Axemen open AUS semifinals with 4-2 over StFX

DiGiacinto with 3 points in Acadia win

ANTIGONISH, NS – In a battle of U SPORTS ranked teams, the No. 3 StFX X-Men fell 4-2 to the No. 7 Acadia Axemen Thursday evening in front of over 800 hometown fans as the Axemen earned a key victory on the road in Game 1 of the Subway AUS semifinal best-of-five series at the Charles V. Keating Centre. 

All indications are that the two teams are in for a close, hard-fought semifinal series. The puck hadn’t even dropped on Game 1 as players from both teams exchanged words and minor scuffles at the start of warm-up.   

Freshman X-Men defenseman Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) opened the scoring in the game with a power play marker at 2:47 off a shot from the point that looked to have deflected past netminder Robert Steeves (St. Joseph-de-Kent, NB) off one of his own defenseman. Michael Clarke (London, ON) and Kristoff Kontos (Pentanguishene, ON) had the helpers on the play for the X-Men. 

The Axemen nearly tied it up minutes later as Kyle Farrell (Howie Corner, NS) streaked in alone on the X net but was stopped by AUS most valuable player Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS). 

The visitors did tie it up at the 7:49 mark when Sam Fiorertti (Calgary, AB) shoveled in a rebound past Marchand after the initial save was made on a Liam Maaskant (Clinton, ON) shot. AUS second team all-star Boston Leier (Saskatoon, SK) also assisted on the play. 

The score remained tied at 1-1 at the conclusion of the first period, despite an X-Men power play late in the frame that generated several shots on net, but Steeves held his ground in the Axemen net. 

Shots favored the X-Men 12-10 in the opening period. 

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Acadia Axemen vs StFX X-Men AUS Semi-finals Preview

Best of 5 series opens up Thursday in Antigonish

The Acadia Axemen (18-10-2) will face the StFX X-Men (22-4-4) in the AUS men’s hockey semi-final series starting Thursday at 7pm in Antigonish. Game 2 will go Friday again in Antigonish, before the series switches to Wolfville for Game 3 on Sunday night. Game 4, if necessary is slated for Monday night again in Wolfville. Tickets are now on sale at the Acadia Box office for the game(s). Game 5, if necessary, would be back in Antigonish.

The Axemen come into the series on a hot streak, after finishing the regular season with 3 straight wins, including victories over UNB, Saint Mary’s, and Moncton, before sweeping the Dalhousie Tigers in 2 games in the AUS quarterfinals best of 3 series.

Axemen head coach Darren Burns said the following looking forward to the series with the X-Men, ” We are just trying to focus on improving our game every night. Our series versus Dal was a very hard fought battle. We were fortunate to be able to get some additional games in the playoffs before this series to help us to prepare. Anytime you are playing university hockey this time of the year is very exciting.”

StFX, along with UNB earned first round bye’s for finishing atop the AUS conference; that will mark a 12 day layoff for StFX since their last game in February 10th, a 5-0 loss to UPEI. February has not been kind to the X-Men as they lost 7-3 to Dal, 5-2 to UNB, and as mentioned, 5-0 to UPEI. They did defeat Moncton 5-2 amidst the losses.

Acadia has had trouble with the X-Men this season, as the X-Men won 3 of the 5 games in regulation time, and another in a Shootout to open the season. Acadia took the matchup on November 3rd , in overtime 6-5 in a game that saw emotions run over with 212 combined penalty minutes and player suspensions.

There’s no doubt that this series will be a physical battle and emotions will run high, but it will be key for the teams to keep their emotions in check and stay out of penalty trouble as both teams are dangerous on the man advantage; Acadia converting 25.5% of their powerplays and StFX 25.7%.

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Axemen sweep series vs Tigers with 4-2 win

Acadia scores 4 in 3rd period in comeback victory

HALIFAX, N.S. – In game two of the best of three playoff series, the Dalhousie Tigers faced elimination at home against the Acadia Axemen. Despite getting outplayed in the first two periods, the Axemen put together a tremendous final frame with 4 unanswered goals to claim the 4-2 win, and 2-0 series victory. 

In a hard hitting, physical start to the game, the Axemen tested Corbin Boes (Saskatoon, SK) with lots of shots early, but no threatening chances. 

The Tigers looked fantastic on the penalty kill early, only giving up three shots on two opportunities. Penalties were becoming an issue for the Tigers however, spending six of the first twelve minutes of the game a man short.  

