Huskies battle to 5-3 win over X-Men

Photo credit Eduardo Ibarra
Photo credit Eduardo Ibarra

HALIFAX, NS - The Saint Mary's Huskies defeated the STFX X-Men 5-3 in a fast-paced game Saturday evening. Huskies Reid Valade scored two goals on the night, with Nathan Dunkley, Connor Olson, and Charlie Dafonseca adding to the Huskies tally.

Saint Mary's had an explosive start, with back-to-back chances. Huskies Declan McDonnell (Buffalo, NY) passed to teammate Nathan Dunkley (Campbellford, ON) down low, who fired a one-timer, but X-Men goalie Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) was there to make the save.

Seconds later, Huskies Reid Valade (Caledon, ON) and Thomas Casey (Charlottetown, PE) had a two-on-two opportunity, but X-Men's Raaymakers saved the shot.

The X-Men responded with an opportunity, as Charlie Callaghan (Toronto, ON) received a pass in the slot from behind the net, but Huskies goaltender Matthew Welsh (Halifax, NS) was there to make the save.

With six minutes played in the period, the X-Men headed to the power play. They capitalized on their opportunity, as Brendon Clavelle (Kapuskasing, ON) scored his first goal of the season from a point shot that found the back of the net.

Midway through the first period, the Huskies went onto a four-minute powerplay searching for the tying goal. The Huskies offence had several chances, with Dennis Busby (Oro-Medonte, ON) knocking it out of the air, passing to teammate Andrew Coxhead (Bedford, NS), who fired a shot from the face-off circle, but X-Men netminder Raaymakers made the stop.

As the final minute ticked down on the powerplay, the Huskies sent a flurry of shots onto the STFX net, but the X-Men defence stood firm, keeping their lead 1-0.

In the last few minutes of the first period, the Huskies kept up the pressure as Huskies defenceman Busby fired it through traffic with teammate Casey in front for the tip, but the shot went wide.

As the teams headed into the first intermission, the Huskies outshot the X-Men 19-5, with the X-Men leading 1-0.

In the first minute of play in the second period, Huskies Coxhead picked up the puck down low and fired a cross-ice pass to teammate Dunkley, who one-timed it into the back of the X-Men's net to tie the game 1-1.

A few moments later, Busby fired a shot with Jaxon Bellamy (Hampton, NB) picking up the rebound, shooting at an open net, but a diving X-Men defender stopped the shot.

Two minutes later, Valade and Casey had a two-on-none opportunity for SMU; after a give-and-go, Valade fired it top corner for the Huskies to take the lead 2-1.

As the period approached halfway, X-Men's Logan Chisholm (Antigonish, NS) had a breakaway opportunity, but Huskies goaltender Welsh stood firm.

With 11 minutes left in the second period, the teams headed onto four-on-four play. X-Men forward Josh Nelson (Lockport, IL) pounced on a loose puck and fired it on the Huskies net, but Welsh was there to make the pad save.

With six minutes left to play in the second period, the Huskies headed onto the penalty kill. The X-Men capitalized again, with Jacob Hudson (Antigonish, NS) firing a hard low shot under the pad of Huskies goalie Welsh to tie the game 2-2.

A couple of minutes later, Huskies Connor Olson (London, ON) passed from down low in the corner to teammate Charlie Dafonseca (Thornhill, ON) at the ringette line, who fired a wrist shot into the X-Men's net, taking the lead 3-2.

As the teams headed into the second intermission, the Huskies outshot the X-Men 31-14, leading 3-2.

In the first minutes of the third period, Liam Hawel (Arnprior, ON) fired a shot on the Huskies net, before the X-Men could jump on the rebound, Huskies defence Justin MacPherson (East Gwillimbury, ON) fired it to the corner.

With four minutes played in the third period, the Huskies defence went to work on the penalty kill. The X-Men made no mistake as Callaghan fired a shot from the top of the face-off circle through traffic, beating Huskies goaltender Welsh tying the game 3-3 and scoring their third power play goal of the night.

Moments later, the Huskies entered the powerplay. The Huskies had several opportunities but couldn't convert them as the game stayed tied 3-3.

Midway through the period, Bradey Johnson (Lindsay, ON) chased the puck behind the X-Men net and made a pass to teammate McDonnell, who fired a shot, but Raaymakers flashed the glove to make the save.

As the Huskies poured on the pressure, McDonnell came around the X net and connected with teammate Olson, who fired a shot on net, hit the post, and bounced in, taking the lead 4-3 for the Huskies.

As the game's final minutes ticked down, both teams battled back and forth, trading opportunities. The X-Men pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, searching for the tying goal.

The Huskies defence fought off the X-Men's offence, with Huskies forward Casey sealing the 5-3 win with an empty net goal.

Huskies forward Declan McDonnell was named player of the game with three assists on the night.

X-Men goalie Joseph Raaymakers made 37 saves on the night, while Huskies Matthew Welsh made 21 saves for the win.

The Huskies win improves their record to 8-8 on the season. They will be back in action Wednesday night as they host the UPEI Panthers at the Dauphinee Centre, with puck-drop scheduled for 7 p.m.

The X-Men loss drops their record to 10-6 on the season. They will be back in action Wednesday as they host the Moncton Aigles Bleues at the Charles V. Keating Centre, with puck-drop scheduled for 7 p.m.


Recap courtesy SMU Athletics