HALIFAX – The StFX X-Men (#3) scored six unanswered goals in a convincing 6-2 win over the Alberta Golden Bears (#6) in the second quarter-final game of the 2016 CIS University Cup Thursday night at Scotiabank Centre.
CHAMPIONSHIP WEBSITE: www.universitycup.ca
In the first period, the Golden Bears garnered the first scoring opportunities, but X-Men goaltender Drew Owsley made back-to-back saves on Jordan Hickmott and Tanner Clarkson.
Less than six minutes in, the X-Men got their initial opportunity to get on the board, but Mark Tremaine ripped a blast wide of the net behind Golden Bear goaltender Luke Siemens, after he got behind the defense and broke down the left wing.
At 15:42, Alberta jumped into the lead, when Jamie Crooks broke in alone and bested Owsley five-hole, with Thomas Carr and Jordan Rowley notching the helpers.
The Golden Bears doubled their edge, at 17:53, when Riley Kieser deflected a Rowley point-shot behind Owsley.
Alberta outshot StFX 16-9 in the first period.
"The first period wasn't what we wanted," X-Men head coach Brad Peddle said, after the game.
Early in the second period, at 1:26, Zack MacQueen sliced the deficit in half, when he took a Steven Kuhn pass in the slot and beat Siemens. Mark Tremaine collected the other helper.
The X-Men notched the equalizer, at 13:19, when Michael Clarke found the back of the net, on the power play, from just inside the blue line. Holden Cook and Nathan Chiarlitti tallied the assists.
At 18:04, Adam Stevens, with his first of two, grabbed a feed from AUS MVP Eric Locke, and made no mistake behind Siemens.
"He made great a play to me, and I was wide open," Stevens said.
StFX outshot Alberta 12-11 in the middle stanza.
"As the game went on, we were able to get our fore-check going, pressure their D and cause some turnovers," Peddle said.
Early in the third period, at 3:59, Clarke completed a nifty tic-tac-toe passing play, from Cook and Locke on the power play, to make it 4-2 for the X-Men.
StFX extended to a 5-2 margin, at 8:56, when Locke took advantage of a Golden Bear miscue, collecting the puck and feeding a soft back-hand pass to Stevens, who roofed a blast under the cross bar.
The Golden Bears continued to fight back, including on a 6-on-4 advantage, after pulling their goaltender, but Owsley and the X-Men defense held the fort.
"It didn't go exactly as we would have hoped," Serge Lajoie, Golden Bear head coach, said.
He added his team got its opportunities, especially to take a 3-0 edge in the early part , but they could not come through.
"We gave too many chances to a quality team, and their special teams were special; ours weren't," Lajoie said.
With 30 seconds left in regulation, Clarke completed the hat-trick effort, when he scored into an empty net. The marker was unassisted.
Owsley made 43 saves for the win, while Siemens turned aside 21 shots in the loss.
Rowley was player of the game for the Golden Bears, while Stevens garnered the honour for the X-Men.
With the win, the X-Men advance to the semi-finals, at noon ADT Saturday, against the Saskatchewan Huskies, while the Golden Bears have been eliminated from further tournament action.
Official Boxscore: http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mice/2016/championship