Tigers nip X-Men 5-4 in shootout

Photo credit Bryan Kennedy
Photo credit Bryan Kennedy

Antigonish, NS – Tigers captain Colton Heffley (Swift Current, SK) scored two goals and the shootout winner to lift Dalhousie to a 5-4 win over the StFX X-Men Wednesday night on #BellLetsTalk night at the Charles V. Keating Centre.

In a back and forth game, Heffley also scored the tying goal for the Tigers with only 51 seconds left in the game to force overtime and the eventual shootout.

Dalhousie opened the scoring just 2:20 into the game as Dillon Boucher (Head Chezzetcook, NS) fed the puck to Michael Dill (Windsor, NS) on the counter attack and he beat X goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon (Antigonish, NS) five-hole.

StFX evened it up with a Regan Spears (Port Hood, NS) power play goal. He deflected in an Adam Holwell (St. John's, NL) shot from the point at 8:24.

The X-Men were close to scoring on the power play again a few minutes later but Tigers netminder Connor Hicks (Kanata, ON) shut down Cole MacDonald (Westaskiwin, AB) on the backhand.

Dalhousie took the lead midway through the period when Boucher split the StFX defense and beat Mann-Dixon with a low shot.

The 2-1 score held up after 20 minutes as the Tigers outshot the X-Men 19-15 in the opening period.

The Tigers had a great scoring chance in the opening two minutes of the second period as Matt Green (Hammonds Plains, NS) and Heffley had a two-on-one rush. Mann-Dixon made a nice save off Green's shot and Heffley dinged the rebound off the cross bar.

The X-Men tied it up at 6:15 when Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) found Declan Smith (Antigonish, NS) in front who then made a nice deke move to beat Hicks and tuck the puck in behind him into the open net.

MacDonald gave the home team their first lead of the game with a goal at 14:34. He snuck into the slot and took a Jeremiah Addison (Etibicoke, ON) pass and beat Hicks to put the X-Men up 3-2. The goal came after Mann-Dixon had stopped Heffley on a breakaway attempt.

Heffley made no mistake two minutes later, however as he fired a high shot over the shoulder of Dixon, one-timing a pass from Cameron Thompson (Victoria, BC).

The 3-3 tie held up after the second period as shots were even at 12 apiece.

The third period saw both teams battling for the go-ahead goal and both Mann-Dixon and Hicks coming up with key saves to keep their respective team in the game.

Tremaine put the X-Men ahead at 13:09 as he capitalized on a rebound and deposited the puck into the open cage after Hicks was down after making a save off Matt Graham (Bedford, NS).

The Tigers pulled Hicks from the net with just under two minutes to play in favour of the extra attacker and it paid off as the captain Heffley scored his second goal of the game on a screen shot from the point with 51 seconds to play.

The five-minute 3-on-3 overtime period was wide open as both teams had chances to score and end it. Andrew Shewfelt (Dartmouth, NS) hit a post for the Tigers and both goaltenders came up big. Mann-Dixon had five saves in overtime.

After exchanging shootout goals, Heffley scored to give the Tigers the edge and the X-Men were not able to score to force additional shooters.

For his three-goal effort, Heffley was awarded the game's first star and Subway player of the game. X-men goalie Blade Mann-Dixon, with 40 saves on the night was the second star, and his counterpart Hicks in the DAL net, with 34 saves, was third star.

The X-Men will be back in action Saturday night when they host the UPEI Panthers in a 7:00 pm game at the StFX Keating Centre.

The Tigers play next on Friday night at home, playing host to the same Panthers squad.


Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information