Acadia Axemen Top UPEI Panthers 5-2

Acadia makes it 4 wins in a row, 1st place in AUS

Athletics - AAs the clocks fell back an hour for daylight savings time overnight, the Acadia Axemen earned their extra hour of sleep! The CIS ranked #2 Axemen knocked off the UPEI Panthers by a 5-2 score on Saturday night, after a 10-4 win over St. Thomas on Friday night.

Brandon Glover got the start for Acadia, and was great in goal, turning UPEI (3-4-1) aside time and time again on some great chances. In fact, UPEI outshot Acadia by a 34-26 margin as Glover turned aside 32 of 34 shots.

The Axemen (7-1) opened the scoring on the powerplay in the first period. With UPEI’s Darcy Ashley in the box, Off the face-off, Acadia’s Zach Franko drew the puck back to Travis Gibbons at the point; Gibbons shot through traffic, and the puck found its way past UPEI goaltender Matt Mahalak.

Seconds later UPEI’s Brock Beukeboom was assessed a checking from behind minor and a 10 minute misconduct. UPEI successfully killed the penalty but it wasn’t the last we’d hear from Beukeboom.

The score remained 1-0 into the 1st intermission and through the early second period, with both teams trading great chances, but both Glover and Mahalak stood tall in goal for their respective teams.

But at 14:17 of the second period, Zach Franko gave the Axemen some breathing room as he took a pass from linemate Sam Fioretti and put the puck past the UPEI netminder.

At 14:38 Beukeboom received what is being listed as a 5 minute major for charging, but appeared to be a hit to the head of Axemen Taylor Makin. Makin was slow to get up but was able to leave the ice on his own. Beukeboom was given a 5 minute penalty and a game misconduct, and will no doubt receive supplementary discipline.

The Axemen made UPEI pay for the hit on the scoreboard, as Liam Heelis converted a great passing play on the powerplay, Owens and Cazzola added assists. Just 58 seconds later, while still on the powerplay, freshman defenceman Daniel Poliziani scored on a backdoor pass from Franko, with Gibbons adding the second assist, to put Acadia up 4-0 to end the second period.

The Axemen put the game away at 8:38 of the third period, when Mike Cazzola scored on a highlight reel goal. Cazzola picked up the puck in the neutral zone, went wide on the UPEI defenceman, cut into the middle of the ice and went high on Mahalak’s glove side, beating the goaltender, putting Acadia up 5-0. Liam Heelis picked up an assist on the goal.

UPEI finally beat Glover to get on the board on the powerplay at 10:04, as former Halifax Moosehead Brent Andrews got his first AUS goal, and a minute and a half later another former Moosehead Darcy Ashley scored to cut the lead to 5-2. But that was all the scoring, as the Axemen successfully killed off a couple of later penalties.

Acadia continues to be dynamite on the powerplay as they converted on 3 of 4 chances Saturday night,while UPEI went 1 for 5 with the man advantage. Rookie Zach Franko continues to impress, with 3 points on the night.

As mentioned, Glover was excellent in goal for the Axemen, as he faced 17 shots from UPEI in the third period alone, turning aside 15 of those shots.

Acadia returns home, sitting all alone in first place atop of the AUS standings, one point ahead of both Saint Mary’s and UNB. The Axemen will face SMU on Friday night, and St. FX Saturday night, both games in Wolfville.

Don’t forget Saturday’s special Acadia Hockey Honor Roll induction at 11:30am at the Sheldon L. Fountain Learning Commons, Acadia campus!