Antigonish, NS – The Saint Mary's Huskies shut out the StFX X-Men 4-0 Wednesday night at the Charles V. Keating Centre. Veteran Huskies forward Stephen Johnson (Moncton, NB) netted a hat trick in the victory.
The game started after a near 45-minute delay due to an unexpected power outage on the StFX campus.
The teams were held scoreless in the first period. Saint Mary's had a pair of power play opportunities but could not mount any significant scoring chances.
StFX's best chances came on a dinged post by Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) and a shot by Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) while shorthanded off a nice feed from Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS).
Shots favoured the visiting Huskies 9-6 in the opening period.
The X-Men had an early power play chance in the second period but were held off by the Huskies. The teams exchanged penalties but the first goal of the game came while on even strength from Huskies forward Johnson.
Mitchell Balmas (Sydney, NS) skated from behind the StFX net and passed across the crease to Johnson in the far slot and he tucked the puck past Blade Mann-Dixon (Antigonish, NS). The goal came at 13:39.
The X-Men had a chance to tie it up on a shorthanded chance from Adam Laishram (Ashburn, ON) and Will Bower (Saint John, NB) but Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, QC) was sharp in the Huskies net.
Mann-Dixon was equally sharp at the other end of the ice, turning aside a Sam Dunn (Hamilton Township, ON) shot from the point and another good scoring chance late in the period as Balmas tried to connect with Anthony Repachi (Toronto, ON).
The period closed out with the one-goal Huskies lead as shot favoured SMU at 9-7.
The third period saw more minor penalties continue from both squads as special teams played a big role in the game.
Lane Cormier (Hopewell, NS) had a shorthanded chance for the X-Men and Cole MacDonald (Westaskiwin, AB) rang one from the cross bar while on the man advantage midway through the period.
The X-Men continued to pressure for the equalizer throughout the third period but it was the Huskies who capitalized when Johnson scored a pair of power play goals as the X-Men found themselves in penalty trouble.
Both goals were set up by Balmas. At 11:59 he fed the puck from the side of the X net to an open Johnson in front who deposited it into the open mesh. His third goal came two and a half minutes later as he pounced on a Balmas rebound as the Huskies were on another man advantage.
Saint Mary's closed out the game with an empty net goal by Jonathan Hampton (Richmond Hill, ON) with 20 seconds left in the game.
Finals shots favoured the Huskies at 29-25.
Johnson was the first star and Subway player of the game, while Balmas was the second star. X-Men forward Laishram picked up third star honours.
Next on the AUS schedule sees the X-Men travel to Wolfville to take on Acadia Friday night, November 1st. The Huskies will host the same StFX squad on Saturday night in Halifax. Puck drop is 7:00 pm.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information