Callaghan's OT winner lifts X-Men over Aigles Bleus

Photo credit Bryan Kennedy
Photo credit Bryan Kennedy

ANTIGONISH, NS - STFX X-Men rookie Charlie Callaghan's (Toronto, ON) overtime winner pushed the STFX X-Men to a 4-3 victory over the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus on Friday night, extending the home team's winning streak to six. It was Callaghan's first goal with the X-Men, earning him player of the game honours.

The win came before over 1000 spectators at the Charles V. Keating Centre as many local fans came out in support of Oliver Smith Legacy Night, held in conjunction with the game. 

Moncton's Jeremy Michel (Levis, QC), the third star of the game, opened the scoring about halfway through the first period while on the powerplay, knocking home a Jeremy Lapointe (Drummondville, CQ) pass from behind the net. The lead was short lived though, as the X-Men's Liam Hawel (Arnprior, ON) picked up a bank pass off the boards just inside the Moncton blueline before finding a streaking Matthew Struthers (Milton, ON), who tucked in the shorthanded marker. Bailey Webster (Kensington, PE) had the other assist.    

Shots at the end of the period were 13-9 in favour of STFX.

With about six minutes gone in the middle period, Moncton scored their second powerplay goal of the game, with Charles Edouard Drouin (St-Georges-de-Beauce, QC) banging home his own wrap-around rebound. The visitors had a couple of chances on their next powerplay a few minutes later, but couldn't add to the score before the home team was able to tie.

Struthers, the game's second star, potted his second goal of the game from close in, with assists going to Connor Roberts (Owen Sound, ON) and Hawel, about halfway through the period. Around three minutes later, Conner Bruggen-Cate (Langley, BC) gave the X-Men their first lead of the game, finding the far side of the net with a shot from the slot, off passes from Sam Allison (Cole Harbour, NS) and Jacob Stewart (Antigonish, NS).

Shots at the end of the second period were 25-17 in favour of the X-Men.

Les Aigles Bleus scored first for the third period in a row, with Jacob Dion (Sherbrooke, QC) finding a wide open Thomas Pelletier (Quebec, QC), who wired one top shelf from the low slot with under three minutes played.

Moncton continued to pressure the X-Men, but goaltender Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) had a couple of big saves in the final five minutes, setting the table for Callaghan's overtime heroics. Jacob Hudson (Antigonish, NS) found an open Callaghan three minutes into the 3-on-3 overtime frame and he broke in alone on Olivier Adam (Drummondville, QC) and tucked home the game winner.

Raaymakers made 27 saves in the game for the win, with Adam making 21 saves while picking up the loss. Shots at the end of the third were 27-24 in favour of Moncton, with Moncton adding three more shots in overtime, and STFX only needing one.

It's a quick turnaround for both teams as the X-Men are set to host the AUS league leading UNB Reds on Saturday night at 7 p.m. while Moncton will visit the Dalhousie Tigers tomorrow night in Halifax, also at 7 p.m.


Recap courtesy Matt Draper, STFX Athletics

The Smith Family - Bryan, Megan & Shauna - drop the ceremonial puck in memory of their late son/brother Oliver as X-Men Hockey helped the family celebrate Oliver Smith Legacy Night in conjunction with tonight's game. The Smiths donated Ollie Bots to each team - they are special momentos the family sells to raise awareness and funds for Ewings Sarcoma, the cancer that claimed their beloved son Oliver at the age of 12 in 2019.