X-Men cap off weekend with U SPORTS bronze medal victory

X-Men cap off weekend with U SPORTS bronze medal victory

Wolfville, NS – X-Men forward Zack Trott was the overtime hero as he fired home a shot 43 seconds into the extra frame to secure the U SPORTS bronze medal for STFX in a 3-2 victory over the Ryerson Rams.

The marker was the second quickest overtime goal in University Cup history and the first game winning overtime goal that Trott has scored.

Following the game Trott noted that his teammate Matthew Philip was in the corner getting the puck and, "I hoped he was going to hit me in the slot and sure enough he did and I was happy to put it in the back of the net for the boys."

The win marked the 12th national medal in X-Men team history and their seventh bronze medal. They also have four silver and one gold (2004) to their credit. Their last U SPORTS medal – also bronze – came in 2018-19.

The sting of not playing for gold wasn't evident in this match as both teams skated with intensity and a desire to prevail.

To open the game the X-Men generated several shots on goal on an early power play opportunity, including 26 seconds on a 5-on-3 but could not solve Garrett Forrest in the Rams net.

Joseph Raaymakers was also up for the task at the other end for the X-Men, making several key saves in the opening period.

The Rams broke through at 12:34 when Jackson Doherty picked up a loose puck behind the X net and fed Jeremiah Addison in the slot who let loose a one-timer that beat Raaymakers.

After the X-Men hit the post on three occasions, they finally deposited a puck between the pipes when Brendan Clavelle's shot from the point found its way through traffic. Connor Roberts assisted on the goal that came with 2:24 left in the period.

The Rams lost defenseman Ryan Wells late in the period after he had an awkward landing into the boards off a Jacob Hudson open-ice hit. Hudson was tagged with a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play.

The X-Men were also without the services of all-Canadian forward Matthew Struthers for the majority of the opening period as he went down with a knee injury. Struthers did not return to the game.

Shots favoured the X-Men 15-8 in the first period as the score remained tied 1-1.

STFX successfully fought off the four and a half minutes remaining on the major penalty to start off the second period. Raaymakers had a big save off Rams forward Kyle Bollers who broke in alone on their best scoring chance while on the power play.

Kevin Gursoy scored the go-ahead goal for the Rams midway through the period as he was low in front of the X net and tapped in a quick pass from Elijah Roberts.

The remainder of the second period was played the majority of the time with one or more player in the penalty box as the teams amped up their physical play and several roughing penalties ensued.

The score remained 2-1 in favour of the Rams after 40 minutes despite the extra-man advantages for both squads. The Rams had an 11-10 edge in shots in the middle period.

The third period featured more fast-paced action. Raaymakers was solid in the X net and second year STFX forward Conner Bruggen-Cate tied the game up at 2-2 seven minutes in. He brought the puck into the Rams zone and after Forrest made the initial save off his shot, he followed up on his own rebound and tucked the puck in under his pads.

Both teams pressed for the go-ahead goal and both goaltenders made big saves for their respective squads to keep them in the game. Shots were even at 12 apiece in the final period.

After the game remained deadlocked after regulation the teams started into the 10-minute 5-on-5 overtime period but didn't have to play long as Trott sealed the win for the AUS finalist X-Men.

Raaymakers posted 29 saves in the STFX net for the win as the X-Men finished with a 40-31 shot advantage.

X-Men head coach Brad Peddle noted that his team was pretty excited and happy with the win. "It was a tough game, a lot went on in that game but at the end of the day we found a way to win. We had a lot of chances and their goalie made some big saves but we figured at some point we would get one by him, we just had to make the shot to finish it off."

Peddle also acknowledged the contribution of his graduating X-Men. Fifth year captain Santino Centorame played in his final game with the blue and white. Fellow defensemen Bailey Webster, Will Thompson and Adam Holwell are also graduates, along with forward Will Bower and goaltenders Joseph Raaymakers and Blade Mann-Dixon.


Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics