoring chance came on a breakaway by LeBlanc but Marchand held his ground. The X goaltender came up with some key saves to keep his team in the game.
Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) gave the X-Men a two-goal advantage when he scored at 12:01. Cole MacDonald (Wataskawin, AB) passed it across to Cianfrone who skated out front and handcuffed Thibeau. Tremaine got his third consecutive assist on the play.
The Aigles Bleus pulled Thibeau with 3:18 left on the clock in favor of the extra attacker and it paid off as Pierre Durepos (Shediac, NB) scored at 18:52. He picked up a rebound in front of the net off a Roussy point shot.
It was as close as they would come however as the X-Men held on for the final 1:08 and claimed the 4-3 win in the game and the 2-0 win in the series.
Marchand, with 25 saves, earned his second consecutive playoff win as StFX defeated the Aigles Bleus Wednesday night 6-2 in Game 1.
Thibeau turned aside 21 pucks in the losing effort for the Aigles as the X-Men were outshot 28-25 in the game.
Studnicka earned Subway player of the game honors for the X-Men with his two-point performance whiel LeBlanc took home the same honor for the Aigles Bleus.
StFX, the defending AUS champions, now advance to the Subway best-of-five semifinal series against the Acadia Axemen. Stay tuned on www.goxgo.ca for the scheduling announcement of round two of the AUS playoffs.