Axemen add 4th recuit to lineup

The Acadia Axemen are proud to announce the commitment of forward Nick Deakin-Poot to the program.

The 6’4”, 225lbs Georgetown, Ontario native is known for having good foot speed, a physical style of play, blocking shots and laying big hits, while also scoring timely goals too.

Deakin-Poot started his junior career with the Guelph Storm of the OHL, playing 2 seasons with the Storm, before making the jump to the QMJHL and joining the Saint John Sea Dogs.

In 2 ½ years in QMJHL, he a scored 69 points in 127 games, including 33 goals and 142 penalty minutes. In this past shortened 2019-2020 season, Nick was named an assistant captain with the team and had a career best 33 points in 51 games.

Coach Darren Burns is excited to add Deakin-Poot to the Axemen lineup in the fall, “We believe Nick’s play is tailor made for the AUS. He is in tremendous shape, fast, big and plays a 200-foot game. He is an excellent penalty killer who thrives in the face off circle. He is also a lot to handle in front of the opponent’s net. There’s no question he has a desire to always get better.”

Deakin-Poot joins the three previously announced Axemen recruits in Tyler Hinam, Cole Rafuse, and Peyton Hoyt.  The Acadia hockey program is proud to welcome our four new recruits and we look forward to seeing you in an Axemen uniform this fall.

Axemen add 3rd recruit to lineup

The Acadia Axemen are proud to announce the commitment of Lincoln, New Brunswick’s Peyton Hoyt to the Axemen for the upcoming season. The 5’10” 195lbs forward is a rugged winger with good speed with the ability to find the back of the net.

Hoyt is looking forward to joining the Axemen and making the jump to USports hockey, saying, “I’m happy to have joined a hockey organization with a great history. The fans can expect a very high energized player that will never give up and bring my all every night.”

Peyton was originally drafted into QMJHL #6 overall by the Cape Breton Eagles in 2015. He played his 1st three seasons in the Quebec league with Cape Breton from 2015-2018, which included 18 goals in 2017-18 campaign for the Eagles.

Prior to the 2018-19 season, he joined the Blainville-Broisbriand Armada, scoring 16 points in 31 games before being traded to Val-d’Or Foreurs where he added 18 points in 29 games. Combined between the two teams, Hoyt had his best offensive junior season with 24 goals and 34 points in 60 games.

In 2019-2020, Hoyt returned to Val-d’Or for his 5th QMJHL season and was named an assistant captain with the team and scored 28 points in just 40 games, including 14 goals.

Acadia Head Coach Darren Burns feels Hoyt will be a great fit for Acadia saying, “We are very excited to have added Peyton to our team. He is a high energy player who plays his hardest every shift. His speed, tenacity, and team first attitude will make him a strong addition to our program. We know he will be a fan favourite on the ice, in the community, and in the classroom.”

Hoyt joins Tyler Hinam and Cole Rafuse as new additions to the Axemen hockey squad. Acadia had four players graduate from the program last year, including forwards Stephen Harper & Mark McNulty, and defencemen Liam Maaskant & Alexander Lepkowski.

We are excited to welcome Peyton Hoyt to the Acadia Axemen hockey family.

Kings County native to suit up for Acadia

The Acadia Axemen are pleased to announce the commitment of Harmony, Nova Scotia’s Cole Rafuse to join the Acadia hockey program this fall for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

Cole who suited up for the Valley Wildcats Major Midget team in 2014-15 scoring 31 points in 34 regular season games, went on to be drafted in 2015 into the QMJHL as the first pick in the second round (20th overall) by the Val-d’Or Foreurs.

After 29 games with the Foreurs, Rafuse joined the Acadie-Bathurst Titan for the next 3 ½ years, winning the 2018 QMJHL Championship & then the 2018 Memorial Cup as the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) champions.

Acadia head coach Darren Burns was happy to officially add Rafuse to the Axemen hockey program saying, “We are very excited that Cole has chosen to attend Acadia. He is a player we have always had a lot of respect for, as he has a team first attitude, thinks the game well and has won a Memorial Cup. We believe he is going to be a player who will get better every year. He exudes leadership and character and is well aware of the responsibilities that come with playing hockey at Acadia. There is no question he is the type of player that teams need to be successful in the AUS conference. I know everyone in the Valley will be so excited to have one of their own in an Axemen uniform. It’s exciting for everyone here, it’s just a perfect fit for us all.”

