Franko scores OT Winner, 4-3 Acadia over UNB

Road Warrior Axemen knock off 2 of the Top 10 CIS teams

Athletics - A3The Acadia Axemen needed a big bounce back weekend, and they did just that. After dropping 2 games at home last weekend, they faced a tough task of hitting the road to face two of the top 10 CIS ranked teams this weekend in Moncton and UNB. The road warrior Axemen accepted the challenge and return home with two W’s.

Saturday night’s matchup saw the #7 ranked Axemen face the #2 ranked UNB Varsity Reds. The Reds were coming off a tough 4-3 loss to SMU last night and came out of the gate slow in the first period against Acadia. The Axemen got on the board first at the 10 minute mark as captain Liam Heelis scored his 7th of the season, with helpers going to Alex Beaton and Matt Pufahl.

The Axemen took the only penalty of the period at 17:48 when Travis Gibbons went off for tripping, and the UNB powerplay made them pay as Phillippe Halley one-timed a pass from Peter Trainor, beating Axemen goalie Brandon Glover. The teams went to the dressing room tied at 1 with UNB getting the edge in shots on goal at 12-7.

Zach Franko got his first on the night on a scramble in front of UNB goalie David Shantz, Shantz stopped 3 shots before Franko was able to get the puck by the sprawling tender. Mike Cazzola and Brett Thompson picked up assists on the tally.

It looked like that might be it for the scoring in the 2nd, until Phillippe Maillet scored his first of the night at 19:33 to tie the game up, the 2nd time on the night the Varsity Reds scored a goal in the last minute of the period to tie the game up. Shots on goal in the 2nd period were even at 12 aside.

With the ice barely dry, UNB was able to score just 15 seconds into the third period as Phillippe Maillet scored his second of the night, and by the game clock, his second in 42 seconds of play.

But the Axemen refused to cave, with Adrian Robertson off for hooking, Brett Thompson tied the game on the powerplay, after some great work by freshman Remy Giftopoulos in the attacking zone to find Thompson. Matt Pufahl picked up his second assist of the night on the goal as well. The goal was Thompson’s team leading 9th goal of the campaign. That was it for the scoring in regulation time as Acadia managed 9 shots on goal while UNB had just 4.

For the second time this season, the two teams were forced to overtime; you’ll remember Acadia’s Matt Pufahl scored in overtime in Wolfville to give the Axemen the win last time. This time it was another freshman’s turn to be the hero as Zach Franko took a pass from Alex Beaton and fired a shot to the top corner, beating Shantz and giving Acadia the win. The two goals on the night were Franko’s 5th and 6th of the season.

Acadia was 1 for 5 on the powerplay on the night, while UNB was 1 for 2. Attendance for Saturday’s game was just over 2100 fans.

Friday night saw the Axemen double up the Moncton Aigles Bleus 4-2 as Mike Cazzola led the way for Acadia with 2 goals and an assist. Brandon Glover got the win for Acadia in goal, while Moncton’s Adrien Lemay suffered the loss.

Acadia had both Taylor Makin and Travis Gibbons back in the lineup this weekend. Both had missed time last weekend due to injury. Sam Fioretti, Michael Clarke, and Dylan Anderson remain on the sidelines for the Axemen with injuries.

Acadia now sits in second place in the AUS, tied with UNB in points, but owning the head to head tiebreaker. Both teams trial the 1st place Saint Mary’s Huskies by three points, after Saint Mary’s came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to defeat Moncton 4-3 Saturday night.