X hockey teams compete at national championships

Published on March 20, 2017

FREDERICTON The StFX men’s and women’s teams finished in fourth and seventh places respectively at the 2017 U SPORTS Hockey Championships this weekend. Both teams have Pictou County players.

Brent Turnbull of Stellarton plays for the X-Men, who lost 7-3 to the Acadia Axemen in the bronze medal game of the 2017 U SPORTS Cavendish Farms University Cup, held in Fredericton. Former Pictou County Weeks Crushers forward Regan Spears also plays for StFX.

The game was the ninth meeting of the season between the two teams, with StFX winning both the season series 4-1 and the best-of-five AUS semifinal 3-0.

StFX head coach Brad Peddle said the turn-around was not an easy one for his players, after falling to Saskatchewan 8-0 in Saturday’s semifinal.

“It is a different experience playing at 9:30 Sunday morning. Twelve hours ago, we were just getting around to our post-game meal,” said Peddle.

“It certainly wasn’t the start we wanted, and we talked about that between the first and second period, then we came out strong in the second. We got some bad bounces and they capitalized on our mistakes.”

On the women’s side in Napanee, Ont., New Glasgow’s Kara Power is the captain of the team, which lost in the first consolation semifinal 2-0 to the Queen’s Gaels to finish tied for seventh.

“It’s difficult to put pucks in nets at this level,” said St. FX head coach David Synishin, whose team managed just one goal in its two games at nationals. “It’s another level from what we’re used to playing – (Queen’s) did a good job of minimizing any odd-player rushes, and their goalie played well.”

Synishin said he was proud of the X-Women. “In all my years coaching, I don’t know if we’ve had a team that has earned every single win they (got),” he said. “This group worked extremely hard for every win, every two points, and they continued to work hard all weekend.”

StFX has appeared in five of the last eight national championships, earning a program-best silver medal in 2011.

Power, a fifth-year education student, had 35 points in the regular season.