(Halifax, NS) In AUS men's hockey action, the Saint Mary's Huskies men's hockey team battled the StFX X-Men to a 9-3 Huskies win for their last regular season home game at the Dauphinee Centre. It was a rough game, with over 70 penalty minutes going to each team.
The first couple minutes were mostly played in the neutral zone. StFX goalie Blade Mann-Dixon (Antigonish, NS) got a feel for the puck early, however, as he was very active going behind the net to handle the puck on several Saint Mary's' dump ins.
The Huskies opened the story less than five minutes into the game with a shorthanded goal. Stephen Johnson (Moncton, NB) stripped an X-Men defender of the puck at the Huskies' blue line and was off on a breakaway, where he put a low shot blocker side past Mann-Dixon.
The X-Men played a solid period, putting several shots to the glove of Xavier Potvin (Austin, QC), but the second-year goalie was sharp and kept the score 1-0.
Saint Mary's went on the power play with about four minutes to go. They had a good cycle game going but scoring opportunities were limited by a couple of key shot blocks by the X-Men.
The first period came to an end 1-0 for the Huskies, and they led in shots 11-7.
They added three goals in the first five minutes of the second period to take a dominant lead. First was Adam Bateman (Caldon, ON), who got a stretch pass from Anthony Repaci (Toronto, ON) at the X-Men's blue line and made a nice deke to beat Mann-Dixon. Potvin also got an assist on the goal.
Then on the power play, Keith Getson (Bridgewater, NS) tipped a shot from Nicholas Welsh (Halifax, NS) into the top corner of the net.
After that, Conor McGlynn (Oakville, ON) added another goal. A cross ice pass on the breakout was out of his reach, but he skated onto the puck at the top of the circle in StFX's zone and put a low shot to the far post and into the net. Welsh and Bronson Beaton (Springhill, NS) got the assists.
At that point, StFX put Joseph Rayymakers (Chatham, ON) into the net.
Saint Mary's added another power play goal with 13 minutes to go to make it 5-0. It was a low shot from Logan DeNoble (Peterborough, ON) at the half wall that rang in short side. Repaci and Welsh assisted.
Fifteen seconds later, StFX responded, getting on the board. William Bower (Saint John, NB) grabbed a bouncing puck behind the net and brought it out front for a shot. From the battle, the puck popped to the far side of the crease where Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) flipped it high into the net. Matthew Graham (Bedford, NS) got the other assist.
In the second half of the period, the Huskies got on the board again. The puck went across the point from Sam Dunn (Hamilton Township, ON) to Jacob Friend (Bowmanville, ON). With lots of traffic in front of the net, Rayymakers was screened and Friend's shot went straight in. Joel Bishop (St. John's, NL) picked up an assist on the play.
The score at the end of the second period was 6-1 for the Huskies.
Three minutes into the final period, the X-Men scored. A pass from the point from Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) went to Adam Laishram (Ashburn, ON), who beat Potvin low glove side.
Midway through the period, the X-Men got in penalty trouble. On their second five on three opportunity, the Huskies scored. Dawson Theede (Brooklin, ON) put in the rebound after a shot from the high slot by Johnson. Welsh also assisted.
Still on the man advantage, they added another tally to make the score 8-2. McGlynn got his second goal of the game, assisted by Getson and Alexander Peters (Blyth, ON).
With eight minutes to go, pushing and near fighting after the whistle saw a handful of players get 10-minute misconducts.
In the late minutes of the game, Bower scored a power play goal for the X-Men, putting in a rebound in close. It was assisted by Adam Holwell (St. John's, NL) and Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON).
The Huskies scored again, this time Bishop had a nice move through the slot, then passed back across the crease for Noah Zilbert (Fredericton, NB) to tap in the puck.
With about a minute and a half left in the game, the power in the Dauphinee Centre went out, ending the competition early. The final score was 9-3 for the Huskies.
The Subway Player of the Game was the Huskies' goaltender, Xavier Potvin, while Nicholas Welsh and Conor McGlynn also got nods.
Both teams have one game left in the regular season. The Huskies go across town to play the Dalhousie Tigers, while the X-Men host the Acadia Axemen. Both games are on Feb. 8 at 7p.m.
Sarah Moore, SMU
Photo Nick Pearce