Game recap by: Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – In their final home game of the first half of the season, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the StFX X-Men at the Halifax Forum. The Tigers got plenty of opportunities, but a strong power play unit, and a stellar performance by their goaltender saw StFX take this one 2-0.
The X-men were able to strike early with a power play opportunity. With a textbook breakout from their own zone, the X-Men caught a Tigers defender out of position and came in on a 2-on-1. Michael Clarke (London, ON) carried the puck in wide and attracted the defender, he sent a great pass across the slot to Holden Cook (Oshawa, ON) who had plenty of time to pick his spot and burry the shot.
The best chance for the Tigers in the period came off a great neutral-zone pass from Jackson Playfair (Fort St.-James, BC) to Kelly Bent (Halifax, NS) who got behind the StFX defenders. Bent walked in and made a move followed by a low shot, but Brandon Hope (Canton, MI) was able to get the pads down fast enough to keep it out.
The X-Men had another great chance late in the period when Brent Turnbull (Stellarton, NS) intercepted a clearing attempt at the point and fired a hard pass in front that was redirected by Matt Needham (Penticton, BC), but Corbin Boes (Saskatoon, SK) was able to slide across the crease to make the stop.
The first period came to end an with the lone goal giving StFX the 1-0 lead.
The X-Men began the period on the power play, but the Tigers showed strong positioning and were able to kill it off with no threatening chances allowed.
There was a lot of back-and-forth action early in the second period with neither team able to establish control of the puck for extended periods of play.
The Tigers put a long stretch of pressure on the X-Men midway through the period, holding the puck in the attacking end. Only one real chance was generated, however, coming off of a scramble in front with Chandler Yakimowicz (Kingston, ON) jamming it at the goal, but Hope was able to hold his ground and keep the X-Men ahead.
The Tigers ended the period on a strong possession deep in the attacking zone. The Tigers forced a turnover at the blue line and had three attackers in the slot with plenty of ice. The pass came across the slot to Andrew Shewfelt (Dartmouth, NS), but his quick one-timer sailed just high, over the net.
Surviving that final scare, StFX still held their 1-0 lead heading into the third
The X-Men found themselves on the power play again early in the third period, and it took them just 15 seconds to find the back of the net. A pass from the point found Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) along the half boards, and he was able to fire a bullet over the blocker-side shoulder of Boes to pop the water bottle and put StFX up 2-0.
The X-Men were threatening for another one a few minutes later when a scramble in front had bodies on the ice in front of the crease. The puck squeaked out to Matt Needham, but he was robbed by the blocker of Boes sliding back across the crease.
The Tigers had a good chance with time ticking away on them, Alex Pawelczyk (Detroit, MI) threaded a pass across the crease to Playfair, but his shot was stopped by a sliding Brandon Hope.
With just over two minutes to go, the Tigers elected to empty their net for the extra attacker. The Tigers controlled the puck well, but the X-Men put heavy traffic in front of the net and made it difficult to get a shot through.
Time ran out on the Tigers, as they were unable to solve Brandon Hope, who came away with 39 saves, the shutout, and the Subway Player of the Game award.
The Tigers will play their final game before the break on Friday when they travel to Moncton. StFX will also wrap up their first half against Moncton when they travel on Saturday.