X-Men hungry for national hockey title after tough loss last year

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X-Men hungry for national hockey title after tough loss last year

The St. FX men's hockey team is on a playoff winning streak and has arrived in Fredericton for the University Cup, where they will pursue a national championship for the third year in a row.

"The focus now quickly turns to a national championship, something we got painfully close to last year when we lost a tough one in the final," said X-Men coach Brad Peddle. "Obviously, our first game is all we are worried about right now."

As the St. Francis Xavier University players were throwing their bags on the team bus they had only one thing on their mind.

"We've all bought in to what we need to do," said second-year forward Mark Tremaine, from Dartmouth.

"Early in the season we tried playing a skill game but that didn't really work for us and now we know our identity. As long as we stick to that we're going to give ourselves a pretty good chance to win."

Big win streak

The X-Men are on a roll, winning all seven of their playoff games to date on their way to a second straight Atlantic University Sport title last week.

Goaltender Chase Marchand of Hammonds Plains, the cousin of Boston Bruins star Brad Marchand, has been in goal for all the playoff wins.

The X-Men will play McGill in their opening University Cup game Friday night.

The other Nova Scotia team at the University Cup, the Acadia Axemen, will play the University of Alberta in the opening game of the tournament on Thursday.

84-year-old priest sends team good vibes

When the X-Men won the Atlantic league title last week, one of their biggest supporters got the honour of carrying the trophy into the team dressing room.

That fan is 84-year-old retired priest Stanley MacDonald, or Father Stanley, as he's known on campus. He played hockey for St. FX back in the early 1950s. He knows the team will have a legion of followers cheering them on.

"Those guys just don't give up and they've got thousands of supporters around the globe," said MacDonald.

"We're all sending positive energy their way, energy that will join with their energy to make them a powerful team."

Just before the St. FX bus pulled out from their home arena, MacDonald hopped on board to wish the team good luck and lead them in one final spirited round of, "Go X go!"