Southam scores twice for Acadia

WOLFVILLE N.S. – The Acadia Axemen’s preseason winning run came to an end after an overtime thriller on Saturday night against McGill University.

Hockey fans at the Andrew H. McCain Arena were once again treated to a whirlwind of a first period, and they certainly did not have long to wait for the first celebrations.

Just ten seconds into the game Axemen forward Cristiano Digiacinto redirected a Liam Maaskant point shot past the goalie for the first goal of the game. Stephen Harper was credited with the second assist.

At 4:31 into the period McGill’s Antoine Dufort-Plante struck on the power play after ripping one from the top of the circles over goaltender Dawson Carty’s right shoulder. Assists went to Nikolas Brouillard and Christophe Lalonde.

Just a few minutes later Rodney Southam tallied his own powerplay goal after tapping in a cross-crease pass from Ryan Foss at the 7:48 mark. Garrett McFadden was the second assist on the play.

With a little over three quarters gone in the frame, Phil Gilmour evened the score for McGill after a shot from the corner somehow found its way into the back of the Acadia net. Harlan Orr and Nathanael Halbert assisted.

An even 2-2 score is where the period concluded.

It took just 1:49 of second-period action for the next goal to be scored, as Ryan Penny was able to bury a Michael Cramarossa pass on a 2 on 1 rush to give McGill its first lead of the game.

Michael Campoli recorded his first point of the night with the other assist on the goal. (more…)

Flaman nets two in Acadia win

WOLFVILLE N.S. – The Acadia Axemen continued their preseason winning ways on Friday night with a high scoring win against the visiting Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus.

The first period was an action-packed 20 minutes, with both teams firing on all cylinders straight from the drop of the puck.

The Axemen opened the scoring with two quick goals in the first five minutes of action.

Garrett McFadden batted in the rebound of teammate Michael Zipp’s shot for his first of the year only 2:48 into the game. Jack McClelland had the second assist.

Only 32 seconds after the first goal, Axemen forward Stephen Harper tapped in a perfect feed from defenceman Alexander Lepkowski to tally his second goal in as many games.

The scoring for the period was just getting started.

Moncton got on the board at 7:06 into the period when captain Vincent Deslauriers pickpocketed an Acadia defenceman before heading towards goal and beating Acadia goalie Dawson Carty with a perfect shot to the far-side high glove.

With 7:48 remaining in the first, Axeman forward Cristiano Digiacinto snapped one from the offensive zone faceoff dot into the short-side top corner past goalie Alexi Thibaudeau.

A hectic scrum in front of the Acadia goal led to Moncton forward Edouard Michaud finally tucking home the loose puck from Robbie Graham’s shot with a little over 5 minutes left in the first frame. (more…)

Harper notches OT winner

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The host of the 2020 University Cup started in the right direction and took their first step forward with an exhibition overtime win against the visiting Dalhousie Tigers.

The Acadia Axemen’s bench for the 2019-2020 season had only two new faces including rookies Eric Henderson and Morgan Nauss and it was Henderson that recorded his first goal of his U SPORTS career.

Henderson was the recipient of a beautiful pass across the crease from Owen MacDonald that Henderson easily tapped in for the Axemen’s first and only goal until the overtime period.

The Tigers responded with 2:56 off the clock in the final frame when Andrew Shewfelt hammered home a rebound after teammate Jack Hanley’s shot on Dawson Carty in close.

The Tigers out-shot the Axemen 27-19 in regulation time and were 0-8 on the powerplay.

Forced into overtime after remaining tied at one after regulation time, Acadia’s Stephen Harper ended the three-on-three overtime period with a shot high on the glove hand of Tiger goaltender Connor Hicks to give the Axemen the win.

The Axemen host Moncton on Friday followed by their third and last exhibition game against the visiting McGill Redmen on Sunday.

The Tigers fall to 0-2 in exhibition play after losses to Saint Mary’s and the Axemen tonight. Dalhousie opens the AUS regular season next Wednesday night in Antigonish against the StFX X-Men.

Axemen look to Analytics for Added Edge

Brett Dickie working this week with the Axemen off-ice, on the on-ice analytics

The Acadia Axemen are hard at work on the ice, preparing for the upcoming 2019-2020 AUS campaign; a season that will see the team host the USports National Championship in March, in Halifax. But the hockey program isn’t just relying on physical and mental readiness this season, they are also looking at analytics as a potential added edge, in the ultra competitive AUS conference.

The team will be tracking various statistics and events that take place within the game, which will directly result in post game reports that will be discussed among the coaching staff. While the data will be looked at on a team basis, the main objective is on player development and giving the players an added piece of information to work with, on the ice.

Acadia will be working closely on the analytics this season with Brett Dickie. Brett has helped out with the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s last season while working on his Masters of Sports Management at uOttawa. In addition, he worked with Kinduct, a sports analytics company, in Halifax this past summer.

Dickie says of his work, “Obviously in today’s game, if you’re not conducting some sort of advanced statistics or looking at additional information in any capacity, then you probably have some catching up to do. I’m very excited to work with the coaching staff and how we can incorporate data and analytics towards the everyday decision-making process, both on a team and individual level.”

Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns is excited about the additional information from the analytics, saying, “We are very excited to add Brett to our staff. He has worked very hard in his studies of analytics. There is no question his passion for the game will be a huge help this year and ensuring we are exhausting every avenue of helping our players improve and our team get better.“

Acadia takes the ice for their first pre-season game on Tuesday, September 17th in Wolfville as they face the Dalhousie Tigers at 7pm at the Andrew H. McCain Arena.

