Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Men (15-11-2) snapped a two-game losing skid and skated to a 4-2 win over the UPEI Panthers (10-14-4) Saturday night in AUS action at the Charles V. Keating Centre.
Pancel's goal came 2:18 into the opening period as Regan Spears (Port Hood, NS) won a face-off draw and as the puck went right to Pancel's stick, he ripped a high shot that beat Panthers netminder Michael Giugovaz (Brampton, ON).
Kurt Etchegary (St. John's, NL) thought he scored the equalizer a few minutes later as he pounced on a rebound in front of the X net but Brandon Hope (Canton, MI) came up with a big glove save, grabbing the puck before it crossed the goal line.
Both teams generated decent scoring chances in the period with both goaltenders remaining sharp to keep their respective teams in the game.
Studnicka capitalized on a Panthers turnover at 8:58 while the X-Men were shorthanded. Giugovaz attempted to clear the puck over to his defender but was intercepted on a slow pass by Studnicka who tallied the unassisted marker.
Shots were even at nine apiece in the first period.
X-Men forward Kristoff Kontos scored the only goal of the second period. After a Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) shot that was saved by Giugovaz, Kontos banged in the rebound at 2:51. Matt Needham (Penticton, BC) also had a helper on the play.
Shots favored the Panthers at 14-5 in the middle frame though the Panthers couldn't' get on the board.
They finally cracked the goose egg at 6:08 of the third period. JC Campagna (Dublin, OH) let a shot go from inside the StFX blue line and Hope got most of it though the puck squirted loose and Sam Aulie (Lumsden, SK) was on the doorstep to tuck it home. Beni Berisha (Mississauga, ON) assisted on the goal as well.
Campagna and Aulie then combined with Nelson Armstrong (Peterborough, ON) less than three minutes later as Campagna scored at 8:51 to put the Panthers within one. He broke into the StFX zone, splitting the defense and let go a quick shot that beat Hope.
UPEI continued to press for the equalizer and pulled Giugovaz for the extra attacker with a minute to play but the home team X-Men were able to hang on for the win.
Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS), the Subway player of the game and first star, scored an empty netter with 11 seconds left on the clock, from Craig Duininck (St. Cloud, MN) to round out the X-Men scoring.
Campagna and Cianfrone garnered second and third star honors, respectively.
The Panthers held a 31-19 shot advantage in the game as Hope had a strong night in the X-Men net with 29 saves. Giugovaz recorded 15 saves in the losing effort for the Panthers.
With two regular season games left in the AUS schedules, final playoff positions will be on the line. UNB (23-2-3, 49 points) and Acadia (18,8,2, 38 points) have already clinched the first round byes in first and second place.
The X-Men currently sit in third place with 32 points, three ahead of Saint Mary's. UPEI are in fifth place with 24 points, having clinched a playoff spot. Moncton and Dalhousie will battle it out for the final playoff berth.
The Panthers take to the ice next on Friday, February 10th when the host Moncton. The X-Men will host Saint Mary's on Friday. Puck drop for both games is 7:00 pm.