X-Men top Huskies 4-3 in OT

Photo courtesy Mona Ghiz
Photo courtesy Mona Ghiz

Halifax, NS - The U SPORTS No. 4 ranked StFX X-Men picked up a 4-3 overtime win over the Saint Mary's Huskies in a Friday the 13th tilt at the Halifax Forum.

It was a tightly contested, hard-hitting game between the two AUS contenders as the X-Men improve to 4-0 on the young campaign while the Huskies fall to 1-2.

Brandon Hope (Canton, MI) was stellar in his first start of the year for the X-Men. He made several huge stops en-route to 24 saves and being named the first star and Subway Player of the Game.

Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) popped in the overtime winner. Craig Duininck (St Cloud, MN), Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) and Michael Clarke (London, ON) added the other X-Men tallies.

John Mullally (Timberlea, NS), Bronson Beaton (Springhill, NS) and Hunter Garlent (Thorold, ON) picked up goals for the Huskies.

Cole Cheveldave (Calgary, AB) was big in net in his first start of the year for the Huskies, trading saves with Hope all game, ending up with 23 total saves.

It was the Huskies who jumped up to the early lead just 5:44 into the first period. Jake Coughler (St. Catharines, ON) chipped the puck off the wall to himself to get into the X-Men zone on the left wing. In on a 2-on-1, Coughler kept his head up and fed Mullally who driving to the net. Mullally used his backhand to redirect it five-hole for his first career AUS goal.

Under two minutes later, Beaton pushed it to a 2-0 Huskies lead. Garlent picked up the puck on the left wing in the X-Men zone, making a slick feed to Beaton who cut through the slot and ripped a wrister back across the grain, low-blocker from the right hash-marks.

The X-Men responded on the power play just over a minute later. Cianfrone got the puck on the right wing in the Huskies' zone and slid it up top to Cole MacDonald (Wetaskiwin, AB). MacDonald quickly sent a pass on a tee for Duininck, who one-timed a laser beam high glove from just above the left dot.

The Huskies controlled the majority of the first but Hope made the difference for the X-Men.

The second period was a different story, as it was the X-Men with the jump in their step in the middle frame. It only took 3:25 for Cianfrone to knot the game up at 2-2. On the power play again, Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) got it to Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) in the neutral zone. Needham chipped and chased the puck into the Huskies' zone, making a strong play behind the net as he poked it out front to Cianfrone who got a shot off in traffic that went home five-hole.

Clarke put the X-Men up for the first time with a little over three minutes left in the second. Cook got in behind the Huskies D and won a foot race to the puck in the Huskies' zone. He stopped up and made a sharp pass across the low slot to Clarke who knocked it in low just inside the post.

The third period started with a bang as Garlent tied it up just 2:18 in. He picked off an errant X-Men pass at the left half-wall in the X-Men zone, took a couple steps and snapped it in five-hole from the left dot.

The rest of the third was a back and forth affair with both teams trading chances.

The Huskies had some controlled zone-time in the extra overtime frame of three-on-three but it was the X-Men who struck twine. Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) made a strong move to drive on net from the left dot and Tremaine was right on the doorstep to pop in the rebound for the game winner.

Shots were 27 apiece. The X-Men went 1-for-4 on the power play, while the Huskies were 0-for-4.

Up next the X-Men will host the Dalhousie Tigers on Friday, October 20th in Antigonish. The Huskies will be back tomorrow at the Halifax Forum for a 'road game' against their crosstown rival Tigers.

Courtesy Cam Honey-Webb, SMU Communications