Axemen add WHL alumnus forward

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Corson Hopwo to the hockey program this fall.

Corson hails from Victoria, BC, and playing his junior career in the WHL with the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The 5’11” forward racked up 106 points over 201 regular season games, including 47 goals.

Hopwo was drafted by the Tigers in the 7th round of the 2016 WHL draft, and joined the Tigers for one game in 2017-18. He would return to the Tigers for 3 1/2 more seasons, with his best statistical season being in the 2020-21 season, which was shortened due to the Covid pandemic. In that season Corson, while wearing the ‘A’ for Medicine Hat, scored 22 points, including 14 goals in just 23 games. Midway through last season, the Lethbridge Hurricanes made a trade to add Hopwo, where he added 10 points in 31 games.

We caught up with Corson on the news of his commitment and asked why Acadia was his choice of Universities to play for, he said, “I chose Acadia because I felt like it suited my situation perfectly. Firstly, the aspect of having smaller class sizes and being more personal with your professors really spoke to me; while playing hockey I wasn’t taking any university courses so being able to have that relationship and connection to the professors was a big factor! Secondly, the hockey program seemed very professional. The facilities, coaching staff and everything in-between are all so top tier and with still having a goal to sign a pro contract, I felt that choosing Acadia would help me fulfill that goal.”

Coach Darren Burns likes the addition of Hopwo to his squad for the upcoming season saying, “We were extremely impressed with Corson during the recruiting process. He has an excellent knowledge of the game and comes from a strong hockey background. He is a very intelligent player who skates extremely well. We feel his quickness and hockey smarts will help him make the jump to AUS hockey and help provide offence for our team.”

Hopwo says, “Axemen fans can expect to see a hard working, competitive, skilled 200 foot player that likes to chip in on the offensive when he can. I strive to be responsible in the d-zone first; however, I love playing in the o-zone as well. With that being said I still have tons to work on and love the challenge of getting better. ”

With the 2022-23 regular schedule being recently released, the Axemen’s first regular season game will take place on October 5th, in Halifax as they face the Dalhousie Tigers.

Acadia adds former Erie Otter Co-Captain

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Brendan Sellan to the program this fall.

Hailing from Bolton, Ontario, Brendan played his four years of junior hockey in the OHL, with the Erie Otters, and served as the team Co-Captain this past season. In 193 regular season games, he had 82 points, including a career high 20 goals and 40 points in 66 games in 2021-22. The OHL did not play games in 2020-21 due to the pandemic.

We asked Brendan, “Why Acadia?” and he said, “What made me choose Acadia is the rich history the school and hockey program has. As well as the small town feel of the school coming from a small town myself. Another big thing for me was the number of players coming out of Acadia and moving on to the pro ranks, coming here will help me advance my hockey and school career immensely.”

Axemen head coach Darren Burns sees Sellan as a key addition to the team saying, “Brendan is a player who can check a lot of boxes for a coach. He plays a high tempo game, with a very strong work ethic and exudes great leadership qualities. He is a player who has shown he can play a strong defensive game, but create offence as well, because of his intelligence level. These are all characteristics needed to succeed in our league. His desire and accountability will make him a great addition to our program.”

Sellan is excited about the opportunity to play in front of the hometown Axemen crowd saying, “Fans can expect a guy that comes in every night ready to do whatever it takes to win, no matter what it is. I am a 200-foot player that prides myself in playing in the defensive zone just as much as the offensive zone. I think I have a good hockey IQ and can see the ice well, making plays when needed.”

Former OHL Oshawa Generals netminder commits to Axemen

The Acadia Axemen hockey program is proud to welcome Zachary Paputsakis to the team this fall. Paputsakis, a 6’3” goalie from Rockland, Ontario, joins the Axemen after spending the past 3 years with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He played in 55 games over that span, going 18-19-7 with a 3.25 Goals Against Average and a .903 save percentage. The OHL did not play any games in 2020-21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

We asked Zach about his decision to commit to the Acadia, he said, “I chose Acadia because I wanted to play for a top notch hockey program as well as get a great education and Acadia offered both of those. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Acadia and I can’t wait to get down there and experience everything that Acadia and the east coast has to offer.”

 

When asked to describe his style of play in net, Paputsakis said, “I would describe myself as a big goalie who uses my size to my advantage, has good hockey IQ, reads the play well and uses my athleticism to move well post to post.”

 

Zach will join Brandon, Manitoba’s Max Paddock to form a formidable tandem in the Acadia crease for the future years with Paddock entering just his second season this fall.

 

Check out this highlight reel save from Paputsakis against Kingston on February 27, 2022:

 

Axemen head coach Darren Burns added, “We are eager to have Zach join the program. We know he is an extremely competitive and focused goalie, who will continue to improve as a player. His focus and maturity during the recruiting process quickly made us realize he is a great fit for our team. We believe his competitiveness will be a great injection for us moving forward.”

 

Paputsakis becomes the third recruit for the Axemen upcoming season, with forwards Bailey Peach and Liam Kidney being announced throughout this past season.

March 31st thru April 3rd 

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – U SPORTS announced today that it is moving the 2022 Cavendish Farms University Cup men’s hockey championship to Wolfville, NS to the Acadia University Campus.

“Due to scheduling conflicts, U SPORTS, Acadia University and Sports and Entertainment Atlantic (SEAtlantic) have chosen to move the 2022 Cavendish Farms University Cup men’s hockey championship from Scotiabank Centre the campus of Acadia University,” said Dick White, Interim U SPORTS CEO. “We know that the Town of Wolfville will do a tremendous job hosting the event for all participants.”

“The pandemic has taught us all that we have to learn to be flexible and adapt and while our original plan of hosting the U SPORTS Men’s Hockey National Championship in Halifax at Scotiabank Centre is no longer an option due to the required date change, we are extremely excited to be able to bring some of the highest levels of hockey in the country to Acadia University, the Town of Wolfville, and the Annapolis Valley region,” said Acadia University’s Director of Athletics, Brian Finniss.

“Acadia Athletics has one of the strongest and most passionate fan bases in the country and being able to bring this championship to them and to the community is something that our partner SEAtlantic, staff and the organizing committee are very excited for. It is going to be a great weekend in Wolfville with the best university Men’s Hockey teams in the country on the ice at Acadia University,” added Finniss.

“The most recent University Cup date and location changes guarantee that hockey fans in the Valley will have the opportunity to enjoy an unparalleled level of University hockey, the likes of which has never been seen previously. The eight best men’s varsity teams from across Canada will compete for the honour of raising the David Johnson University Cup in Wolfville. With Acadia as the host team, it doesn’t get any more home for the Axemen,” noted Chris Larsen, President of Sports Entertainment Atlantic.

 

The updated 2022 U SPORTS championship schedule is listed below:

 

Sport Host / Venue Date Original date/Host
Wrestling Saskatchewan Mar 24-25 CANCELLED
Swimming Laval Mar 24-26 Feb 25-27 / Laval
Women’s hockey UPEI Mar 24-27 – No change
Women’s volleyball Calgary Mar 25-27 – No change
Men’s volleyball Manitoba Mar 25-27 – No change
Track & Field UNB @ Saint John Mar 31-Apr 2 Mar 10-12 / UNB @ Saint John
Men’s hockey Acadia / Wolfville, NS Mar 31-Apr 3 Mar 17-20 / Halifax, NS
Women’s basketball Queen’s Mar 31-Apr 3 Mar 10-13 / Queen’s
Men’s basketball Alberta Apr 1-3 Mar 11-13 / Alberta

Note: event schedules are subject to change due to COVID-19 and conference participation

U SPORTS will announce the championship and broadcast schedules in the coming weeks.

Acadia University and SEAtlantic announcement of ticket sales will follow.

A Can’t Miss Prospect

by Craig Eagles originally posted on firstdownsportspodcast.com

Photo Credit Victoria Royals

It was my first year with the QMJHL Central Scouting Agency and I remember traveling to Blainville-Boisbriand for the Gatorade Challenge. At that time I was also working for Rogers TV as a colour analyst covering the QMJHL. I was with Rogers in that capacity for about three years, but this was my first major scouting trip. I had joined the CSR at the mid-way point of the season. It was my first chance to see players from other provinces play. I knew that Rogers was going to cover the draft that year because it was in Saint John, New Brunswick.

I drilled down on all the players that we had listed in the first three rounds to potentially enhance the coverage of the draft. Obviously, Bailey Peach was one player that was ranked very high. He was a can’t miss prospect really. It’s always great to look back on old scouting reports, but this what I wrote on Peach from that weekend.

Bailey Peach: “Potentially the best release and hands in tight in the draft, explosive player, dynamic scoring winger tremendous speed to the outside, isn’t afraid to go to dirty areas, great compete level and relentless, has to work on defensive side of his game, but is accountable and responsible, great one on one skills.”

Projection: Can be a Top 6 fwd on any team next year and can probably score at least 15 goals in the right situation. Bright future ahead for this player needs to get stronger to ensure he wins puck battles, great work ethic.”

Can’t miss prospect is one of those scouting labels that are often times unfair.

Unfortunately, things didn’t workout the way a lot of people had thought or projected they would for Peach in the QMJHL.Read more »

Acadia hockey first half review

The Axemen first half of the 2021-22 season did not go as planned; coming into the season, the Axemen looked at their four deep forward lines, strong defense, and a solid goaltending tandem, as a group that would be a strong contender in the AUS conference.

However, things didn’t go as planned and the Axemen ended their first half with a 6-12 record.

Injuries hit early… and hit again… and again. Through the first 18 games of the season, the Axemen lost an unprecedented total of 76-man games due to injuries; this led them on numerous occasions to dress just 9 forwards, and 14 skaters; and at times up to 4 of those forwards being natural defencemen. With the ultra-competitive quality of play in the AUS, we have to give kudos to those defencemen who stepped up and played up front as they were asked to do, as many hadn’t played forward since novice and atom level hockey. Not an easy feat at the USport level of play.

The Axemen played many gutsy efforts over the first half, but the short roster led to an inability to have a strong sustained offensive attack and having so many players playing out of position often led to chaotic defensive effort, as the Axemen gave up a conference high 69 goals.

Axemen head coach Darren Burns summed up his team’s first half saying, “The first half certainly did not go the way we envisioned it. However, life is never perfect and neither is sports. It was a first half where we had to continually change on the fly week to week. This presented a lot of opportunities for our players. It also gave our coaching staff an opportunity to see players take on expanded roles.”

The spotlight for Acadia was their powerplay, as they finished the first half with the top powerplay in the AUS, scoring 18 goals in 70 chances, good for a 25.7% conversion rate. Other bright spots include Axemen Captain Garrett McFadden’s continued production from the backend as he led the team in scoring in the 1st half with 20 points in 18 games. 1st year forward Adam McMaster also settled in well after making the transition to the AUS game, scoring 14 points in 18 games.

The second half of the season comes with plenty of reason for optimism for the Axemen, however. Acadia will look to welcome back a number of players from the injury list, including forwards Tyler Hinam, who was able to play in parts of just 3 regular season games due to a pair of separate injuries, winger Maurizio Colella will return after missing the last 11 games of the 1st half, and 1st year forward Keegan Stevenson, who missed the last 10 games, should be back in the lineup when the Axemen host Dalhousie on January 7th.

A key addition to the lineup will be Jordy Stallard, who has been out the entire first half of the season after offseason back surgery. He is progressing on target and is expected to be back in an Axemen uniform either to start the 2nd half or shortly after. Stallard has been a near point a game top line scorer since arriving in Wolfville in 2018, after a strong junior career in the WHL.

Lastly the Axemen still have one remaining roster position to fill which could come in handy, even if it is to add depth in case of injuries.

The return and potential addition of these players to the Acadia lineup, will allow the team to settle back into their natural positions and game plan as they look to climb the AUS standings starting on January 7th when they host Dalhousie in Wolfville.

Coach Burns expressed his optimism for the second half saying, “We are very excited to start the second half and add several pieces to the puzzle and continue to mould our team to get better each week in preparation for March.”

Acadia hosts the National UCup championship tournament in March in Halifax, and although they have a spot in the 8-team tournament based on being the host, there is nothing they want more than to earn their spot with a solid 2nd half of the AUS season.

McMaster with 2 goals in Axemen loss

HALIFAX, N.S. – The Dalhousie Tigers posted a come from behind win against the Acadia Axemen at the Halifax Forum on Wednesday night. After being down 2-1 heading into the third period, the Tigers scored three late goals to win the game and move up in the AUS men’s hockey standings. 

The visitors were able to set the tempo early thanks to a Dalhousie penalty with only two minutes gone, but ultimately it was the host who struck first. 

A quick break through the neutral zone set Barret Kirwin (Barrie, ON) free on a two-on-one with Derek Gentile (Sydney, NS). Kirwin got around the defender and squared it to Gentile who made no mistake, shooting the first time before the goaltender could get across and giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead with just over four minutes gone in the period. 

It didn’t take long for Acadia to answer, however, Just a minute and a half later the Axemen had a breakaway of their own. Adam McMaster (Beamsville, ON) danced past his defender and hit a quick wrist shot into the top corner to tie the game for the Axemen. 

Acadia almost got another goal quickly after. Dalhousie’s Reilly Pickard (Halifax, NS) made one of his many saves in the period to keep the game all-square but some shoving after the play resulted in multiple penalties and a power play for the Tigers. Dalhousie couldn’t capitalize on the man advantage and was more on the back foot for the rest of the period. 

Pickard was forced into 10 saves in the period, many of which came in the latter half of the period as the Axemen asserted themselves more as the penalties for Dalhousie started to rack up. 

The first period ended 1-1. 

Acadia started the second period on a power-play thanks to a Dalhousie penalty with 10 seconds left in the first period. The Axemen were almost able to take advantage but a shot from close range went off the post and a save from Pickard just after momentarily stopped the Acadia pressure. 

It was the visitors who got on the board first in the second period thanks to McMaster again. With seven and a half minutes gone, McMaster scored his second goal of the night. Just like with this first goal, McMaster’s second was a result of a swift transition by the Axemen and quick hands from McMaster himself to work his way around the goalie. The goal put Acadia up 2-1. 

The Tigers couldn’t get settled for most of the second period, facing 21 shots from the Axemen in the period and only mustering nine of their own. The home team was lucky not to be down more heading into the third period, mostly thanks to the efforts of Pickard in net. Heading into the third period the Axemen led 2-1. 

It looked like the Axemen would hold on through the third period, especially when the Tigers got called for another penalty with eight and a half minutes remaining. However, the Tigers were able to break through the Axemen following a line-change and were rewarded with a short-handed goal to tie the game at 2-2. Darien Kielb (Hamilton, ON) scored the rebound following hard work by Gentile to hold off his defender while going to the ice. 

With just under five minutes left in the period, the Tigers flipped the game on its head. Following another line-change for the Axemen, Dalhousie was afforded a clear breakaway and this time it was Jarrett Baker (Black Rock, NS) who finished it off and gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead that looked improbable only a few minutes earlier. 

With a minute and a half remaining in regulation time, Dalhousie finished the game off with a great solo goal from Shaun Miller (Enfield, NS) who made it 4-2 for the Tigers, which is how the game would ultimately finish. 

Dalhousie’s Reilly Pickard had 38 saves and was named the Subway Player of the Game. 

Adam McMaster had two goals to lead the way for the Acadia Axemen. 

Dalhousie’s next game comes on Friday when the Tigers play Saint Mary’s at the Halifax Forum at 7 pm. 

This was Acadia’s last game before the winter break. The Axemen’s next game is on January 7th when they host Dalhousie. The puck drop is at 7 pm.