(ANTIGONISH, NS) In a battle of the top two teams in the AUS, the StFX X-Men(9-1-2), ranked No. 6 in the CIS, skated to a 6-5 win over the No. 2 UNB Varsity Reds(8-2-2), Friday night.
With the win, the X-Men moved into sole possession of top spot in the conference.
The visiting Varsity Reds opened the scoring at the 1:24 mark of the first period, when Chris Caissy(Campbellton, NB) re-directed a Matt Petgrave(Brampton, ON) point shot over the shoulder of X-Men goaltender Drew Owsley(Lethbridge, AB). It was the first shot on goal of the game for UNB.
Less than three minutes later the X-Men knotted the contest on a marker from Adam Stevens(Bedford, NS).
At 7:51, the X-Men took their first lead. Brad Cuzner(Glace Bay, NS) beat UNB netminder Alex Dubeau(Mascouche, QC) from the slot with a low screen shot.
The X-Men doubled their advantage when they capitalized on a UNB turnover ten minutes later. Nathan Pancel(Ottawa, ON) took the set-up from his fellow freshman line-mates, Michael Clarke(Peterborough, ON) and Holden Cook(Oshawa, ON).
After giving up three goals on eight shots, Alex Dubeau was replaced by Etienne Marcoux in the VReds net to start the second period.
Just 32 seconds in, on the power play, Rob Mignardi(Richmond Hill, ON) scored unassisted. He made some great moves in the X-Men zone, after picking up the puck off a turnover, before putting a deke on Owsley and depositing a backhander into an open net.
At 11:05, Mignardi started another scoring play, rushing down the right wing before challenging with a close-in shot that trickled between the pads of Owsley. The puck sat on the X-Men goal line before Varsity Reds captain Cam Critchlow(Summerside, PEI) poked in the shorthanded goal.
The X-Men regained their two-goal lead with a pair of power-play goals - just 2:24 apart - in the final minutes of the second period.
Early in the third, the Varsity Reds cut the deficit when Cam Brace(Markham, ON) roofed a sharp-angle shot over the shoulder of Owsley.
X would regain the two goal lead before Francis Beauvillier(St. Hyacinthe, QC) scored to make it 6-5.
The Subway player of the game and first star was Stevens, with Locke and Brace collecting second and third star selections, respectively.
The X-Men outshot the VReds 27-22.
Both teams will be back in action Saturday night, with the X-Men hosting the UPEI Panthers, while the Varsity Reds will face the Dalhousie Tigers in Halifax at 7PM.
BY - ST. FX ATHLETICS PHOTO CREDIT - DALTON KING