ANTIGONISH – The men’s hockey team at StFX is getting ready for another run at a national championship.
The X-Men will start a best-of-five Atlantic University Sport (AUS) semifinal playoff series on Thursday against the Acadia Axemen, and have some Pictou County connections on its roster: forward Brent Turnbull grew up in Stellarton, Hopewell native Lane Cormier played the better part of four years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and second-year winger Regan Spears was a Junior A Crushers for three seasons.
Turnbull, who quite likely stayed up into the early hours of Thursday to watch his sister Blayre play for a hockey gold medal at the Winter Olympics, described this year’s team at StFX as being “blue collar. We have some skill up front, but our goal every night is to outwork the opposition.”
The X-men, who had been ranked No. 1 in the country before losing three of their last four games of the regular season, suffered a heartbreaking loss in the 2016 CIS championship game in Halifax, and a year ago, they bowed out in the semifinals at nationals.
Turnbull, a fourth-year player at X, said the goal is a simple one: winning the whole thing.
“To win a national championship,” he said. “I’ve been there three times so we’ve gotta win ’er this year.”
The Saint Mary’s Huskies will play the UNB Varsity Reds in the other AUS semifinal series.