The 6’1, 210 lbs forward had personal bests in 2018-19 with the Titan scoring 16 goals and 31 points in 66 games. He also was named an assistant captain of the team that season.Read more »

2019-20 AUS men’s hockey major awards and all-stars announced

Acadia’s Logan Flodell named AUS MVP

(HALIFAX, N.S.) – Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2019-20 AUS men’s hockey major award winners and all-stars as selected by the conference’s seven head coaches following regular season play.

Second-year Acadia Axemen goaltender Logan Flodell (Regina, Sask.) has been named the AUS MVP.

Other major award winners include Saint Mary’s Mitchell Balmas of Sydney, N.S., who was named rookie of the year; Moncton’s Vincent Deslauriers of Blainville, Que., who was selected as most sportsmanlike player; Acadia’s Liam Maaskant of Clinton, Ont., the recipient of the Godfrey Award for student-athlete community service; and Acadia head coach Darren Burns who was named AUS coach of the year for the fourth time in his career.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER (Kelly Trophy): Logan Flodell, Acadia Axemen

The Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey most valuable player is Logan Flodell of the Acadia Axemen.

Flodell, a second-year goaltender from Regina, Sask., played in 26 games for the Axemen this season. He led the conference with a save percentage of .918. His goals against average of 2.79 was the third best in AUS.

Acadia finished the regular season with a 19-9-2 record, good for second place in the conference standings, securing a bye through to the semi-final round of the Subway AUS Men’s Hockey Playoffs.

In addition to being named AUS MVP, Flodell earned a place on the AUS first team all-star squad for the first time in his career.

Flodell now becomes the AUS nominee for the for the U SPORTS Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy as the nation’s top player.

The Atlantic conference has claimed nine of the past 16 national player of the year awards.

Former Axemen standout Liam Heelis is the most recent player from an Acadia team to be named national MVP. He won the award in 2013-14.

Philippe Maillet of UNB is the most recent player from the Atlantic conference to earn the national honour. He won the award in 2016-17.

Read more »

Acadia uses final weekend to prep for playoffs

The Acadia Axemen have secured a first round bye in the AUS playoffs. With two games left to play in the regular season, the Axemen have an 18-8-2 record, good for 38 points, 6 more than 3rd place Saint Mary’s. The Axemen clinched the bye last weekend earning a point in a 4-3 overtime shootout loss to the Moncton Aigles Bleus.

Coach Darren Burns is pleased with earning the bye saying, “I believe our team should feel really good about reaching one of their goals of securing a bye. There is no doubt that we needed the time for some guys to get ready to play and back in our lineup.”

The Axemen have battled injuries all season but have continued to find a way to win through a strong defensive game, great goaltending, and a knack to find the back of the net.

Acadia has the 2nd most goals in the AUS, tied with SMU with 104, trailing only UNB who have amassed 143 goals. Meanwhile at the other end of the ice, the Axemen have given up the 2nd lowest number of goals against this season, with just 85, trailing only UNB’s 53 goals against.

2nd year netminder, Logan Flodell has been stellar in the Axemen net this season with a 15-8 record, leading the conference with a .918 save percentage.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Digiacinto continues to have a breakout season, tied for the AUS lead in goals with 19, even with UdeM’s St-Cyr. Digiacinto has an impressive 36 points in 28 games and a +13 rating, having also amassed 80 minutes in penalties on the season.

Coach Burns looks forward to the playoffs and his team’s preparation adding, “The playoffs are an exciting time. As a coaching staff we are eager to see what our team is capable of. We really haven’t had an opportunity to see how good we can be since early September during practices. We still have two games left where we must work hard to improve our game. It’s important not to overlook this weekend. We have lots to works on over the next couple of weeks in preparation for the playoffs.  This practice time will be crucial as the intensity and speed of the playoffs compared to the regular season is at a completely different level. If you’re not ready to go, you get left behind. That’s just how good this league is.”

The 1st round playoff matchups remain undecided heading into the last weekend of the regular season, with Dalhousie being eliminated from contention.Read more »

Acadia hockey – a decade in review

As we enter 2020, let’s take a few minutes to look back on the closing decade for the Acadia Axemen. A decade that saw the Axemen win an AUS championship, earn four appearances at the University Cup National tournament – including a bronze medal, 2 winners of the USports Player of the Year trophy for University Hockey in Canada, and 2 Axemen players awarded the Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation.

The Axemen have been in the AUS playoffs every year in the 2010-2019 decade, most years being a top 4 seed. In 2013-14, the Axemen achieved AUS playoff success as they hoisted their only AUS championship of the decade.