With five minutes to go in the period, Tigers got their first power play opportunity, and made it count. After a scrum along the boards, Miles McGurty (Hoboken, NJ) sent a beautiful no-look pass across the slot to Jackson Playfair (Fort St. James, BC) that had Robert Steeves (St. Joseph-de-Kent, NB) going the wrong way. Playfair sent a pass in front and Alex Pawelczyk (Sterling Heights, MI) had a wide open net for the tap-in to open up the scoring for the Tigers.  

After a last minute flurry of shots from the Axemen, the score remained 1-0 for the Tigers heading into the first intermission.  

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Axemen win game 1 of quaterfinal series vs Dalhousie

Leier notches 2 as Axemen win 5-2

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The U SPORTS No. 8 ranked Acadia Axemen gave the home crowd a Valentine’s Day to remember with a 5-2 win over the Dalhousie Tigers to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three AUS quarterfinal series.

Acadia dominated play for the majority of the game, including a strong performance from goaltender Robert Steeves and two goals from Subway First Star of the Night, Boston Leier.

Although the Tigers struck first, the Axemen scored two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead heading into the second.

Dalhousie opened the scoring, with 5:27 remaining in the first period, when defenseman, and second star of the night, Colton Heffley redirected a shot in front over the glove of the Axemen goaltender.

The Tigers lead was short-lived, as Axemen forward Boston Leier tied the game roughly three minutes later.

Leier zipped behind the net Dalhousie net and picked up a rebound in front and buried it past the sprawling Tigers goaltender Corbin Boes. Read more ›

Axemen add recruit defenceman Ross MacDougall

Current Screaming Eagle to join Axemen next season

The Acadia Axemen are happy to announce the commitment of Ross MacDougall to the program. Ross currently plays with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the QMJHL; the defenceman is a native of St. Stephen, New Brunswick & has 19 points in 29 games.

Previous to joining Cape Breton last season, he played 2 1/2 seasons with the Quebec Remparts. Last season MacDougall put up his best offensive numbers, splitting the season with Quebec & the Eagles, with 39 points in 63 games, adding 6 points in 11 playoff games for Cape Breton.

Acadia head coach Darren Burns on adding MacDougall to the program, “We are very excited to be bringing in Ross for next season. He is an extremely high character kid who has a strong offensive upside, his skating abilities will be a big asset to our d-corps.”

MacDougall joins fellow recruits Lochlan Morrison & Jack Flaman, along with Jackson Houck who has red-shirted this season after playing pro last year. Acadia will graduate up to 10 players from their current roster, so Coach Burns and his coaching staff will have more work to do, but adding a player of MacDougall’s pedigree is a major addition.

Axemen win 3-2 in OT over UdeM, secure 3rd place

Harper scores OT winner, wins AUS scoring race

The Acadia Axemen (18-10-2) finished out the 2017-18 men’s hockey regular season with a matchup against the U de M Aigles Bleus on Saturday night in Moncton. After defeating USports #2 Ranked UNB last Saturday night, and #6 ranked SMU Huskies on Friday night, the Axemen had put their destiny in their own hands to earn third place in the AUS standings. All that stood in the way was a victory over the Aigles Bleus (3-25-2).

The Aigles Bleus came into the game with nothing to lose, already out of the playoff scene, and they played with their heart on their sleeve giving the Axemen all they could handle. It took extra time but the Axemen prevailed with a 3-2 overtime victory to secure the 3rd place finish in the ultra competitive AUS conference.

U de M got on the board first when Carl Marois scored at 7:19 of the opening period, putting the puck past Axemen netminder Robert Steeves, but the Axemen answered back when 4th year defenceman Matt Pufahl took a pass from Remy Giftopoulos and beat Moncton goalie Brandon Thibeau to tie the game at 1 at 10:40 of the opening period.

Acadia took a 2-1 lead in the 2nd period when Cristiano DiGiacinto scored his first goal in an Axemen uniform, after joining the team in January. Assists went to Chance Braid & Geoff Schemitsch on the goal at 5:03. But the Axemen lead was short lived as Carl Marois scored his second of the night, this time on the powerplay to tie the game at two. Read more ›

Axemen vying for 3rd, pick up important win vs SMU

Leier nets a pair, Steeves earns shutout

Wolfville, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen (17-10-2) ended their regular season on home ice on a high note, defeating the U SPORTS No. 6 ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies 3-0. Axemen goaltender and Subway First Star of the Night Robert Steeves turned aside all 24 shots by the Huskies for his second shutout of the season.

