SMU scores in OT to slip by Acadia 2-1

Axemen Earn Point to Enter Break Tied for Second in AUS

IMG_2508The game was billed as a head to head matchup of two bitter rivals, two of the top 5 best teams in the country, two teams sitting atop the AUS separated by only one point… and the two teams lived up to the billing tonight.

Right from the first faceoff, there was a playoff like intensity to the game, where any mistake or misplay seemed to be magnified and every loose puck was a battle, all of which made for great hockey to watch.

The first period was a scoreless affair, with the shots on goal showing SMU ahead 9-6, however, the scoring chances heavily favored the Axemen as they had some great chances to get on the board, but Anthony Peters was sharp when he had to be, and there was a few pucks that just missed net. The Axemen best chance came off the stick of Tyler Ferry who broke in on a two on one with Mike Cazzola; Cazzola fed the puck over to Ferry who redirected the puck just over the gaping net. Then with just under two minutes remaining in the period, league leading scorer Brett Thompson stepped out from the side of the net and found himself alone with Peters; there wasn’t much room but Thompson tried to tuck the puck upstairs, but ended up getting too much of it and sent the puck over the glass.

Meanwhile, Axemen goalie Brandon Glover turned away all 9 shots he faced in the opening period. Early in the second period, Glover made a great save to keep the game scoreless; a loose puck came to Huskie sniper Stephen MacAulay at the side of the net, as he went to slide the puck home, Glover stretched his left leg out to make the stop.

Acadia had a glorious chance to open the scoring as Axemen captain Liam Heelis streaked down the wing and snapped a laser beam off the crossbar, but stayed out of the SMU goal.

Finally midway through the second period, the Axemen got on the board. With Kyle Pereira off for high sticking for the Huskies, the Axemen went to the power play, and just eight seconds in to the man advantage, 1st year forward Remy Giftopoulos slide a puck past Peters to make it 1-0. Travis Gibbons and Zach Franko picked up assists on the goal. It was Giftopoulos’ 5th goal of the season.

SMU would tie things up as they broke in on a 2 on 1, and Steven Beyers carried the puck near the top of the circle, snapping a quick low shot that Glover made the save on but the rebound was loose, the driving Huskie forward Ben Duffy swiped at the puck and missed what would have been an open net, and before another Axemen could get back to clear the rebound, SMU’s Francis Menard smacked the puck home to make it 1-1. Shots on goal in the 2nd period were 9 for each team.

The third period saw the Axemen take control, outshooting SMU 9-3, but they just couldn’t find a way to score. Acadia had a late power play opportunity in the third period, but Saint Mary’s was able to fend the Axemen off.

With both teams earning a point for being tied after regulation time, the teams headed to overtime. Acadia had a great chance to end the game as Tyler Ferry snuck in from the point and took a pass in the slot but Peters was there to make the save. Not long after, Matt Tipoff sent a pass up the side boards to Stephen Johnston who slipped by Ferry and then roofed a shot just under the bar from the face off dot that beat Glover, and gave the Saint Mary’s Huskies the victory.

Acadia was 1 for 6 on the power play on the night, while SMU was 0 for 6. Attendance for the game was 780 fans.

With the point for the OT loss, and the UNB victory over Moncton tonight, the Axemen now sit tied with Saint Mary’s for second place, one point back of the UNB Varsity Reds for top spot in the AUS. Acadia is now off for the exam and holiday break, but will return to regular season action early in the new year, as they will face the Dal Tigers in Halifax on January 3rd.