That 2013-14 AUS championship led the team to their first UCup appearance of the 2010’s; however, they dropped 4-2 and 3-2 losses to Windsor and Saskatchewan. The following year the Axemen returned to the National Tournament in the new single knockout format, losing to UQTR is overtime in their first game.

Acadia made national news at the 2016-17 University Cup, as they came in to the 8-team tournament seeded #8 and were matched up against the #1 ranked powerhouse Alberta Golden Bears. The Axemen upset the favorites with a 4-1 win to send the Golden Bears home empty handed. After dropping a 3-0 setback to UNB, the Axemen defeated AUS rival StFX 7-3 to win the bronze medal on the National stage. The following year in 2017-18, Acadia returned to UCup to face a rematch against Alberta, and this time the Golden Bears defeated the Axemen in a high scoring game 8-6.

Perhaps most impressive in terms of personal accolades, were the two standout seasons offensively from Acadia forwards which earned them the honor of top players in the Nation. Andrew Clark’s 2011-12 season was a thing of beauty, as he led the AUS in scoring, was named 1st Team All-Canadian, 1st Team AUS all-star, and awarded the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy as CIS player of the year. The following year in 2012-13, Clark was named a 1st Team AUS All-star, and 2nd team all-Canadian. Two years later, Acadia’s Liam Heelis had an outstanding season, as he too was awarded the Player of the year trophy for the USports (formerly CIS) hockey, was named 1st Team All-Canadian, and 1st Team AUS All-star.Read more »

Acadia sits atop of AUS Standings at the Holiday Break

With 18 games in the books and the first half of the year complete, the Acadia Axemen sit on top of the ultra competitive AUS men’s hockey conference with a 14-4 record. Many a night in the first half, the Axemen roster consisted of 14 or 15 skaters – 9 forwards and 5 defenceman; with two of those forwards often being defenceman playing out of their normal positions.

Despite the Axemen losing a total of 59 man games in the first half of the year, which could have been an easy way to excuse a bad first half, the Axemen refused to use a short bench as an excuse, instead they dug in deeper and rose to the moment every night.

After losing the first game to U de M Aigles Bleus on home ice, 5-2 to open the season, the Axemen then reeled off 9 straight wins. With each win their confidence built, and their strength came in playing as a team, outworking their opponents, capitalizing on chances, and backed by great goaltending. The Axemen then faced some mid first half struggles, dropping 3 of 4 games, before going back on a four-game win streak to close out the 1st half.

In looking back at the first half of the season, Acadia Head Coach Darren Burns was happy with his team’s result saying, “Our staff was very happy with our first half. In knowing we are hosting the nationals planning started close to two years ago, so we knew we were going to experience some growing pains last year in preparation, we feel as a team we have made a lot of progress over the last 18 months. It’s a positive to see the players commitment showing in the first half results.”

Looking at the different aspects of the Axemen game over the first 18 games, their powerplay is vastly improved over last year. At this point last year, the Axemen were desperate for answers as their powerplay struggled mightily, however this year, they have clipped along at a 22.8% conversion, good for 2nd best in the AUS, trailing only UNB’s 30%.Read more »

Axemen top scorer returns for fourth year

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Last spring, returning for a fourth season with the hockey Axemen was not in the cards for Stephen Harper. After graduating with his business degree in May, the 24-year-old Harper had expected to be elsewhere this fall, possibly playing hockey at a high level.

“It’s crazy sometimes how things change,” Harper said in a Sept. 30 interview. He was invited to the Buffalo Sabres training camp and rookie camp and “felt I did okay,” but “the right offer didn’t happen.”

He chose the option of returning to Acadia and taking “a lighter course load. I had thought about going elsewhere, but I’ve been here for three years, and I love it here.”

Since arriving at Acadia in the fall of 2016, Harper has always been impressed with “how big hockey is here,” and especially how the community embraces the Acadia student-athletes. “This program,” he said, “has a fan base very similar to major junior.”

Admittedly, Acadia hosting the University Cup in Halifax at season’s end was a factor in his decision. “At the end of the day, it was a no-brainer,” not to mention a win-win scenario. “Why not come back?”

With his return, Harper, Acadia’s leading scorer the last two seasons and the 2017-2018 AUHC scoring champion, believes he “can be a leader and role model” for his younger teammates, many of whom are in their first or second years.

“I see myself as a team leader,” he says. “I try to lead by example. I’m kind of low-key in the dressing room, but I believe my best asset as a leader is my play on the ice. It’s important to do the right things for the younger players, whether or not you’re wearing a letter (which Harper is this season).”Read more »