(Halifax, NS) – The Dalhousie Tigers were shutout by the U SPORTS ranked No. 4 StFX X-Men at the Halifax Forum Wednesday night. The Tigers got plenty of opportunities, but strong power play unit, and a stellar performance by their goaltender saw StFX take the win.
The X-Men struck early with a power play opportunity. With a textbook breakout from their own zone, the visitors caught a Tigers defender out of position and came in on a 2-on-1. Michael Clarke (London, ON) carried the puck in wide and attracted the defender, sending a great pass across the slot to Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) who had plenty of time to pick his spot and burry the shot.
The best chance for the Tigers in the period came off a solid neutral-zone pass from Jackson Playfair (Fort St.-James, BC) to Kelly Bent (Halifax, NS) who got behind the StFX defenders. Bent walked in and made a move followed by a low shot, but X-Men netminder Brandon Hope (Canton, MI) was able to get the pads down fast enough to keep it out.
The X-Men had another great chance late in the period when Brent Turnbull (Stellarton, NS) intercepted a clearing attempt at the point and fired a hard pass in front that was redirected by Matt Needham (Penticton, BC), but Corbin Boes (Saskatoon, SK) slid across the crease to make the stop.
The first period came to end an with the lone goal giving StFX the 1-0 lead.
The X-Men began the period on the power play, but the Tigers showed strong positioning and were able to kill it off with no threatening chances allowed.
There was a lot of back-and-forth action early in the second period with neither team able to establish control of the puck for extended periods of play.
The Tigers put a long stretch of pressure on the X-Men midway through the period, holding the puck in the attacking end. Only one real chance was generated, however, coming off of a scramble in front with Chandler Yakimowicz (Kingston, ON) jamming it at the goal, but Hope held his ground and kept the X-Men ahead.
The Tigers ended the period on a strong possession deep in the attacking zone. After forcing a turnover at the blue line they had three attackers in the slot with plenty of ice. The pass came across the slot to Andrew Shewfelt (Dartmouth, NS), but his quick one-timer sailed just high, over the net.
Surviving that final scare, StFX held onto their 1-0 lead heading into the third period.
The X-Men found themselves on the power play again early in the final period, and it took them just 15 seconds to find the back of the net. A pass from the point found Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) along the half boards, and he fired a bullet over the blocker-side shoulder of Boes to pop the water bottle and put StFX up 2-0.
The X-Men were threatening for another one a few minutes later when a scramble in front had bodies on the ice in front of the crease. The puck squeaked out to Matt Needham, but he was robbed by the blocker of Boes, sliding back across the crease.
The Tigers had a good chance with time ticking away on them as Alex Pawelczyk (Detroit, MI) threaded a pass across the crease to Playfair, but his shot was stopped by a sliding Hope.
With just over two minutes to go, the Tigers elected to empty their net for the extra attacker. They controlled the puck well, but the X-Men put heavy traffic in front of the net and made it difficult to get a shot through.
Time ran out on the Tigers, as they were unable to solve Brandon Hope, who came away with 39 saves, the shutout, and the Subway Player of the Game award.
Both the Tigers and X-Men have one game remaining prior to the Christmas break. Dalhousie will play at Moncton on Friday night followed by the X-Men at Moncton to face the same Aigles Bleus squad on Saturday night.
Courtesy Kirk Jessome, Dalhousie Sports Information