X-Men finish off AUS regular season with win over Acadia

Photo credit Bryan Kennedy
Photo credit Bryan Kennedy

Antigonish, NS – The STFX X-Men shutout the Acadia Axemen 4-0 in AUS action Saturday night at the Keating Centre in the final game of the AUS season. Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) had 24 saves in the X net and was first star and player of the game.

With the win the X-Men (16-13-1-0) clinch third place in the AUS standings, earning home ice advantage in the first round of the AUS playoffs. They will be facing off against the same Acadia (9-16-2-23) squad in the best-of-three quarterfinal series as the Axemen finished the season in sixth place.

The game marked the final regular season game for the X-Men and coaches honored the graduating student-athletes prior to the game, including Bailey Webster (Kensington, PE), Sam Allison (Cole Harbour, NS), Matthew Philip (Ilderton, ON), Conner Bruggen-Cate (Langley, BC), Josh Nelson (Lockport, Il), Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) and Jacob Hudson (Antigonish, NS).

The first period was scoreless as the Axemen had a 12-8 shot advantage in the opening 20 minutes. Each squad had a power play opportunity but it was STFX's Liam Hawel (Arnprior, ON) who had the best scoring chance while shorthanded late in the period on a breakaway attempt but couldn't tuck it past the pad of Zachary Paputsakis (Rockland, ON) short side.

The X-Men opened the scoring in the game 1:21 into the second period. Zack Trott (Mulmur, ON) dropped a pass off to Hawel at the top of the slot and his shot went high over the net, but Trott was on the doorstep to tuck in the timely rebound.

Raegan Wiles (Calgary, AB) made it a 2-0 STFX lead at 6:40 on a high shot that lopped quickly in, around and out of the Acadia net. The goal was initially waved off and play continued but at the next whistle the on-ice officials confirmed it was indeed a goal.

The X-Men outshot the Axemen 12-5 in the middle period.

Team leading scorer Matthew Struthers (Milton, ON) tallied a power play marker three minutes into the third period to give X a 3-0 lead as he one-timed a pass from Hawel into the open Axemen net and past a sliding Paputsakis across the crease.

The Axemen then went on the power play shortly after but were unable to solve Raaymakers in the STFX net.

The X-Men's fourth goal came from Declan Smith (Antigonish, NS) at 12:36 of the third period as he tucked in a rebound off a Matthew Philip (Ilderton, ON) shot.

STFX held off the Axemen for the remainder of the period and Raaymakers earned the shutout victory in the X net. The X-Men outshot the Axemen 30-24 in the game.

Hawel picked up second star honours with Struthers receiving the nod for third star.

The AUS quarterfinal series schedules will be released on Sunday with Game 1 taking place at STFX, Game 2 at Acadia and Game 3 (if necessary) back at STFX. Fouth place Saint Mary's (15-14-1-0) will host fifth place UPEI (12-14-1-3) in the other quarterfinal series. First place UNB and second place Moncton will await the quarterfinal winners for the second round best-of-five semifinals.


Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, STFX Athletics