Antigonish, NS - The StFX X-Men lost their first game of the 2017-18 season Wednesday evening at the Keating Centre, falling to the Saint Marys Huskies 5-4 in a shootout.
The visiting Huskies opened up a 4-2 lead after two periods but the X-Men came back with a pair of third period goals to tie it and force the overtime period. After overtime didn't decide anything it was veteran fifth year Huskies forward and captain Steven Shipley (Ilderton, ON) who was the shootout hero, scoring the game-winner.
The first goal of the game came from Huskies forward Bradley Latour (Barrie, ON) at 10:51 of the first period after a failed StFX clearing attempt. From the boards Shipley passed to Stephen Johnson (Moncton, NB) who was able to find Latour while in the slot. Latour beat X-Men netminder Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) five-hole.
The X-Men added their first tally of the evening with only 33 seconds left on the clock in the opening period. In the neutral zone, Cole MacDonald (Wetaskiwin, AB) moved the puck ahead to Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) for a 2-on-1 rush. Studnicka passed to forward Adam Laishram (Ashburn, ON) who beat Huskies goaltender Cole Cheveldave (Calgary, AB) top corner.
Marchand (Halifax, NS) made 12 saves in the opening period, while Cheveldave made four.
The second period opened with a flourish as Anthony Repaci (Toronto, ON) scored the Huskies second goal only 47 seconds into play. The Huskies top line saw Hunter Garlent (Thorold, ON) take the initial shot on goal from a sharp angle. Repaci took advantage of the rebound let loose by Marchand while Bronson Beaton (Springhill, NS) was creating havoc around the net.
The X-Men answered SMU's goal only 19 seconds later as Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) took a shot from the point which Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) was able to tip on net. Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) found the loose puck and slid it between the pads of Cheveldave.
The Huskies next marker came at 5:26 after a shot from John Mullally (Timberlea, NS) went just wide, then Jake Coughler (St. Catherines, ON) directed the puck back towards the net and Noah Zilbert (Fredericton, NB) beat Marchand high on the short side.
The final goal of the second period came at 18:07 while X-Men forward Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) was serving a two minute penalty for roughing. Second year Huskies forward Beaton, assisted by Repaci, took a slap shot that was redirected in front of the net, ending the period 4-2 in favour of SMU.
Third period action saw the X-Men gaining a point on the power play at 9:19, while Huskies forward Calder Brooks (Emerald Park, SK) was in the box for roughing. Michael Clarke (London, ON) added StFX's third tally of the evening after Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) passed to Nathan Pancel (Ottawa, ON) behind the net. Pancel threw the puck out front and Clarke was able to capitalize on the rebound.
StFX tied the game less than two minutes later following a struggle in front of the Huskies goal. Off the face off Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) passed to MacDonald who fired a wrist shot from the point. Laishram won the battle in front of the net and added his second marker of the night.
With the game deadlocked at 4-4 at the end of regulation, a 10 minute, 3-on-3 overtime followed. StFX had the man advantage early on but neither team was able to score, leading to the shootout. Shipley had the lone shootout goal after his shot ricocheted off the post and in, winning the game for Saint Mary's and handing the X-Men their first loss of the season.
Final shots in the game favored the Huskies at 35-33. Bronson Beaton received the Subway player of the game nod for the Huskies and first star honors. StFX's Cole MacDonald and Adam Laishram were the second and third stars, respectively.
The X-Men are on the road for their next game, facing Acadia at 7pm on Friday in Wolfville, NS. The Huskies will next play Dalhousie on November 6th, also at 7pm.
Courtesy Kiana Pace, StFX Athletics Communications