X-Men shutout Badgers 3-0 in U SPORTS quarterfinal game

X-Men shutout Badgers 3-0 in U SPORTS quarterfinal game

Wolfville, NS – The No. 5 seeded STFX X-Men defeated the No. 4 seeded Brock Badgers 3-0 in the first quarterfinal game of the Cavendish University Cup U SPORTS Championship Thursday afternoon at Andrew M. McCain arena.

With a 35 save performance, Joseph Raaymakers backstopped the X-Men earning the shutout victory between the pipes.

Following the game Raaymakers notes, "I think both teams were trying to figure each other out in the first, and then after the first we got a lot better and we found a way to win."

Forward Matthew Struthers scored two goals and assisted on the other to earn player of the game honours for the X-Men.

X-Men fifth year captain Santino Centorame got X-Men on the board 13:29 into the first period while on the power play. He took a pass across the top of the slot from Struthers and ripped a high shot through traffic over the right should of Badgers netminder Mario Peccia. Zack Trott also had a helper on the play.

The Badgers had two power play chances of their own prior to the X goal but were held at bay by the X-Men defense.

With an 11-9 shot advantage, the X-Men held onto the 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Frank Pucci nearly got the Badgers on the board midway through the second period as he pounced on a missplayed puck in front of the X net but Raaymakers made a big save from point blank range.

Ethan Crossman dinged a puck off the cross bar for the X-Men and on an ensuing rumble in front of the Badgers net, several roughing penalties were called, resulting in an X-Men power play. STFX generated several shots but Peccia stood his ground in the Brock net.

At the opposing end Raaymakers was just as sharp. He stopped Owen Guy on a shorthanded break and made several key saves for the X-Men throughout the period.

The X-Men took a two-goal lead when recently named second team all-Canadian Struthers pounced on a rebound in front of the Badgers net with 53 seconds left in the middle frame. Matthew Philip dug the puck out of the corner and had the initial shot on goal but Struthers was on the doorstep to deposit the puck past Peccia. Linemate Liam Hawel also assisted.

STFX held a 14-11 edge in shots as they closed out the second period with the 2-0 lead.

They increased their lead to three with a late goal by Struthers at 16:39 of the third as he rounded out his three-point afternoon. Philip brought the puck into the Badgers zone and fed a nice no-look pass to the open Struthers in the slot and he made no mistake burying it in the back of the net. Hawel picked up his second point of the day with an assist.

The X-Men held the Badgers off the scoresheet for the remainder of play, closing out the 3-0 shutout victory.

Raaymakers earned the victory and when asked how it felt to secure the win he commented, "Well you just tell yourself it's another game – same ice surface, same puck – and just go out and do your best."

STFX head coach Brad Peddle is enjoying his eighth trip to the University Cup behind the helm of the X-Men. Following the game he thought his athletes were a little tentative starting out with many players competing for the first time at the national championship.

Coach Peddle commented, "At the end of the day when you come to these tournaments it's about finding a way to win that game on that day. I thought we got better as the game went on and we now have to take some learnings experiences from this game and push it into game two."

The No. 8 seeded host Acadia squad are taking on the No. 1 seeded Alberta Bears in the second quarterfinal game tonight at 7:00 pm. The winner will face the X-Men in Saturday's quarterfinal at 1:00 pm.

The remaining quarterfinal games on Friday feature No. 7 Ryerson versus No. 2 UNB at 1:00 pm, followed by No. 6 UBC versus No. 3 UQTR at 7:00 pm.


Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics