Antigonish, NS – The U SPORTS No. 2 ranked StFX X-Men skated to a 5-1 victory over the Univesité de Moncton Aigles Bleus Saturday evening at the Charles V. Keating Centre. A three-goal second period helped pace the X-Men to the win.
It was the visiting Aigles Bleus got on the board first just under three minutes into the opening period. Samuel LeBlanc (Moncton, NB) from behind the StFX net fired a quick pass back to the point to Samuel Roussy (Paspébiac, QC) who unleashed a shot through traffic that beat X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS).
The lead did not last long, however, as Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) replied for the X-Men just 25 seconds later. He picked off a neutral zone turnover and brought the puck into the Moncton end with Kristoff Kontos (Pentanguishene, ON). Kontos made the quick pass back to Pancel in front of the net who one-timed it past Brandon Thibeau (Riverview, NB) in the Aigles Bleus net.
The 1-1 score held after 20 minutes as the visiting Aigles Bleus outshot the X-Men 14-10.
Despite the shots being even at nine apiece in the second period, it was the X-Men who took advantage of the opportunities they had and scored three goals.
Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) gave StFX their first lead of the game as he scored a power play marker 1:06 into the middle period. He took a pass from Jagger Dirk and wristed a quick shot off from the side of the Moncton net that beat Thibeau. Michael Clarke (London, ON) also had a helper on the play.
X-Men defenseman Cody Hendsbee (Richmond, ON) increased the StFX lead to 3-1 at the 7:23 mark of the second period. After continued pressure and puck possession in the Moncton zone, Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) got the puck to Dirk at the point who fed it across to his D-partner Hendsbee who blasted the shot past Thibeau.
The home squad went up 4-1 off a nice breakaway goal from Matt Needham (Penticton, BC). Off a deflection from Anthony Difruscia (Thorold, ON), Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) fed the puck up through the middle of the neutral zone to a speedy Needham who broke in alone and beat Thibeau with a low shot to the glove side. The goal came with 3:39 left in the period.
The final goal of the game came late in the third period as Cook scored his second of the night and again while the X-Men were on the man-advantage. He scored a wrap-around goal, assisted by Dirk, who picked up his third helper of the evening.
Dirk earned first star and Subway player of the game honors. StFX's Cook was the second star and Moncton forward LeBlanc was the third star.
Marchand, with 27 saves, earned the win between the pipes for the X-Men, while Thibeau with 30 saves was tagged with the loss.
With the win the X-Men improve to 19-1-4 and remain one point back of first place UNB in the AUS standings. The Aigles Bleus, in seventh place, fall to 3-19-2. They will next face-off against UPEI on Friday night, January 26th at home.
The X-Men will host Acadia on Wednesday evening. Puck drop is 7:00 pm at the StFX Keating Centre.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information