Attention Family Members of our Acadia Axemen Hockey Team! Each year we have the pleasure of welcoming our family and friends of our Acadia Hockey Axemen to Acadia!
Our Acadia Axemen Players Family Appreciation Weekend is scheduled for September 27-28, 2019 at Acadia University. The team has two home games that weekend: one against Moncton and another against UNB. Should be a great weekend of hockey.
We will kick off the weekend with a reception on Friday evening prior to the 7:00 pm game. We will send out further information on the event but wanted to get the dates in calendars for those who can make it.

Offensive Prowess, Grit & Leadership

The Acadia Axemen will be hosting the USports men’s hockey University Cup this March in Halifax, and their lineup received a major bolster with the news of the return of defenceman Liam Maaskant and forward Stephen Harper.

Both players graduated this past April, but will be returning to Acadia University in September, looking to complete some unfinished business, in their quest to take home the University Cup this spring.

Harper, who played his junior career in the OHL has been an offensive force in his 3 years with the Axemen, scoring 101 points in 86 games, plus 16 points in 16 AUS/USports playoff games. The Hamilton Ontario native led the AUS in scoring in 2017-18 with 46 points in 30 games. Stephen was named to the AUS All-Rookie Team in 2016-17, and was named AUS First Team All-Star & 2nd Team U Sports All Canadian in 2017-18.

Harper’s final status with Acadia for the upcoming season will depend on the results of attending the Buffalo Sabres camp in September.

Coach Darren Burns shared the team’s excitement saying, “We are very excited about Stephen’s decision to return to Acadia. He is a premier player in USports hockey and obviously he will play a key part in a national championship year for us. We feel he will be an excellent leader on and off the ice. He is returning to the Buffalo Sabres camp in September and we know this will be pivotal step in earning a pro contract.”

Meanwhile, Maaskant, who also played in the OHL through junior, and served as the Axemen captain last season, will return and likely where the ‘C’ again this upcoming season. In 104 career regular season USports games over his 4 years with the Axemen, Liam notched 26 points while posting 362 penalty minutes, and 3 playoff points in 21 AUS/USports playoff games. Maaskant will anchor the defensive corps once again for the Axemen; the 6’4 215lbs blueliner is know for making the other team keep their head on a swivel through the neutral zone or pay the price on the receiving end of a thunderous body check.

On Maaskant’s return, Coach Burns added, “We are very excited to have Liam returning this year. He is an incredible leader here at Acadia, and his leadership will be crucial this season. He has gotten better every season he has played at Acadia and is an outstanding shut down defender who is one of the toughest players to play against in our league. There is no question, we need what he brings to the rink everyday in our lineup.”


21st Acadia Axemen Celebrity Hockey Dinner – Wednesday June 26th

Purchase your ticket now at

Acadia alumnus named Toronto assistant coach

Photo credit Nick Brancaccio

The Toronto Maples Leafs announced the hiring of Acadia Axemen alumnus Paul McFarland as their new assistant coach this week. McFarland, who played for the Axemen from 2006-2010, will join Mike Babcock’s coaching staff in Leafs country, replacing D.J. Smith who moved on from Toronto to take on the head coaching role with the Ottawa Senators.

McFarland was last year’s special guest speaker at the 20th Acadia Hockey Celebrity Dinner, after he had finished his first season behind the bench with the NHL’s Florida Panthers. A season that saw the Panthers miss the NHL playoffs by just one point. After a second season, alongside head coach Bob Boughner, Panthers management decided to take a different direction and brought in Joel Quenneville as the new head coach, making McFarland a coveted free agent to join the coaching staff of many professional hockey teams.

McFarland grew up in Richmond Hill, a part of the Greater Toronto Area, and went on to play four seasons of major junior hockey, with the Kitchener Rangers and the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. In his first season with Kitchener in 02-03, the Rangers won the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup. Paul has always been known for his leadership skills and work ethic, serving as the captain of the Windsor Spitfires in the final year of his OHL career. (more…)

Acadia alumnus back with hockey Axemen

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – Acadia University and Acadia men’s hockey head coach Darren Burns announced today that former Axeman Daniel Pettersson will join the team’s coaching staff this fall.

“We are extremely excited to add Dan to our coaching staff. He is a very hard-working individual and is very passionate about the game of hockey. He has an intelligent hockey mind and it’s an excellent time to add him to our staff as we head into hosting a U SPORTS National Championship. ‎Anytime you have a resource like this in your community and he’s a former Axemen, it’s a perfect fit,” noted Burns.

Pettersson played his junior hockey career from 2007-2011 with the QMJHL Moncton Wildcats and then jumped to the professional ranks from 2011-2014 in Sweden for two seasons and one season in France.

In 2014, Pettersson joined the Axemen and remained for three seasons, playing 44 games in two seasons and capturing a U SPORTS bronze medal in his final senior year in 2017. Pettersson participated in the 2017 FISU Games with Team Sweden in Kazakhstan and was the team’s top scorer in the International university championship tournament with 10 points in five games.

Pettersson’s coaching background began in the 2015-2016 season with the Acadia Minor Hockey Association Atom AA team as an assistant coach and the Peewee AAA team in 2016-17.  In the 2017-2018 season, Pettersson became an assistant coach with the Midget AAA Valley Wildcats assistant and hasn’t looked back in the coaching profession. With more than 10 years of experience in skill development and hockey school Instruction, Pettersson spent two years as a skills/development coordinator in Sweden. (more…)