Three first period goals power Acadia to victory
WOLFVILLE, N.S – Following two weeks on the road that saw Acadia go 2-2, the U SPORTS No. 7 ranked Axemen (11-5-1) defeated the UPEI Panthers (4-12-1) 6-3 in the first of two home games this weekend before the Christmas break. Axemen forward and Subway First Star of the Game Boston Leier scored two goals on the night to help the Axemen secure the win.
Acadia was strong offensively in the first and held a 3-0 lead heading into the second period.
Axemen forward and Third Star of the Game, Chance Braid, opened the scoring, lifting the puck past the left shoulder of the Panthers’ goalie Matt Mahalak, knocking the water bottle off the top of the net in the process.
Adding to their lead, Axemen forward Boston Leier scored a power-play marker late in the period.
Leier took a pass from Stephen Harper while coming over the blue-line and ripped a wrist shot over the glove of the Mahalak to make it 2-0.
Leier added another goal with 1.6 seconds remaining in the opening period, lifting a wrist shot over the left shoulder of the UPEI goalie to give the Axemen a 3-0 lead into the locker room.
“We wanted to come out strong and we didn’t necessarily execute the game plan. We took a couple early penalties. It’s a little harder when you are up against the ropes right off the bat, but we battled off those penalties, got a couple of goals, which is nice and it’s always good to get a good lead,” commented Leier after the game.
The Panthers and Axemen each added a goal in the second to make it 4-1 heading into the final frame.
UPEI scored on their fifth power-play of the game, off a low wrist shot from Second Star of the Game, Beau McCue.
Acadia responded with a goal in the last minute of the second from rookie forward Owen MacDonald, who was left wide open in front and made no mistake on the pass from Remy Giftopoulos.
Both teams added two goals in the third period, with both teams scoring an even-strength and power-play goal.
Ryan Foss went end-to-end with the puck and tucked it through the legs of the Panthers goalie for a highlight reel goal.
The Panthers added two late goals from forward Brent Andrews and Cody Payne.
Andrews scored on a scramble in front of the Axemen net during a UPEI power-play, while Payne finished off a 2-on-1 for the final goal of the game.
Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves turned aside 21 of 24 shots, while Mahalak stopped 21 of 27 shots.
The Axemen take to the ice again tomorrow night against the UNB Varsity Reds at home for their final game before the Christmas break. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m.
Contributed by Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications Office