Halifax, NS – In their final home game of the first half of the season, the Dalhousie Tigers played host to the StFX X-Men at the Halifax Forum on Wednesday. Special teams made all the difference in this one as the Tigers capitalized to take the 5-2 win.
The Tigers had the first good scoring chance of the game when Mike Evelyn (Ottawa, ON) found space in front of the crease to put a shot on goal that was stopped before Evelyn sent the rebound back toward goal again but Blade Mann-Dixon (Antigonish, NS) was able to stick out the pad to make a fantastic stop.
Immediately countering that chance, the X-Men broke out of their own zone into the Tigers end. A long shot from the point was blocked down in the slot, and Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) was able to pick it up and fire it toward the goal. The first shot from Tremaine was stopped but Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) was there to collect and bury the rebound to open the scoring.
Both teams were able to pick up plenty of shots in the period, but there was only the lone goal in the first, as the teams went into the break with the X-Men leading 1-0.
The Tigers opened the second period with an early goal on a quick breakout 3-on-1 chance on a counter attack. Andrew Shewfelt (Dartmouth, NS) crossed over the line along the boards, sent a pass into the slot for Jonathan Cyr (Ottawa, ON) who sent it right back and Shewfelt fired a low shot that snuck under the pad of Mann-Dixon to even it up at 1-1.
Special teams were getting plenty of use in this one, with both teams being given four power play opportunities each by the midway mark in the second period, but neither side was able to find a goal on the man-advantage thus far.
It looked like the Tigers had changed that on a shot from Shewfelt that found the top corner through a crowd, however the Tigers were called for goaltender interference on the play and it was waved off.
Coming out of the box for the Tigers was Jackson Playfair (Fort St. James, BC), and the Tigers were able to collect the first power play goal of the game on a massive one-timed slap shot from the point that popped the water bottle with less than a minute to go
With that, the Tigers found two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Once again the X-Men started a period on the power play, but the Tigers did a great job of killing it off, and converted it into another goal. As Jesse Lussier's (Ottawa, ON) penalty expired, Zachary Taylor (Dartmouth, NS) sprung him on a breakaway. Lussier came down the slot, made a move to the backhand, quickly flipped back to the forehand and lifted the puck just under the cross bar for a nice goal, increasing the lead to 3-1.
The Tigers picked up another goal on a power play opportunity as Connor Welsh (Halifax, NS) sent a knuckle-ball shot towards the net that fooled Mann-Dixon and the Tigers took a commanding 4-1 lead midway through the third.
The X-Men pulled Mann-Dixon with just one minute to go, and it paid off quickly for them as a shot from the point was stopped, but the rebound bounced out directly to Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) who had all the time in the world to tap it in and bring his team within two.
With just 30 seconds left, the X-Men pulled the goalie again, but this time Cyr was able to find the back of the empty net to seal the 5-2 victory.
Special teams made the difference as the X-Men were given eight power play opportunities and could only convert once, while the Tigers scored two goals on the man-advantage.
Jesse Lussier led the Tigers in this one with the game winning goal, and added two assists as well, but Jackson Playfair was named the Subway Player of the Game, picking up a goal.
The Tigers will wrap up the first half of the season on the road in Moncton on Friday, while the X-Men will also travel to Moncton for their final game on Saturday.
Courtesy Kirk Jessome, Dalhousie Sports Information