Harper scores the OT winner
WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen (1-1) kicked off their home-opener with a nail-biting 2-1 win over the StFX X-Men (0-0-1) in overtime.
Despite chances on both sides – including one power-play for the X-Men and two for Acadia – neither team could put the puck in the net in the first period.
The opening period was full of animosity between the two teams. The referees were constantly pulling players apart after whistles throughout the first frame.
Shots on goal were 9-4 in favour of the Axemen after 1 period.
The Axemen began to pull away from StFX in the second period, as they continued to outshoot and overpower the X-Men.
Axemen forward Jackson Houck scored the first goal of his AUS career with 8:57 left in the second period. Houck scooped up the rebound in front of the StFX net to give the Axemen a 1-0 lead
The Axemen had several opportunities that were turned aside by X-Men goalie Chase Marchand, including a stellar sprawling glove save that prevented a sure goal.
With 7:26 remaining in the second, there was a considerable delay in game action due to a body check from Axemen forward Rodney Southam that broke the handle on the away team’s penalty box.
Following the delay, the X-Men seemed reinvigorated as StFX forward Adam Smith scored a power-play marker a mere 27 seconds after returning to the ice.
After yet another ice delay, the second period continued and ended in a 1-1 tie.
By the end of the second period, the shots were 23-11 for Acadia.
VID RECAP: @axemenhockey pick up a 2-1 OT win vs @StFXAthletics and improve to 1-1. Harper with the overtime goal. Axemen head to USA for exhibition games vs Boston University and UMass – Lowell. #GoAcadiaGo #AcadiaProud #Axemen pic.twitter.com/EwmUCdwWaw
— Acadia Athletics (@AcadiaAthletics) September 29, 2018
The third period once again saw chances on both sides – including a strong power-play by the X-Men and a breakaway by Axemen forward Owen Macdonald – neither team could break the tie.
Axemen forward, and Subway First Star of the Night, Stephen Harper scored the game-winner with 1:38 left in OT. Harper broke down the right wing and fired a hard wrist shot into the top right corner of the net.
When asked if he had any thoughts of passing the puck to teammate Cristiano Digiacinto on the 2-on-1 break, Harper noted he had learned a lesson from the second period.
“I think I learned from the second period when I passed it to Reggie on the backdoor. I saw he was cheating a bit… so I’d just looked at Digi and thought I’d try shooting the puck and luckily it went it”, said Harper following the game.
Axemen goaltender Dawson Carty turned aside 20 of 21 shots, while his StFX counterpart Chase Marchand stopped 33 of 35 shots.
The second and third stars of the night were X-Men goalie Chase Marchand and Axemen forward Owen Macdonald, respectively.
The Axemen now head on the road to the US to take on Boston University and UMass – Lowell in NCAA exhibition play and then return to AUS season play at StFX on Wed. Oct. 10. The X-Men host Saint Mary’s tomorrow night in Antigonish.
By Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications