Antigonish, NS – Fourth year forward Matt Needham (Kamloops, BC) scored with 1:09 left in the game to lift the StFX X-Men to a 2-1 victory over the U SPORTS No. 5 ranked Acadia Axemen Friday night at the Charles V. Keating Centre.
The loss was only the fifth of the season for the AUS first place Axemen (17-5-0). The X-Men improve to 8-10-3, and are currently tied for fifth place with UPEI.
The teams played a scoreless first period though both had ample scoring opportunities as they played a physical opening 20 minutes. Acadia had a slight 13-11 edge in shots.
The X-Men wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the second period as Will Bower (Saint John, NB) tallied 28 seconds in. He was in the crease to tuck a rebound past Logan Flodell (Regina, SK) after he saved a point shot from Adam Holwell (St. John's, NL).
The lone goal held up as the only one scored in the middle period.
The game got more physical as both squads took penalties late in the period and had their chances on the power play, including a brief 5-on-3 for the Axemen.
Shots were 18-8 in favour of the X-Men in the second period as they held onto the one-goal lead after 40 minutes.
The Axemen fired back in the third period and tied up the game just over three minutes in. Ryan Foss (Oakville, ON) brought the puck up the right wing and crossed it over in front to Maurizio Colella (Tottenham, ON) who tipped it in past X netminder Blade Mann-Dixon (Antigonish, NS) as one of his own teammates came crashing to the net in defense of Colella.
Both squads played end-to-end action in the third period and generated scoring chances. The X-Men thought they scored the go-ahead goal on the power play but to no avail.
Flodell and Mann-Dixon were equally impressive between the pipes, coming up with key saves to keep their respective teams in the game.
Needham's game winning goal came at 18:51 as he deposited a rebound after Flodell turned aside Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) from point blank range.
Flodell finished the night with 36 saves and received the game's third star honours.
Mann-Dixon, with 25 saves and the win in the X-Men net was the second star while Needham was the first star and Subway player of the game.
StFX outshot Acadia 38-26 and with the win snapped a three-game losing streak.
The X-Men are back in action Saturday night as they travel to Halifax to take on the Saint Mary's Huskies in a 7:00 pm game. The Axemen take to the ice next on Friday, January 17th in Fredericton against UNB.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information