Orono, ME – The StFX X-Men capped off their pre-season exhibition trip to the US with a 6-5 victory over the University of Maine Black Bears Sunday afternoon. They went 2-0 on the trip, coming off a 4-3 win over Connecticut Saturday.
In the high scoring affair on Sunday, it was the Black Bears who opened up the scoring in the game, building up a 3-0 lead after the first period. Goals were scored by Nolan Vesey (00:58), Jake Pappalardo (3:15) and Eric Schurhamer (14:33), all even strength.
Maine outshot StFX 15-10 in the opening frame.
The X-Men re-grouped after the first intermission and came out firing as they scored five unanswered goals. Four goals came in the second period, including three on the man-advantage as the X-Men were 3-for-5 on the power play in the second period that saw them outshoot their opponents 19-7.
Cole MacDonald, from Bryson Cianfrone, scored the first X-Men goal while on the power play at 3:32, while Jagger Dirk notched another power play goal at 9:56, assisted by Holden Cook and Michael Clarke.
Nathan Pancel scored the game tying goal at 13:30 from Mitchel Wheaton and Mark Needham.
Reigning AUS most valuable player Eric Locke scored the go-ahead goal for StFX at 16:19 of the second period, unassisted as the X-Men took a 4-3 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes of play.
Mark Tremaine increased their lead netting an unassisted, shorthanded marker 23 seconds into the third period. The Black Bears closed the gap to a one-goal X-Men lead as Blaine Byron scored a minute later while on the power play.
The 5-4 X-Men lead held for the remainder of the period and Sam Studnicka scored on the empty net with 48 seconds left in the game, from Locke and MacDonald, in what appeared to seal the X victory. However, the Black Bears came back down ice and Chase Pearson scored at 19:40 with an extra attacker.
The X-Men were able to hold off any further chances for the remaining 20 seconds. Final shots favored StFX at 36-32.
Brandon Hope earned the win for the X-Men with 27 saves while Rob McGovern (18 saves) and Matt Morris (12 saves) shared the netminding duties for the Black Bears.
X-Men forward Mark Tremaine received first star honors for his efforts in the game, while Maine's Byron was second star and Locke was the third star.
With the win the X-Men wrap up pre-season play with a 3-1 record. AUS regular season play opens on Friday, October 7th. The X-Men will travel to Halifax for a 7:00 pm game against Dalhousie. Their home opener is the following night on Saturday, October 8th against Acadia. Puck drop is 7:00 pm at the StFX Charles V. Keating Centre.