Axemen survive late rally to beat Panthers 8-5 and end losing streak

Digiacinto with 3 goals, 1 assist in Acadia win

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – The Acadia Axemen picked up a valuable win despite a strong UPEI Panthers comeback on Friday.  

Acadia (18-7-1) did most of their work in the first period and carried a 5-1 lead into the intermission, but had to fight off a strong second and third period from UPEI (8-13-3). 

This loss continues UPEI’s four-game losing streak as their discipline haunted them throughout the game. 

A UPEI turnover in front of their own net led to an early Acadia goal by Johnny Corneil; Cristiano Digiacinto and Jordy Stallard assisted with 15:51 remaining. 

Five minutes later, Acadia’s Owen MacDonald scored on a rebound from a Maurizio Colella shot on the powerplay. 

Acadia scored again less than 30 seconds later as the Subway Player of the Game Cristiano Digiacinto scored his first of the evening. 

UPEI called a timeout in the first period in hopes of turning the tides. 

The Panthers finally answered back with a five-on-three powerplay goal from points leader Kameron Kielly, with Kyle Maksimovich picking up his first assist of the game. 

Penalties continued to hurt the Panthers late in the first, as Digiacinto scored his second of the night on a five-on-three power play. 

Acadia’s powerplay was not done either Colella scored on the man advantage with 20 seconds remaining. Owen MacDonald picked up his second point of the game with an assist on the goal. 

Shots at the end of the first period were 16-6 for Acadia. 

The Panthers came out strong in the second period and with 16:23 remaining Drake Philon scored a short-handed goal off of a strange bounce. 

Just over five minutes later the Panthers pulled within two after a pass from Connor MacEachern found Jordan Maher alone in front and he buried it. Shots were 25-16 for Acadia at the end of the second.  

UPEI’s perseverance early in the third paid off as Filip Rydstrom scored his 11th goal of the season on a scramble for a loose puck. Kielly and Maksimovich assisted on the play. 

Two minutes later Rydstrom scored again with Makismovich picking up his third assist of the game.  

Acadia pulled ahead once more with five minutes remaining in the third off of a goal from Mason McCarty.  

The Axemen would go on to score two empty-net goals, one from Owen MacDonald and with the other Cristiano Digiacinto to finished his hat-trick.  

Acadia’s Logan Flodell saved 23 of 28 shots in the win, while UPEI’s Simon Hefley saved 27 of 35 in the loss. 

The Panthers are back in action at home Jan. 25 against Saint Mary’s, while the Axemen host U SPORTS No. 1 ranked UNB next Friday at the #Road2UCup Starts Here Launch.

By Ben MacIntosh, UPEI Athletics Communications