Antigonish, NS – In a battle of the top two men's hockey teams in the AUS, it was the U SPORTS No. 4 ranked StFX X-Men who topped the No. 2 ranked UNB Varsity Reds 3-2 in an overtime victory Friday evening at the Charles V. Keating Centre.
Michael Clarke (London, ON) had the game winning goal, scoring just 39 seconds into overtime while on the man advantage. The goal came after UNB's Marcus McIvor (Whitby, ON) had tied it up with 2:38 left to play in the third period.
In a fast-paced, hard-hitting game, Subway player of the game Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) came up big in the StFX net, posting 46 saves on the night.
The first goal of the game came early in the opening period as UNB's Tristan Pomerleau (Rivière-du-Loup, QC) scored just over two minutes in. After a pass from the corner came up through the slot, Pomerleau deked out Marchand as forwards Cam Brace (Etobicoke, ON) and Oliver Cooper (Fredericton, NB) were credited with assists on the play.
The X-Men answered the Varsity Reds goal just over halfway through the period when Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) started the breakout from the X-Men zone. He advanced the puck to Regan Spears (Port Hood, NS) who then played it towards the net. Anthony DiFruscia (Thorold, ON) took the pass from Spears and the shot bounced over Varsity Reds goaltender Alex Dubeau (Mascouche, QC).
While UNB's Brace was serving a hooking penalty, the X-Men seized the lead late in the first period. Kristoff Kontos (Penetanguishene, ON) gained the Varsity Reds' blue line and passed to Clarke who then found Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) in front of the UNB net. Cook made no mistake scoring top corner as the X-Men held the 2-1 lead.
The score remained 2-1 after 40 minutes of play the Varsity Reds firing 12 shots on goal and the X-Men six. The teams continued to battle in the third period and the X-Men defense were put to the test in fending off the UNB attack as the defending national champs fired off 24 shots to the X-Men's two.
They finally solved Marchand at 17:43 after a burst of unrelenting pressure on the StFX net. Following several shots on goal, Dylan Willick (Prince George, BC) passed to McIvor at the point who stepped in and went top corner on the X netminder.
StFX started the four-on-four overtime period on the power play while as Colin Suellentrop (Plantation, FL) was serving a delay of game penalty he incurred late in the third period while a puck clearing attempt left the ice.
While on the man-advantage, Cook passed through the slot to Kontos who threw the puck on the UNB net. Clarke redirected the puck in the crease, resulting in the game winning goal.
StFX was 2-for-4 on the power-play as they stymied the Varsity Reds who were 0-for-4 with the extra attacker.
Both teams are back on the ice tomorrow evening with StFX hosting UPEI and UNB visiting Dalhousie, both games start at 7:00 pm.
Courtesy Kiana Pace, StFX Sports Information