Axemen clinch 2nd place in AUS standings with 4-1 win
Fioretti nets three in Acadia victory
WOLFVILLE, N.S. – After clinching a playoff spot last week, the U Sports No. 5 ranked Acadia Axemen (18-8-2) continued their winning streak of three against the sixth-place Moncton Aigles Bleus (10-17-1), with a 4-1 win. Axemen forward, Sam Fioretti (Calgary, Alta.), scored a natural hat trick to help lift Acadia over Moncton in their last meeting of the year with the Aigles Bleus.
“It was a great team effort and wrapping up with the bye was our goal going into this year and I think it’s big for our playoff push,” said Fioretti after the game.
Moncton scored at 0:59 in the opening period, with a slapshot off the crossbar and past Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves (Moncton, N.B.), from forward Allain Saulnier (Cap-Pele, N.B.). The puck was shot so hard that it ricocheted back out of the net and play continued before the referees met near center ice to decide it was a good goal.
Fioretti tied the game up with a shorthanded marker late in the first on a 2-on-1, by tipping a pass from rushing defenseman, Geoff Schemitsch (Thornhill, Ont.), past Moncton goaltender, Alexi Thibaudeau (Gatineau, Que.).
Less than two minutes later, Fioretti struck again, coming out of the right corner and firing a snapshot, low glove side, beating Thibaudeau and giving the Axemen a 2-1 lead heading into the second.
Fioretti completed the natural hat trick 45 seconds before the midway point of the second period, on an Axemen power-play. After moving the puck around the perimeter of the Aigles Bleus penalty kill, Axemen defenseman, Matthew Pufahl (Saskatoon, Sask.), slid the puck over to Fioretti, who fired another low snapshot past Thibaudeau to give Acadia a 3-1 lead.
Axemen forward Brendan Childerley added to the lead roughly three minutes later, breaking in on the right side and firing a wrist shot past Aigles Bleus goaltender Brandon Thibeau (Riverview, N.B.), who replaced Thibaudeau after Fioretti’s hat trick.
Despite chances on both sides, neither team added a goal in the third period, as the Axemen focused on defending their lead and preventing Moncton from coming back for a 4-1 Acadia victory.
Axemen goaltender, Robert Steeves, turned aside 19 of 20 shots on the night. Meanwhile, Aigles Bleus goaltender, Brandon Thibeau stopped 6 of 7 shots in relief of the starter, Alexi Thibaudeau, who allowed 3 goals on 18 shots.
The Subway First Star of the Night went to Sam Fioretti, while second and third star of the night went to Moncton defenseman, Pierre Durepos (Shediac, N.B.) and Acadia defenseman, Alex Lepkowski (Buffalo, New York), respectively.
The Axemen have battled injuries for most of the season and Sam Fioretti noted the importance of the bye. “With these last two games and a week off before that (playoffs), sometimes it’s not necessarily the best team, but the healthiest team that comes on top.”
Acadia will next take to the ice on Fri. Feb. 10 in Halifax to take on the Dalhousie Tigers, before finishing up their regular season the next night, at home, against the StFX X-Men.
Moncton plays the first place UNB Varsity Reds tomorrow night, in Moncton, before finishing off their regular season next Friday in PEI to take on the UPEI Panthers. Puck drop for all games is 7:00 p.m.
Source: Josh Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications Office