Antigonish, NS – The Saint Mary's Huskies skated to an 8-3 win over the STFX X-Men Saturday night at the Charles V. Keating Centre, spoiling the X-Men's regular season home opener. SMU had a dominant opening weekend of AUS action as they beat Dalhousie last night by an 8-1 margin.
The Huskies got out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Cedric Ralph (Peterborough, ON) potted a rebound after a scramble in front of the X net just 56 seconds into the game to give the visitors an early lead.
Ben Roger (Markham, ON) then scored on a SMU power play, pouncing on a rebound after a Justin MacPherson (East Gwillimbury, ON) wrister from inside the blue line.
The X-Men had several solid scoring chances but were unable to get on the scoreboard in the opening 20 minutes, trailing 14-11 in shots.
STFX had a power play chance to open the second period which garnered several shots on goal but they were unable to solve Matt Welsh (Halifax, NS) in the Huskies net. It was Saint Mary's who then capitalized a couple minutes later just after their own man-advantage had expired. Dennis Busby (Oro-Medonte, ON) lifted a high shot past X netminder Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham. ON).
Nathan Dunkley (Campbellford, ON) made it a 4-0 Huskies lead as he netted an unassisted goal at the 8:05 mark of the second period, skating up the right wing and finding the back of the net far side. Lucas Pfeil (Owen Sound, ON) took over for Raaymakers in the X net.
The X-Men broke the goose egg with six and a half minutes left in the second when Liam Hawel (Arnprior, ON) connected with Josh Nelson (Lockport, IL) on a 2-on-1 as Nelson slid the puck five-hole past Welsh.
Just when it appeared the momentum was shifting in the X-Men's favour, the Huskies tallied a pair of goals late in the second period. Thomas Casey (Charlottetown, PE) netted a shorthanded marker and Roger scored his second of the game with 1:19 remaining, breaking in alone on Pfeil.
Shots were 15-13 for Saint Mary's in the middle period as they held a commanding 6-1 lead after 40 minutes.
STFX didn't back down in the third period and continued to generate scoring chances but were held off the scoresheet. Similar to the second, SMU interrupted their momentum when Ben Allison (Halifax, NS) became the sixth Husky to score in the game when he connected on a one-timer pass from Reid Valade (Caledon, ON) while on the power play.
There was then a flurry of scoring late in the period that saw three goals in a span of 49 seconds, all with under a minute to play.
Huskies defenseman Jaxon Bellamy (Hampton, NB) scored off a shot from the point through traffic with 27 seconds remaining and Dallas Farrell (Cardigan, PE) found Logan Chisholm (Antigonish, NS) open in the slot as he scored the final goal of the game for the X-Men.
Shots in the third period were 16-12 in favour of STFX as the score closed out 8-3 for Saint Mary's. Final shots in the game were 41-40 for SMU.
Huskies forward Cedric Ralph earned the game's first start honour, while Ben Roger was the second star. STFX's Josh Nelson was third star.
The Huskies will be back in action on Wednesday night, October 11th when they travel to Charlottetown to take on the UPEI Panthers. The X-Men will be in Moncton Friday night, October 13th.
Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics