Don’t write the Saint Mary’s Huskies off just yet.
The Huskies, a perennial contender and the 2010 national champion, shook off a sluggish 1-3 start to the Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey season last night, earning a tidy 5-3 victory over the nationally-eighth-ranked St. Francis Xavier X-Men at the Forum.
It was a win that was as important as it was impressive for a young team featuring eight freshmen and six sophomores.
“It’s definitely good for our egos and good for our confidence,” said Huskies rookie defenceman Michael D’Orazio, who scored what stood to be the game-winner on a two-man power play in the second period. “We played a great game.”
Returnees Brad Smith, Chris MacKinnon and Colby Pridham scored early before rookies D’Orazio and Josh Domingues stepped up with key goals later. Fellow freshmen Gerrad Grant and Jamie Doornbosch picked up two assists apiece and rookie stopper Anthony Peters made 26 saves.
Youthful contributions like last night’s are critical given all-Canadian losses of Andrew Hotham and David MacDonald on defence as well as captain Justin Munden and ex-NHLer Mike Danton up front.
“They’re first-year guys but they play like they’re in third or fourth year,” said Huskies fifth-year centre Cam Fergus. “We lost a couple of key players and those guys are coming in and doing the job for us so far. We just hope it continues.”