(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) The StFX X-Men evened up the Subway AUS best-of-five semifinal series with a 3-0 shutout victory over the Acadia Axemen Friday night in front of over 1,000 fans at the Charles V. Keating Centre.
All three X-Men goals came on special teams play as they had a pair of power play markers in the second period and a shorthanded goal in the third to seal up the Game 2 victory.
The teams remained scoreless after the first period of play as StFX held a slight 9-8 advantage in shots. Acadia was unable to connect on two power play opportunities in the opening period and StFX was 0-1 on the man-advantage.
Santino Centorame (Mississauga, Ont.) had the X-Men's best scoring chance five minutes into the second period when he rang one of the Axemen's goal post. StFX also had two power play opportunities early on in the period but were unable to capitalize.
They finally connected on the power play at 10:43 when Kristoff Kontos (Pentanguishene, Ont.) fed Jagger Dirk (Penticton, B.C.) the puck at the top of the face-off circle as he skated in and unleashed a shot that beat Robert Steeves (St. Joseph-de-Kent, N.B.) in the Axemen net. Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, N.S.) also assisted on the play.
The X-Men increased their lead to 2-0 off another power play goal late in the second period with only 33 seconds left in the frame. Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, Ont.) fed a cross-ice pass to Cole MacDonald (Wetaskawin, Alta.) who whipped a quick shot into the Acadia net. Centorame also picked up a helper on the play.
Shots were again close in the second period, 8-7 in favour of StFX, as they took the 2-0 lead into the locker room after 40 minutes.
Both teams came out battling in the third period as the Axemen were looking to get on the board and get back into the game and the X-Men were looking to hold onto their lead.
Sam Studnicka (Windsor, Ont.) helped the X-Men cause when he scored at the 9:21 mark while shorthanded. Anthony Difruscia (Thorold, Ont.) picked off an Acadia puck while they were set up on the power play and sent it to a streaking Studnicka who broke in on alone Steeves. He was able to roof the puck over the glove of Steeves while being taken down by an Axemen defenseman.
The 3-0 lead held up through the remainder of the period as the X-Men evened up the best-of-five semifinal series at 1-1.
StFX defenceman Jagger Dirk received Subway player of the game honours for the X-Men, while Axemen forward Sam Fioretti (Calgary, Alta.) received the same distinction for his squad.
Final shots in the game favoured the X-Men at 28-25 as Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) picked up the shutout victory in the StFX net with 23 saves. Steeves had 25 saves in the losing effort for Acadia.
The series now shifts to Acadia for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Monday, February 25th and 26th. Game time is 7 p.m. on both evenings in Wolfville, N.S. Game 5, if necessary, will be back at StFX on Thursday, March 1.
Source: StFX Sports Information