Halifax, NS - The Saint Mary's Huskies wrapped up the 2022 portion of their schedule having won three straight games, after defeating the STFX X-Men 4-3 on Friday night at the Dauphinee Centre.
The Huskies were all over the visiting X-Men early, recording the first nine shots of the game. X-Men goaltender Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) stopped the first eight, but the Huskies finally broke through when captain Keith Getson (Bridgewater, NS) tipped home a point shot from defenceman Cameron Pound (White Lake, ON) to put Saint Mary's up 1-0 just 3:25 into the first period.
The Huskies outshot the X-Men 21-6 in the first period, but Raaymakers was outstanding, and the Huskies took a 1-0 lead into intermission.
Just over three minutes into the second period, the Huskies captain struck again, as Nathan Dunkley (Campbellford, ON) centred the puck and Getson quickly dropped to one knee and roofed a one-timer over Raaymakers shoulder for his second of the night.
A few minutes later, the Huskies would extend their lead when forward Cedric Ralph (Peterborough, ON) took a pass from Justin MacPherson (East Gwillimbury, ON) down the left boards and cut in on Raaymakers, patiently waiting and then sliding a backhand past the X-Men goalkeeper to put Saint Mary's up 3-0.
The Huskies would score their fourth unanswered goal thanks to a great effort by defenceman Jaxon Bellamy (Hampton, NB). After his initial shot ringed off the goalpost, Bellamy track down his own rebound and made no mistake for his fifth goal of the season, putting the home team up 4-0.
The X-Men answered less than a minute later, when forward Josh Nelson (Lockport, IL) scored a powerplay goal to cut the lead to 4-1. Just over six minutes later, Nelson struck again, taking a pass from Jacob Hudson (Antigonish, NS) and firing the puck past Huskies goaltender Jeremy Helvig (Kingston, ON) to cut the Huskies lead to 4-2.
The X-Men outshot the Huskies 18-11 in the second period, and the Huskies went into the intermission with a 4-2 advantage.
Nelson's scoring prowess showed up again just 30 seconds into the third period, as the Huskies had a scoring opportunity but couldn't capitalize, and the X-Men counterattack sprung the speedy Nelson on a breakaway, where he had no mistake in securing the natural hat-trick and cutting the lead to 4-3.
With the lead down to one, the game tightened up, with great defensive play and increased physicality from both teams. The X-Men had several late chances, including on the powerplay, but the Huskies were able to withstand the X-Men comeback and hold on for the 4-3 victory.
Huskies goaltender Jeremy Helvig stopped 31 shots for his third straight win, while X-Men goalkeeper Joseph Raaymakers made 38 saves.
Saint Mary's forward Keith Getson was named Subway Player of the Game with two goals. Nathan Dunkley and Caelan McPhee both had two assist nights for the Huskies.
Josh Nelson's hat-trick gave him 13 goals on the season, tying him for the AUS lead,
With the win, the Huskies improve to 11-7-0-0, as they wrap up the 2022 portion of their schedule, ranked third in the conference with 23 points.
The X-Men loss drops their record to 8-9-1-0 on the campaign as they have 17 points in fifth place in the AUS standings heading into the holiday break.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday, Jan. 6, as Saint Mary's will visit Antigonish for a rematch against the X-Men.
Recap by: Allan April / SMU Huskies Athletics