Axemen win 3-2, Advance to AUS Finals

Despite Gritty Effort, Moncton Eliminated By Acadia

1969293_675665932480243_809091411_nThe Moncton Aigles Bleus did everything in their power to stave off elimination Sunday night.  Unfortunately for the plucky team from Moncton and their fans, it wasn’t enough.

The Acadia Axemen wrapped up their AUS semi-final series with a 3-2 win in Moncton Sunday, rebounding from a 4-1 setback the night before.  They reversed a trend that had been set in the series…Moncton had scored first in the previous three games.  The Axemen were able to rally back in Games 1 and 2 with 5-2 and 6-5 wins in those two games, but were drubbed 4-1 in Game 3.

This time, Mike Cazzola got the festivities rolling with a vicious wrist shot that beat Moncton goalie Adrien Lemay just 11 seconds into the contest.  The lead gave the Axemen the edge, as less than five minutes later, defenseman Chris Owens beat Lemay in almost the same spot.  The Moncton crowd fell silent and it looked as though the onslaught would begin.

But Moncton rallied, and showed everyone why they were not to be written off in this contest just yet.  Les Aigles Bleus scored on a penalty that was called on Acadia forward Liam Heelis to narrow the gap to 2-1 before the end of the first period.  The goal was credited to Alex Emond.

In the second, Moncton came out with a vengeance, trying to employ the same suffocating tactics they employed in Game 3.  It paid off as Moncton tied the game on somewhat of a bizarre play.  Acadia goalie Evan Mosher thwarted a wraparound attempt but the puck squirted free and Moncton forward Luc Williams buried the disc in the Acadia net before Mosher could find it.  It squared the affair, the crowd was rocking, and the general expectation was that Moncton would force a Game 5 in Wolfville.

Acadia had other plans.  Dustin Ekelman of the Axemen found himself alone in front of the Moncton net on an Acadia power.  He pounced on a rebound of a Mike Cazzola shot and made no mistake, burying the puck before Lemay could react. The goal gave the Axemen a 3-2 lead.  It was a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Moncton clawed at the Axemen in the third, but Acadia would not break.  They returned the favor of stifling defensive play, and Moncton was unable to get anything going.  Finally, with the Moncton net empty and Moncton with the sixth attacker, they made one last ditch effort to tie the game…a shot, a huge shot block by an Acadia forward, and the time ran out on the Moncton Aigles Bleus hockey season.

Acadia’s Evan Mosher made 18 saves on 20 shots for the win.  Moncton’s Adrien Lemay held his team in the game in a valiant effort, making 25 saves on 28 shots.

The Acadia Axemen now shift their attention to the Saint Mary’s Huskies, who completed their upset of the first place UNB Varsity Reds with a 1-0 win in Halifax, also on Sunday evening.  The Huskies are riding a hot goaltender right now, and this upcoming series has the potential to be an absolute barn burner for both teams’ fans.  Stay tuned for dates of the upcoming games!  If you can’t make it to any of the games, you can still follow all the action by tuning into, listen to Len Hawley’s expert play by play on AVR (97.7 FM), or by following along on Twitter at @axemenhockey and @OpeningFaceoff!