(FREDERICTON, NB) Michael Petizian (Mississauga, ON) played the hero as he scored the overtime winner to help lead the UNB REDS to a 5-4 overtime victory over the STFX X-Men on Saturday night.
"It was a nail-biter," said Petizian. "But we got the job done, and that's what counts, securing those crucial two points."
Kale McCallum (Rothesay, NB) set the stage for Petizian, perfectly setting him up for the one-timer shot that sealed the victory just 2:20 into the extra frame.
The REDS opened the scoring just four minutes into the first period. Austin Keating (Guelph, ON) capitalized with a shot through the five-hole of X-Men goalie Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON), courtesy of a pass from Emmett Sproule (Collingwood, ON).
The X-Men responded though netting two back-to-back goals before the end of the first to take a 2-1 lead.
Mark Woolley (St. Thomas, ON) struck first for the X-Men, unleashing a shot from the blue line past a screened REDS goaltender, Samuel Richard (Ste. Catherine, QC).
This was the first goal the REDS had conceded in 196 minutes of play this season.
The X-Men continued their offensive momentum, with Josh Nelson (Lockport, IL) adding a powerplay goal just three minutes later to close out the first period.
"We thought we'd be able to get two points against a team that's been pretty much perfect to start the season," X-Men, Liam Hawel (Arnprior, ON) added, "So I think obviously were happy that we were able to get one point, but at the same time, losing that one being a close game stings a little extra."
In the second period, Sean McGurn (Ottawa, ON) was quick to respond, leveling the game at 2-2, as he received a pass from Benjamin Corbeil (Granby, QC) and beat Raaymakers through the five-hole.
The third period provided no shortage of excitement, with both teams combining for four goals.
The REDS broke the deadlock 6:11 into the third period with a goal from McCallum.
They had an opportunity to extend their lead, but a loose puck that Raaymakers couldn't secure led to the officials blowing the play dead before the REDS could put the puck into the net.
Minutes later, Jacob Hudson (Antigonish, NS) tied the game at 4-4 for the X-Men, firing a puck past Richard at 13:55 of the third period.
Brady Gilmour (Grafton, ON) quickly responded, putting the REDS ahead by one at 16:22.
However, the X-Men displayed resilience, with Liam Hawel scoring to tie the game at 4-4 with just 30 seconds left in the game, and the goalie pulled.
"I just tried to get in there; we had a 6-on-5 advantage with the goalie pulled," said Hawel. "A loose puck found its way to the center ice, and I had a bit of space on the side. I got a nice pass and tried to shoot it as quickly as I could."
With the game tied at the end of regulation, overtime was needed to determine the winner.
Petizian delivered the winning goal, securing the REDS' fourth win of the season and maintaining their perfect record at 4-0-0-0.
The X-Men now find themselves in the middle of the standings with a record of 1-2-1-0.
Looking ahead, the X-Men will meet the Dalhousie Tigers in a mid-week matchup in Halifax on Wednesday at 7:00pm.
Meanwhile, the REDS will hit the road for a Friday encounter with the Acadia Axemen, with game time set for 7:00 pm.
RECAP BY: Madison Tucker/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics