WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The USports No. 3 StFX X-Men managed to stay alive in the best-of-five series on Monday night in Wolfville, with a 4-3 win over the No. 7 Acadia Axemen to tie the series at 2-2.
AUS Most Valuable Player Chase Marchand deservedly received Subway First Star of the Night honours on the night for another strong performance to help his team win.
An evenly matched opening period between the two teams showed on the scoreboard, with the teams tied at 1-1 heading into the second.
The X-Men opened the scoring 5:56 into the first frame, on a goal by StFX defenseman Daniel Robertson, who came in off the blue-line and ripped a shot into the top right corner of the Axemen net.
By the end of the period, the X-Men led 11-10 in shots.
The second period mirrored the first. StFX capitalized on an untimely change by an Axemen defenseman due to an equipment issue, with StFX forward Matt Needham scoring on a scramble in front of the Acadia net to make it 2-1.
Less than four minutes later, the Axemen responded with a shorthanded goal from defenseman Tyler Ferry.
On a 2-on-1 break with forward Sam Fioretti, Ferry kept the puck and fired it into the top left corner of the net to tie the game at two.
With the X-Men holding a 23-21 shots on goal advantage after two periods, Acadia took their first lead of the game early in the final period, off a goal from forward and second star of the night, Sam Fioretti.
The X-Men scored with 1:37 left in the period on a power-play from a low wrist shot in tight by forward and third star of the night, Mark Tremaine, for the game-winner.
Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves turned aside 26 of 30 shots, while his StFX's Chase Marchand stopped 28 of 31 shots.
The series now returns back to Antigonish for the series-deciding Game 5 on Thursday, Mar. 1.
The winner will advance to the Subway AUS Men's Hockey Championship best-of-three final series. AUS receives three berths in the 2018 U SPORTS University Cup being hosted by UNB March 15-18.
With the UNB Varsity Reds eliminating the Saint Mary's in three straight wins in the other semi-final series, the Huskies will face off with the loser of this series in a best-of-three consolation final will be played to determine which team receives the third national berth. Dates are TBA for this series.
Submitted by Joshua Foote