Last minute heroics gives Axemen 5-4 win over StFX

Acadia Earns 1st Round Playoff Bye

STFX-ACA15WOLFVILLE, N.S. – With a large gathering on hand for the official opening of Andrew H. McCain Arena and a quarterfinal playoff bye on the line, the CIS No. 3 ranked Axemen could feel the energy of a hopeful crowd of 1996.

It was a timely effort by the Axemen who had yet to beat the StFX in three regular season match ups. Acadia saved their best performance for last as they rallied late in the final period to grab a 5-4 victory over the X-Men by scoring two goals in the remaining 90 seconds to punch their ticket to a second round berth.

On a rare 2-on-0 break at the eight minute mark of the opening period, rookie Boston Leier (Saskatoon, Sask.), decided to shoot the puck rather than pass it, sniping a shot off the cross bar to give Acadia a 1-0 lead. Tyler Ferry (Richmond Hill, Ont.) and Taylor Makin (Lethbridge, Alta.) received assists on the play.

Under a minute later, X-Men forward Trey Lewis (Aldouane, N.B.) scored his second goal of the season on a 2-on-1 break that tied the game at one.

The X-Men took the first of three leads when Michael Kirkpatrick (North Sydney, N.S.) scored on the powerplay at 13:30 of the first.ย 

Veteran blueliner Travis Gibbons (London, Ont.) tied the game at two by rifling a slap shot between the legs of StFX netminder Drew Owsley (Lethbridge, Alta.) less than a minute later, ending the first period at a 2-2 deadlock.

After killing off a long 5-on-3 penalty, X-man Blake Gal (Lethbridge, Alta.) scored his first of two goals at the halfway point of the second period to give StFX a 3-2 lead after two periods. Nathan Chiarlitti (Maple, Ont.) and Michael Kirkpatrick earned helpers on the tally.

After a flurry of chances that opened the third period, Taylor Makin tipped a Chris Owens (St. John’s, Nfld.) slap shot from the point past a screened Owsley to tie the game for a third time.

Gal scored his second goal on the man-advantage to give the X-Men their third and final lead at 11:40 in the third.

With the clock winding down, the Axemen pulled their goalie for the extra attacker and just seconds after doing so, fourth year forward and captain Liam Heelis (Georgetown, Ont.) put a beautiful pass on the stick of Brett Thompson for his league leading 19th goal of the season.

It wasn’t over yet as Heelis scored his 51st career and game winning goal with nine seconds remaining in regulation time. Heelis ended his goal scoring drought that began on November 22nd after scoring his 50th goal. The captain was named the Subway First Star of the Game while teammate Remy Giftopolous (Ancaster, Ont.) was named the third star.

Brandon Glover (Victoria, B.C.) stopped 16 of 20 shots for the win, while Owsley received the Subway second star of the game after stopping 44 shots in the losing effort.

With the Axemen completing the season with a 20-5-3 record and second place in the AUS standings, Acadia and first place UNB will await the winners of the quarterfinal series matchups that include #6 Moncton vs #3 Saint Mary’s. #4 StFX will take on #5 UPEI.

Provided by Mitchel Racine, Acadia Sports Information