Leier nets a pair, Steeves earns shutout
Wolfville, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen (17-10-2) ended their regular season on home ice on a high note, defeating the U SPORTS No. 6 ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies 3-0. Axemen goaltender and Subway First Star of the Night Robert Steeves turned aside all 24 shots by the Huskies for his second shutout of the season.
“TheGuys played awesome tonight. They let me see the puck. I let go of some funny rebounds and the guys were able to clear it and take the guys sticks. It was a great win,” Steeves said following the win.
“We knew it was a big one with third place on the line. We’ve been through a bit of a slump and the win against UNB was a stepping stone and I thought we played a hell of a game tonight.,” added Steeves.
Neither team was able to score in the first. Despite chances from both sides, the game remained a scoreless affair heading into the second period.
By the end of the first period, the Axemen held an 8-7 shot lead.
Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves made a series of impressive saves, including a diving glove, save, on the Huskies second power-play in the opening period to keep his team in the game.
Although it looked like it would be another scoreless period, the Axemen broke the scoreless tie with two goals late in the second to take a 2-0 lead heading into the third.
Acadia broke the scoreless drought late in the period when they got their power-play of the game.
With 1:50 left in the second, Axemen forward and third star of the night, Boston Leier tipped a wrist shot from Rodney Southam past the glove of the Huskies goaltender Eric Brassard to make it 1-0.
Acadia defenseman Matthew Pufahl added another marker with 0.1 seconds left on the board, which led the referees to confer while the teams headed off for the intermission as to whether the goal counted.
Pufahl rushed the puck from behind his own net and passed it off to forward Cristianno Digiacintio who gave it back to Pufahl in front, where he tipped it into the top left corner of the net to make it 2-0.
The Huskies coaching staff argued with the referees on their way off the ice at the end of the period, but the goal stood.
The Axemen added another goal just past the midway point of the third when Acadia capitalized on yet another power-play.
Boston Leier added his second power-play goal of the game.
Axemen forward Stephen Harper took the initial shot, which hit the Huskies goalie and laid on the goal line, at which point Leier came in and jammed the puck across the line.
Brassard stopped 30 of 33 shots on the night. The second star of the night was given to Huskies defenseman Dylan DiPerna.
The Axemen close out their regular season in Moncton tomorrow night against the Moncton Aigles Bleus. The game will determine whether the Axemen play the Dalhousie Tigers or the UPEI Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.
Playoffs kick off on Wednesday Feb. 14 in Wolfville for the Axemen, against TBD in the first of a best-of-three series. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm.
Contributed by Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications