Colella with two assists for Acadia

WOLFVILLE, N.S – For the first time since the 2019-20 season, the Acadia Axemen played in front of fans in the Andrew H. McCain Arena. Despite a strong effort from Acadia, they dropped their first exhibition game of the season to the Saint Mary’s Huskies 4-3 in OT.

Saint Mary’s opened the scoring early, with a beautiful passing play that was finished by forward – and second star of the night – Dennis Busby when he cut in front of the net and tipped a pass under the crossbar.

Acadia responded late in the period with a goal from Subway First Star of the Night Mason McCarty to tie the game. McCarty scored after picking up a rebound in front of the net and shovelling it past the sprawling goaltender to make it 1-1.

By the end of the first period, the shots were 14-10 for the Axemen.

The Huskies were quick to break the tie in the second, as Nathan Dunkley broke in wide on the left and rifled a snapshot into the top right corner to make it 2-1.

Adam McMaster answered for the Axemen at the midpoint of the second period. Maurizio Colella got the puck in front of the net and pushed it out to McMaster, who threw it past the screened Huskies goalie into the wide-open right side of the net to knot the game at 2-2.

Despite opportunities on both sides, including a mad scramble in front of the Huskies net with multiple scoring chances that led to an Axemen power-play, the game remained tied heading into the final frame.

By the end of the second period Acadia pulled ahead in the shot department, leading 25-16.

While the game remained deadlocked for the first half of the final period, the tie was broken with 10:13 left to play in the final period on a goal from forward Loch Morrison.

Morrison took a pass from behind the net and fired it past the Saint Mary’s tender to give Acadia their first lead of the game.

Yet, the Huskies were determined to stay in the game, as they tied it late in the frame on a point shot from defenceman Zachary Hoffman wired past a diving Flodell.

A highlight of the third period came when Axemen goalie Logan Flodell dove across his crease to rob a sure Huskies goal with his blocker and glove.

With the game tied at the end of regulation, the Axemen and Huskies headed to a 5-minute 3-on-3 OT.

Although Acadia had multiple scoring opportunities in the extra frame, it was Huskies defenceman – and third star of the night – Cedric Ralph who ended the game on a 2-on-1. Ralph redirected a pass from Busby off his leg and into the net for the game-winner.

Axemen goaltender Logan Flodell turned aside 16 of 20 shots, while his Saint Mary’s counterpart Matt Welsh stopped 35 of 38 shots.

Acadia plays three more exhibition games before kicking off their regular season against the Dalhousie Tigers on Oct. 8 in Wolfville. The Axemen are in Fredericton, NB this Friday night to take on host UNB.

Submitted by Josh Foote
Acadia Athletics Communications

A familiar face, Scott Trask, joins the hockey staff

This past year was a challenge for all university sport hockey teams and for the Axemen it was no different, however it was the program’s philosophy not to make excuses and move ahead to get better wherever possible.

The addition of alumnus Scott Trask, as the strength and conditioning coach, has proven to be a crucial step in this season’s preparation. “Scottie has been a huge addition for our program. We are fortunate that many recent alumni are deciding to make the Annapolis Valley their home and we are extremely fortunate he made this choice as well”, explained head coach Darren Burns.

“It’s pretty simple he has never underachieved as a person or a player and has always been on successful teams. He has always been a committed teammate and person. You can’t go wrong with adding a person with these qualities. I learned a lot from coaching him and as a staff we knew he would be a huge addition for our program.”

Trask, a native of Bonavista, Newfoundland, played 3 seasons with the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL, winning the league title in 2009-10. He finished up his junior career by captaining the Summerside Western Capitals Junior A to a MJAHL championship in 2012-13. He then joined the Acadia Axemen from 2013-2017 notching 15 points in 84 regular season games. He won back-to-back SPHL championships with the Huntsville Havoc in 2017-18/2018-19. Scott also suited up for 2 games in the ECHL with his hometown Newfoundland Growlers in their expansion season of 2018-19.

We asked Scott about what it meant to be back with the Acadia hockey program and his focus in his new role, he said, “I’m very thankful for the opportunity to give back to a program that gave me so much during my time as an Axemen.  It means a lot to be in this role as it is something that I’m passionate about and take great pride in.  In my role, my focus for the team is to get the athletes game ready and help prepare them to compete for a National Championship.”

Coach Burns added, “Scott was raised to work hard and to be a leader and he brings this same type of mentor ship to our players. The reality is these players need the best resources to be the best players and people they can be if they want to be winners. As a staff you need to utilize different resources and that’s where Scott has been huge in our players off season training. We are lucky here in the Valley, as many players found employment here this summer and we are thankful to the many local businesses who have supported them, so that they could stay here this summer to get ready for the upcoming season.”

The Axemen would also like to recognize Josh Nowlan, their student strength & conditioning coach, who did an excellent job this past winter with the players.

5 different goal scorers in Acadia win

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – After a prolonged wait – and without the usual deafening fanfare – the Acadia Axemen returned to the Andrew H. McCain Arena for the first time in roughly a year to face off against the Dalhousie Tigers in a 5-3 win.

Despite falling down 2-0 in the first period and a late push from the Tigers, Acadia used their three unanswered goals in the second and beginning of the third to get their first win of 2021.

The Axemen first hit the ice in a 6-4 loss to the Saint Mary’s Huskies. This game is part of an exhibition series between the Axemen, the Tigers, and the Huskies.

The Tigers kicked off the scoring early, taking a 1-0 lead twenty seconds into the period on a goal from Chandler Yakimowicz.

Yakimowicz scored on a controversial play, as defenceman Christian Huntley threw a puck on net after appearing to step offside. Huntley’s shot came to Yakimowicz in front of the net and he tapped it in to make it 1-0.

Dalhousie doubled their lead at 10:22 in the first, when Matt Green notched a power-play marker. Green came into the offensive zone with a burst of speed, took a pass from Campbell Pickard and ripped a shot into the top right corner to make it 2-0.

The Tigers took their 2-0 lead into the second period, while leading in shots 9-7.

The second period saw the Axemen tie the game on goals from two rookies.Read more »

Southam nets 2 for Acadia in loss

Photo courtesy of SMU/Nick Pearce (2020 Playoffs)

HALIFAX, NS — The Saint Mary’s Huskies got goals from six different players and new goaltender Matthew Welsh (Halifax, NS) made 22 saves in his AUS debut to knock off the high-powered Acadia Axemen 6-4 in exhibition play at the Dauphinee Centre on Friday night.

It was the first game that either team had played in nearly a full calendar year – as the AUS season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent alleviation of some restrictions by the Nova Scotia government afforded Saint Mary’s the opportunity to host this exhibition – which felt like anything but.

The first period saw a mostly choppy affair as both teams attempted work off the 11 months of “rink rust” and get adjusted to playing at higher pace. After an extended stretch of scoreless play – which saw SMU kill off a penalty – Keith Getson (Bridgewater, NS) took a cross-seam pass from new captain Alexander Peters (Blyth, ONT) and one-timed a shot over the trapper of Acadia netminder Logan Flodell (Regina, SK) to break the deadlock. Huskies newcomer Cedric Ralph (Peterborough, ONT) also drew a secondary assist on the goal.

Late in the frame, the Huskies would take another penalty, and on the ensuing penalty kill, SMU goaltender Matthew Welsh had to stand tall and make two or three sensational saves in tight to maintain the Huskies lead.

The second stanza was an offensive tug-of-war as both teams traded scoring opportunities and goals. Acadia drew even early in the period after a fabulous passing play which saw Mason McCarty (Blackie, Alta) feed Johnny Corneil (Lindsay, ONT) who converted to make it 1-1. Shortly thereafter, Saint Mary’s took a delay of game penalty which enabled the Axemen to take the lead off a deft tip-in by Rodney Southam (Saskatoon, SK) to make it 2-1 visitors.

The Huskies then had a golden opportunity to knot it up with two Axemen in the box – but failed to convert. However, not long after the penalties expired, SMU would strike on a nice cross-crease feed from Bradey Johnson (Lindsay, ONT) to Logan DeNoble (Peterborough, ONT) to square things at two.

Last season’s Rookie of the Year – and SMU’s leading scorer – Mitchell Balmas (Sydney, NS) got a fortunate bounce as his cross-crease feed for Cedric Ralph (Peterborough, ONT) hit a skate and slid by Flodell’s pad to make it 3-2 Huskies.

However, just nine seconds later – off of the ensuing faceoff – Acadia would draw even when Rodney Southam would score his second of the frame into an empty cage after Matthew Welsh was caught out of position after a great bit of patience by Eric Henderson (Kingsville, ONT) who then dished out front to an open Southam.

Tied at three going into the third period, the Huskies attempted to apply the pressure to the Axemen – which resulted in several Acadia icings in the early going of the closing 20. Eventually, the pressure paid dividends as defenceman Walter Flower (Lunenburg, NS) hammered a shot from the point and forward Jake Durham (Port Perry, ONT) poked home the loose change to put the Huskies up 4-3.

About six minutes later, the Huskies would take their first two goal lead of the game when Joel Bishop (St. John’s, NFLD) picked off an errant Acadia pass and went in all alone on Flodell – and deked out the netminder for a highlight-reel goal.

Just 26 seconds later, the Axemen would close the deficit to one when Cristiano Digiacinto (Hamilton, ONT) caught Welsh out of position and tucked home a wrap-around to make it 5-4.

But that’s as close as the Axemen would get on this night – as Cedric Ralph directed in a cross-seam pass from Getson to make it 6-4 with less than five minutes left in regulation.

Courtesy of Drew McConnell, SMU Communications

Both teams now prepare for next week’s University Cup

FREDERICTON, NB – The UNB Reds are the 2020 Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey champions after defeating the Acadia Axemen 5-1 in game three of the best of three championship series.

Alexandre Goulet (Disraeli, QC) scored three goals to lead the Reds in a 5-1 win over the Acadia Axemen on Friday, in the third and deciding game of their AUS championship series. 

The game was played before a sell-out crowd of 3374 at UNB’s Aitken Centre. 

Goulet was named the Subway Player of the Game, while Reds goaltender Samuel Harvey (Alma, QC) was named the most valuable player of the AUS playoffs. 

Friday’s game began with both teams playing a close, tight-checking game. 

They played a scoreless first period, but the capacity crowd didn’t have to wait long for a goal in the second period. 

Oliver Cooper (Fredericton, NB) fired a quick shot from the slot that beat Axemen goalie Logan Flodell (Regina, SK) at the 2:51 mark. 

UNB’s Mark Rassell (Calgary, AB) started the play, rushing the puck in on a partial breakaway, but firing the puck over the Acadia next. The Reds gained possession of the loose puck in the corner, before working it in front to Cooper. 

Read more »

Third and deciding game goes Friday night in Fredericton

WOLFVILLE N.S. – The University of New Brunswick Reds forced a game three to decide the AUS Championship with a 6-0 win over the Acadia Axemen, backstopped by a solid performance from Samuel Harvey in goal.

Cristiano Digiacinto noted that the bounces didn’t go their way in tonight’s game.

“I felt we came out and did what we had to do, had a couple of unlucky bounces that didn’t go our way and we really kept it going. The second period was completely ours. I felt we were in their end the whole time. It’s just unfortunate the bounces didn’t go our way.”

The Reds were first to get the lead in a must-win game for them. Samuel Dove-McFalls capitalized on his chance after a strong net drive from Stephen Anderson resulted in the open net opportunity for Dove-McFalls. The goal was also assisted by Patrick Watling and came just shy of four minutes into the opening period.

UNB struck again with 7:32 remaining in the first. Forward Mark Rassell doubled the Reds’ lead after the Axemen goaltender had trouble controlling the rebound of Matt Boucher’s shot, and Rassell slid the loose puck underneath Flodell from the edge of the crease. The goal came just a second after concluding a powerplay and was also assisted by Matt Murphy.

The Reds led 2-0 after the first period of play.Read more »

Flodell makes 52 saves in victory

FREDERICTON, NB – The Acadia Axemen scored a pair of first period goals on route to a 3-1 win over the UNB Reds, in Fredericton, on Monday, in game one of the Subway Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey championship series. 

Rodney Southam (Saskatoon, SK) scored the eventual winner, short-handed, at 15:10 of the first period, and Logan Flodell (Regina, SK) stopped 52 of 53 shots to earn the win in net. 

Flodell was named the Subway Player of the Game. 

I think our mindset was just to throw everything at them,” said Flodell. “I think that worked out for us and we found a way to win. That’s what good hockey teams have to do. That’s a good hockey team over there. They’re working hard, they’re here for a reason and we’ve got to keep it going. 

The visitors opened the scoring, at the 5:53 mark of the first period. 

Stephen Harper (Burlington, ON) broke into the Reds zone and put a shot on Reds goalie Samuel Harvey (Alma, QC). 

Harvey made the save, but the rebound went right to Cristiano Digiacinto (Hamilton, ON) and he made no mistake, putting the Axemen up 1-0. 

Southam’s goal, about nine minutes later, made it 2-0 Acadia after one period. 

Read more »

Acadia now looks to close out series on Tuesday night

HALIFAX, N.S. – The Saint Mary’s University Huskies men’s hockey team staved off semifinal elimination with a 6-2 win over the Acadia Axemen. The Axemen headed into the game up two games to none in the series, but home-ice advantage worked in the Huskies favor as their playoff hopes stay alive for at least one more game.  

The Huskies opened the scoring less than three minutes into the period after a flurry of shot attempts. After a wrist shot from the point, Keith Getson (Bridgewater, NS) grabbed the rebound, but goalie Logan Flodell (Regina, SK) made a nice stop. Joel Bishop (St. John’s, NL) got the puck, however, and passed it to Dawson Theede (Brooklin, ON) who put it over Flodell and into the net.  

Halfway through the period, Bishop fought to carry the puck into Acadia’s zone. He was taken down near the corner, but got the puck to Noah Zilbert (Fredericton, NB), who threaded it through the slot to Stephen Johnson (Moncton, NB). Johnson got the puck to the net before Flodell could come across to stop it, making it 2-0 for the Huskies. 

In the second half of the period, the Axemen had some sustained pressure, forcing the Huskies to ice the puck several times. Acadia got 14 shots on net in the first period, but the bulk of scoring opportunities belonged to the Huskies. Acadia’s best chance came midway through the period when a one-timer from Loch Morrison (Christopher Lake, SK) rang off the post. 

Saint Mary’s extended their lead, however, with four and a half minutes to go. A shot from the point from Sam Dunn (Hamilton Township, ON) was redirected by Zilbert. Flodell made the initial save but Sam King (Hampton, NB) put the rebound home. 

Conor McGlynn added another tally for the Huskies with just over a minute left in the period. Picking up a bouncing puck in the neutral zone, he rushed down the left-wing and fired a slap shot top corner. 

On the next play, Acadia had a good scoring chance on a three on two, but goalie Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, QC) was solid and kept them off the board. 

The Huskies led 4-0 heading into the second period. 

Special teams made the second period an exciting one. Early on, over a minute of four on four hockey led to end-to-end chances. Midway through the period, Acadia had a five on three advantage. Their good puck movement caused the Huskies to scramble a few times, but the penalties ended with no scoring. 

Read more »

Digiacinto leads the way with 4 points in win

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen hockey team take a 2-0 lead in the AUS best of five semifinal series on a 5-2 win over the visiting Saint Mary’s Huskies.

Cristiano Digiacinto picked up two goals and two assists in the Axemen win over the Huskies and was named the Subway Player of the Game.

“Playing our game and not worrying about the other team. If we do what we do best, we are going to win games. I think if we keep doing what we do and sticking to our game plan is something that is going to make us successful throughout the playoffs and leading into the Nationals,” said Digiacinto following the game.

A repeat of game one between the Axemen and Huskies, the opening period was scoreless.

Digiacinto opened the six goal second period on a deflected Ross MacDougall shot from the high slot to give the Axemen a 1-0 lead at the 5:06 mark of the second frame on the powerplay.

The Huskies tied the game four minutes later after the Axemen coughed up the puck in their own end. Anthony Repaci fed Dawson Theede across the crease for the first of two Huskie powerplay goals in the second period.

Senior forward Stephen Harper replied at 13:26 of the second frame with another Acadia powerplay goal to give the Axemen a 2-1 lead that would last only three minutes.

Saint Mary’s scored their second goal with the man-advantage when Dawson Theede’s wide shot went off the end boards and came out to Alex Peters who sent a high blocker side shot over Logan Flodell’s shoulder.Read more »

Flodell stops 33 shots in victory

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The unranked Acadia Axemen opened the best of five semifinal series with a 4-1 win over the U SPORTS No. 9 ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies.

Axeman Logan Flodell was named the Subway Player of the Game stopping 33 of 34 shots for the win. Flodell was recently named the AUS Most Valuable Player by the AUS head coaches.

Flodell praised the effort by his defensive unit during a hard-fought game against the Huskies.

“Our D worked on picking up sticks around the net. That’s what they wanted to do was throw pucks around my feet and get rebounds and they did that pretty well tonight and our defense battled hard,” noted Flodell following the game.

The opening period was scoreless with the Huskies out-shooting the host Axemen 11-5, but the game opened up after five and half minutes into the second frame.

Third-year forward Cristiano Digiacinto scored the series-opening goal after tapping in a pass across the crease from teammate Tate Olson.

The Axemen pushed the lead to 2-0 on a Mason McCarty goal a minute and eighteen seconds later. McCarty picked up the loose puck in front of the Huskies’ net after a feed from Owen MacDonald.

The Huskies cut the lead in half on a late second period goal when Joel Bishop picked up a turned over puck on a misplay behind the net.Read more »