Acadia Axemen knock off Dal Tigers 4-2

Acadia Leapfrogs idle UNB for first place in AUS

Athletics - A3The Acadia Axemen returned to the ice after a five week study and holiday break, with a 4-2 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers (4-12-1).

With the win, Acadia improves to 13-3-1 on the season, leapfrogging one point past the idle UNB Varsity Reds into first place in the AUS, with UNB holding a game in hand.

Acadia came out of the gates on fire, with scoring chances upon scoring chances from the first shift through the final shift in the first period; but when the dust cleared, and the period ended, Dalhousie Tigers goaltender Corbin Boes, had made 16 saves and the teams were scoreless. At times the line of Cazzola, Thompson, and Heelis looked like they were putting on a cycling clinic as they played keep away from the Dal defenders, but putting the puck past Boes was another story. Dal managed just 4 shots in the scoreless opening frame.

5:13 into the second period, it was Dalhousie that opened the scoring, as Kendall MacInnis got the puck in the slot with his back to the net, spun around shooting at the same time, beating Axemen goaltender Brandon Glover low to the blocker side. A score that held until 12:20 of the period when Acadia broke into the Dal zone on a 3 on 2, and the Axemen made the most of the odd man rush with a tic-tac-toe passing play as Sam Fioretti sent the puck to Boston Leier, who then fed Michael Clarke, who put the puck past the sprawling Dal goaltender to tie the game up at 1. It was Clarke’s second goal on the season, after missing much of the first half due to injury.

It looked like the teams might end the second period tied, until Brett Thompson fed a perfect pass up the middle of the ice to send linemate Mike Cazzola in alone on Boes, and Cazzola made no mistake. He fired a rocket shot to the top corner with just 54 seconds remaining in the period, putting Acadia up 2-1. Tyler Ferry picked up the secondary assist on Cazzola’s 10th goal on the season.

Shots on goal in the second period favored Acadia 13-11.

The third period began with some chippy play with multiple scrums after the whistle. 7:29 into the period Dal forward Dan Joyce hit Acadia defenceman Geoff Schemitsch with a dangerous blindsided hit near the board in the Acadia zone. Axemen Dylan Anderson came to his teammates aid wrestling down Joyce, but taking an extra two minutes on penalties in the process, as surprisingly there was no call on the original hit on Schemitsch.

But karma struck as Axemen Alex Beaton was sent in on a shorthanded breakaway, Boes was able to turn him away, but Beaton wisely followed the rebound behind the net and banked the puck off of Boes, and into the net to give Acadia a 3-1 lead.

It looked like Acadia had the game all but wrapped up, until Remy Giftopolous took an interference call at 14:43, and the referee called a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct to put the Axemen down on a 5 on 3 penalty kill.

Dal’s Fabian Walsh took advantage of the open ice, pulling his team within one goal at 3-2 with just over 4 minutes to play. But a comeback wasn’t in the cards as Acadia freshman Boston Leier scored, his fourth goal of the season, into an empty net goal to seal the victory with just 9 seconds left in the game, giving Acadia a 4-2 victory.

Final shots on goal for the game were 46 for Acadia, 21 for Dalhousie. Acadia was 0-3 on the powerplay, while Dal was 1-4.

Acadia faces a difficult test next weekend, as they play host to the AUS 3rd place Saint Mary’s Huskies on Friday night, and then head to Antigonish to take on the surging St. FX X-Men.