“TheGuys played awesome tonight. They let me see the puck. I let go of some funny rebounds and the guys were able to clear it and take the guys sticks. It was a great win,” Steeves said following the win.

“We knew it was a big one with third place on the line. We’ve been through a bit of a slump and the win against UNB was a stepping stone and I thought we played a hell of a game tonight.,” added Steeves.

Neither team was able to score in the first. Despite chances from both sides, the game remained a scoreless affair heading into the second period.

By the end of the first period, the Axemen held an 8-7 shot lead.

Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves made a series of impressive saves, including a diving glove, save, on the Huskies second power-play in the opening period to keep his team in the game. Read more ›

Axemen end losing streak with OT win over No. 2 UNB

Farrell nets 2 in Acadia victory

Wolfville, N.S. – The U SPORTS No. 8 ranked Acadia Axemen (16-10-2) snapped a five-game losing streak in dramatic fashion, downing the No. 2 UNB Varsity Reds (22-2-4) 4-3 in overtime. Kyle Farrell notched two goals in the win, while Remy Giftopoulos scored the OT winner 1:30 into the extra frame.

The snapped losing streak of five games was the longest since the 2007-2008 season.

Acadia outplayed UNB in the first and it was reflected on the scoreboard, as the Axemen took a 1-0 lead into the second.

The Axemen opened the scoring early when forward Kyle Farrell was sprung on a partial breakaway, where he lifted a backhand past glove of the UNB goaltender Alex Dubeau.

Despite losing their lead in the second, thanks to two goals from UNB, Kyle Farrell added his second of the game to tie the game at 2-2 heading into the third.

UNB answered back early in the second, with a power-play marker from defenseman Randy Gazzola, who came in tight on the Axemen goalie and tucked a backhand into the bottom left corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1. Read more ›

Acadia to host 2020 U SPORTS University Cup

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Acadia University’s Department of Athletics is pleased to announce that Acadia University has been awarded hosting rights for the 2020 U SPORTS Men’s Hockey National Championship, referred to as the University Cup.

“The bids that we received were excellent which demonstrates a strong interest in hosting a U SPORTS national championship,” said Graham Brown, President and CEO of U SPORTS. “It is encouraging to see our member institutions developing creative ways to host national championships offering the best experience for our student-athletes as well as for Canadian sports fans, and guaranteeing the best attendance on site. This is promising for the future of U SPORTS and all of its members.”

This will be the fourth consecutive U SPORTS National Championship to be hosted in the coming seasons, beginning with the 2016 women’s soccer championship, this year’s Final 8 men’s basketball championship, this coming fall’s 2018 women’s rugby championship, and now the 2020 University Cup.

Acadia University will partner with Sports Entertainment Atlantic to stage the University Cup in 2020, with the Acadia Axemen serving as hosts.

S|E|A is no stranger to attracting U SPORTS championship events to Nova Scotia’s capital. The Halifax-based company is partnering with Acadia University for this year’s Men’s Final 8 after working with Dalhousie on last season’s event at the Scotiabank Centre.

The Axemen, who captured two national championships during the 1990s and have been a perennial Top 10 program over the last two decades, will host the men’s hockey national championship for the first time. Acadia’s Executive Director of Athletics, Kevin Dickie, said that the right to host the University Cup is a reflection on the program’s success. Read more ›

Axemen struggles continue with loss to Panthers

UPEI downs Acadia 6-3

Wolfville, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen (15-10-2) continued their cold streak, dropping their fifth straight game in regulation, this time 6-3 to the UPEI Panthers (9-17-1). Despite an attempted comeback late in the game, the Axemen could not make up for their poor first period, which saw them give up three goals.

The Panthers took advantage of sloppy play by the Axemen and jumped out to a dominating 3-0 lead by the end of the first period.

UPEI scored their first when Cody Payne threw a pass out to forward Gabe Guertler who tipped it through the legs of the Axemen goalie Robert Steeves to make it 1-0.

Panthers forward Marcus Power added one 11 seconds into a power-play, taking the rebound off the boards and burying it low blocker side on Steeves.

Subway First Star of the Night, Darcy Ashley snuck in on the left side of the offensive zone and netted a pass in tight from Beni Berisha to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead into the intermission.

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