Antigonish, NS – In a battle of two of the top teams in the AUS, the U SPORTS No. 1 ranked UNB Reds defeated the STFX X-Men 5-3 Friday night at the Antigonish Arena in front of over 1000 fans.
Player of the game and first star Austen Keating (Guelph, ON) scored a hat trick for the Reds who buily up a 4-0 lead into the third period.
In a fast paced opening first period, STFX garnered a pair of power play opportunities, but the UNB penalty kill shut them down.
Reds forward Keating scored the lone goal of the period 15 minutes in. He broke in alone after taking a pass from Adam McCormick (Waterville, NB) and beat X-Men netminder Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) with a low shot.
UNB outshot STFX 13-6 in the opening frame.
It was STFX's turn on the penalty kill in the second period as they kept the Reds at bay for couple power play chances. Emmett Sproule (Collingwood, ON) made good on their third man-advantage however, depositing the puck after taking a pass from Keating behind the X net.
The remainder of the period went scoreless as the Reds took the 2-0 lead into the locker room for second intermission, along with a 32-13 shot advantage.
Keating tallied his second goal of the game 4:10 into the third period while shorthanded, capitalizing on a mishandled puck by Raaymakers behind the X net.
STFX had consecutive power play chances as the Reds got into penalty trouble but the blue and white could not solve Samuel Richard (Ste. Catherine, QC) in the UNB net.
While on four-on-four, the Reds scored their fourth goal of the night as Sproule tallied his second marker, re-directing a point shot from Kade Landry (Gowanstown, ON).
The X-Men finally broke the goose egg at 16:24 while on the power play as Matthew Struthers (Milton, ON) scored the goal that initiated the teddy bear toss promotion. He pounced on a loose puck after a scramble in front of the Reds net.
STFX closed the gap to 4-2 when Matt Philip (Ilderton, ON) deposited a rebound after Richard made the initial save on a shot from Struthers.
With an extra attacker late in the game Josh Nelson (Lockport, IL) scored with only 28 seconds left but it was too little too late for the X-Men as the Reds added an empty net goal by Keating as he finished with the hat trick to close out the 5-3 UNB win.
Struthers picked up second star of the game honours and UNB's Sproule was third star as his squad outshot the X-Men 39-27.
With the win, UNB remains perfect on the AUS season to date with a 17-0-0-0 record. They will travel to Halifax tomorrow night to take on the Dalhousie Tigers.
STFX drops to 10-7-1-0 on the season with tonight's game marking the final one for the X-Men prior to the Christmas break.
Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics