It’s the championship series nobody expected, but the Saint Mary’s Huskies are getting a crack at their second straight Atlantic University Sport banner.

The Huskies will face the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in the best-of-five men’s hockey final starting Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Forum. Few expected either team to be there, especially the X-Men, who finished fifth overall and knocked off the defending national champion New Brunswick Varsity Reds in the semifinals.

 

The Huskies, meanwhile, finished third overall and needed to upset the
second-place Acadia Axemen in their semifinal.


Although the Huskies are favoured against the upstart X-Men, they’re
facing a hot goalie in Lantz’s Bryan Gillis and a team that has a ton of
momentum after sweeping a 27-1 team that were once considered
unbeatable.


“I never thought they would have won,” said Huskies defenceman Andrew
Hotham, echoing the thoughts of just about everybody in the country
regarding the X-UNB series.


“We watched (Game 3) and X played extremely well. Their goalie’s
standing on his head, they’re playing a great team system. It’s going to
be a good test. We have to bring our A game or we’re going to fall just
like UNB did.”


Saint Mary’s lost Game 1 to Acadia before earning three straight
victories to advance. The knockout blow came on Wednesday, when the
Huskies dominated in a 9-2 triumph that featured five power-play goals.


It’s been an up-and-down year for the defending champs, but the Huskies
feel they’re just hitting their stride, even without injured second-line
forwards Cam Fergus and Kyle Doucet.


“We’ve had a rough couple of spurts but the guys have come together,”
Hotham said. “We’re buying into the team system and this is the key time
to be playing our best. Hopefully we keep doing it.”

PLEASE NOTE: The date of the Game 1 appeared incorrectly in Friday’s
edition of Metro Halifax. It will be played on Sunday at 7 p.m. at the
Forum.