X-Men score two quick goals in second period, hold on to beat Panthers 4-2

X-Men score two quick goals in second period, hold on to beat Panthers 4-2

By Thomas Becker

The St. FX X-Men are making a push in the standings, as they captured their third win in four games after edging the UPEI Panther 4-2 Saturday night. 

X-Men (10-11-3) Bryson Cianfrone and Regan Spears scored goals 14 seconds apart late in the second period to lead their team to victory.

Matthew Graham and Jeremiah Addison also found the back of the net, while goaltender Blade Mann-Dixon was solid between the pipes.

"That was a four-point swing for us in the standings," said Mann-Dixon, who was named the Subway Player of the Game. "It was a huge game. We came to play tonight. We played a full 60 minutes and it was good to get the win on the road. 

While the UPEI Panthers (8-12-3) were the better team in the first period, St. FX's Mann-Dixon may have been the most important player. After surrendering a goal at 3:33 on a Conor MacEachern shot from the point, the goaltender settled down and made 15 of his 26 saves in the frame.  

The X-Men tied it up ten minutes later after Adam Holwell's shot hit a player in front where Graham finished off the play.

Late in the period, UPEI's Nathan Yetman was hauled down after picking off a pass and beating the goaltender, which resulted in a penalty shot. On the ensuing play, Yetman tried to go five-hole, but was denied by Mann-Dixon.

"Coming off a long drive, you just have to go shot for shot and build off that," he said. 

Troy Lajeunesse put the Panthers back on top after sniping a shot in the top left corner at 8:49 of the second. However, that lead didn't last. With a little over five minutes remaining, the X-Men went to work. 

First it was Cianfrone who gathered a loose puck in the slot and fired a wrist shot past Simon Hofley at 14:46. Fourteen seconds later, Spears skated in from the neutral zone and from the right circle wired a shot past Hofley top left corner, as the visitors stormed in front 3-2.

That proved to be the game-winner, but they'd add to it with 26 seconds remaining in the third, as Addison deposited the power play marker. 

"We'd still like to get some more," Mann-Dixon said of the team's recent strong play. "We have some pretty important games coming up and we'll be ready for those."

The Panthers continue their three-game homestand on Jan. 24 when they welcome the Acadia Axemen for a 7 p.m. puck drop.

Photo Credit: Janessa Hogan