Huskies drop X-Men 4-1

Photo courtesy Mona Ghiz
Photo courtesy Mona Ghiz

Halifax, NS - The Saint Mary's Huskies played to a 4-1 win over the CIS No. 1 ranked STFX X-Men Friday night at the Halifax Forum. The win improves the Huskies record to 1-2 while the X-Men now sit at 2-1 early in the season.

It was a matchup of last year's second (X-Men) and third (Huskies) place teams at the CIS championship, and fans were not disappointed with the fast paced, up-tempo game.

Playing in his first career AUS game, Eric Brassard (St. Hubert QC) was stellar in goal for the Huskies. He stopped 32 of the 33 shots he faced for a .970 save percentage and his first win.

The Huskies had four different players find the back of the net, as Calder Brooks (Emerald Park SK), Ben Duffy (Lower Sackville NS), Anthony Repaci (Toronto ON) and Taylor Burke (Halifax NS) all contributed offensively.

1st Period

The game was fast paced from the opening puck drop, with both teams playing with a lot of energy.

Just 1:24 in the X-Men went on the power-play and were able to apply good pressure with the man advantage but the Huskies came away with the kill.

The X-Men controlled the majority of the play in the period but were unable to beat Brassard who made several spectacular saves - first getting the shoulder up on a shot from Adam Stevens (Bedford NS) from the bottom of the attacking right wing circle.

Just moments later Eric Locke (Toronto ON) and Kristoff Kontos (Penetanguishene ON) came in on a two-on-one. Kontos streaked in on the left wing and took a slick feed from Locke but Brassard went post-to-post to make a stellar pad save and then recovered to stop Holden Cook (Oshawa ON) on the rebound.

Anthony Difruscia (Thorold ON) pounced on a puck off a face-off in the attacking left wing circle and beat Brassard short-side with a quick wrist-shot but the puck rang off the post and stayed out.

The last great chance in the period came when Locke worked a give-and-go with Cook up the right wing and made a strong move to the net, but again Brassard was there, this time flashing the leather to keep the score 0-0.

The Huskies were able to fire some rubber on Brandon Hope (Canton MI) in the frame but the X-Men goalie was solid in his own right.

Shots in the period were 13-7 in favour of the X-Men.

2nd Period

When the two teams switched sides for the second, the play continued to be tilted to the south side of the Forum as the Huskies took control early in the frame.

Saint Mary's capitalized on some great zone pressure early in the period. Alex Cord (Toronto ON) cycled the puck down low to Repaci who worked behind the net and sent a backhand feed right on the tape of Brooks in the high slot who one-timed the puck off the post past Hope's glove for a 1-0 Huskies lead at 2:04.

The home side continued to swarm as Hunter Garlent (Thorold ON) ripped a shot off the post from the attacking right wing dot. A minute later Bronson Beaton (Springhill NS) got a good shot off alone in the low slot but Hope made a better save.

6:12 into the frame Cord took a holding penalty to send the X-Men on the power-play. They were able to work a great chance early in the man advantage when Brent Turnbull (Stellarton NS) took a centering feed in front but Brassard made big pad save.

From there the Huskies took over short-handed. Brooks and Michael Curtis (Georgetown ON) worked in on a two-on-one, Brooks sent a great feed to Curtis who dangled to his backhand but could not beat Hope.

Seconds later Duffy took the puck from Curtis in the Huskies zone and raced up the right wing and fired a shot low blocker, scoring at 7:51 for a 2-0 Huskies lead.

There was end to end action for the next several minutes highlighted for the Huskies by Bradley Latour (Barrie ON) working in on the right wing three-on-one showing great patience waiting to send a feed across to Garlent whose shot forced Hope to make a brilliant save going post-to-post.

On a Huskies power-play late in the period Duffy showed off some filthy mitts dangling through right face off circle beating two X-Men defenders and had Hope sliding out of the net the other way but ripped his shot off the post.

Shots after forty minutes were 23-17 in favour of the X-Men.

3rd Period

The first ten minutes of the third period saw each team exchange some scoring chances but was fairly uneventful.

With the X-Men short-handed Nathan Pancel (Ottawa ON) fired a shot while working down the left wing Brassard made a pad save but the rebound left a loose puck top of crease with an open net. Kyle Pereira (Brampton ON) swooped in to swipe it away for the Huskies.

Just as the X-Men penalty-kill ended they found themselves on the power-play. On the rush Jagger Dirk (Penticton BC) worked it over for Cook on the right wing who took a shot from the top of the circle that was tipped in front by Locke under Brassard's blocker making it 2-1 at the 15:10 mark of the period.

The deficit was not cut for very long though, as the Huskies got another power-play opportunity shortly after. Duffy slid the puck back to Austyn Hardie (Montreal QC) on the left point whose shot was tipped in front by Repaci (18:43) past Hope to build the Huskies lead to 3-1.

Burke sealed the game on an empty netter in the final minute.

Final shots in the game favored the X-Men at 33-22.

StFX continues their weekend road trip traveling to Wolfville, NS to face the Acadia Axemen on Saturday at 7:00 pm.

The Huskies will be the visitors at the Halifax Forum Saturday night against their Halifax rivals the Dalhousie Tigers. Puck drop is 7:00 pm.

Courtesy Cam Honey-Webb, SMU Sports Information