Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Men have advanced to the Subway AUS semifinal series with a 4-1 victory over the Acadia Axemen Sunday night in front of a sold out crowd of over 1800 at the Charles V. Keating Centre.
Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) scored the game winner midway through the second period and Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) was a brick wall in the StFX net, turning aside 41 pucks.
After the X-Men lost a tough overtime game in Wolfville on Friday night, they were able to reset and take the series-deciding game.
"In playoffs you need a short memory as obviously it's a quick turnaround between games. With the one game elimination we just had to all dig into our systems and play our best," commented Studnicka after the game who was awarded Subway player of the game honours.
"This group has been to a lot of national championship so we know how to handle the playoff atmosphere. I thought we played well, came out even keel and handled ourselves well all game and came out on top."
After going 0-for-7 on the man advantage in Game 2, the X-Men turned things around and scored on their second power play opportunity of the game as veteran fifth year forward Adam Stevens (Bedford, NS) tallied at 11:40 to give StFX a 1-0 lead.
Matt Needham (Pentincton, BC) fed the puck to a streaking Stevens in the slot and he ripped one up high under the cross bar past Logan Flodell (Regina, SK).
The one goal held up after 20 minutes as StFX held a slight 12-10 shot advantage in the opening frame.
The Axemen tied it up just over five minutes into the second period at the tail end of a power play. Marchand made the initial pad save off a Garrett McFadden (Kincardine, ON) shot from the point but the rebound came right to the stick of Johnny Corneil (Lindsay, ON) who quickly deposited it into the StFX net.
StFX took a 3-1 lead with back-to-back goals scored less than two minutes apart from Sam Studnicka (Windsor, ON) and Matt Graham (Bedford, NS).
Studnicka picked up a loose puck in the slot area and spun around to shoot one past Flodell in what would hold up as the game-winner. Graham's goal came on a 3-on-2 play up ice with Adam Holwell (St. John's, NF) and Adam Laishram (Ashburn, ON).
The X-Men took the 3-1 lead into the dressing room after 40 minutes despite being outshot 20-6 in the period.
In a fast paced third period, the only goal came at the 14:03 mark when X-Men defenseman Cole MacDonald (Westaskiwin, AB) went end to end to score an unassisted tally and give the home squad some insurance with a 4-1 lead and six minutes to play.
Marchand continued his strong play in the StFX net as they were outshot 12-6 in the third period.
"He won AUS MVP last year for a reason, he is a hell of a goalie and keeps us in a lot of games," noted Studnicka of his teammate between the pipes. "There's no quit in his game ever."
Axemen defenseman Mark McNulty (Medicine Hat, AB) received Subway player of the game honours for his squad who sees their AUS season come to an end with the 2-1 quarterfinal series loss.
The X-Men now advance to play the second place Saint Mary's Huskies in the best 3-of-5 AUS semifinal series. UNB and UPEI will meet in the other semifinal, game schedules will be released by the AUS office on Monday.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information