Peach, Flaman, & Sellan score for Acadia

Photo courtesy of Bryan Kennedy

Antigonish, NS – The STFX X Men snapped a three-game losing streak with a convincing 6-3 victory over the visiting Acadia Axemen at the Charles V. Keating Centre on Saturday night. 

The Axemen came out quick in the first five minutes, holding the majority of possession and quality shots in the early going. STFX had a few chances in a row off a scramble during a powerplay later in the period but Acadia goalie Conor McCollum (Pickering, ON) and the stingy Axemen defence kept the score at zero though the first 10 minutes. 

It’s was STFX’s Adam Holwell (St. John’s, NFLD) who broke the tie, going high on the glove side with a clapper from the wing while shorthanded for his second goal of the season. Acadia however tied it up just over three minutes later, with Bailey Peach (Falmouth, NS) jumping on a loose puck in front of the X net.  

Josh Nelson (Lockport, IL) put the X-Men up again just over a minute later, showing off his hands off a feed from Zack Trott (Mulmur, ON) and Liam Hawel (Arnprior, ON). Shots at the end of the period were 17-15 in favour of Acadia. 

Trott made the game 3-1 with just over six minutes gone in the second, knocking the puck out of the air off a Jacob Hudson (Antigonish, NS) shot on the powerplay. STFX almost added to their lead with about five minute left in the period, but McCollum made a great cross crease save. 

The chippy play continued through most of the period, with the teams incurring 80 minutes in penalties over the first 40 minutes of play. Shots at the end of the second were 26 apiece as STFX held onto the 3-1 advantage. 

Acadia cut into the lead with almost four minutes gone in the third, with Jack Flaman (Vibank, SA) potting one off a shorted handed 2-on-1 from Luke Zazula (Langley, BC).  

About three minutes later, Connor Roberts (Owen Sound, ON) notched his fourth goal of the season and made it a two goal lead once again.  STFX added another three minutes later, with Roberts firing one that got stopped but Nelson banged in the rebound for the home team three minutes later.  

X-Men defenseman Clark Webster (Kensington, PEI) tallied his first goal of the season two minutes later, off a pass from Matthew Struthers (Milton, ON), but Acadia responded quickly, with Acadia’s Brendan Sellan (Orangeville, ON) making the score 6-3.  

STFX netminder Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) had 34 saves in the win while McCollum made 29 saves in the loss. Shots at the end of the game were 37-35 in favour of Acadia.  

Nelson’s two goal performance earned him first star and Subway player of the game honours, while Roberts picked up the second star and Acadia’s Flaman was named third star.  

The X-Men next take to the ice on January 13, when they will travel to Moncton. As for the Axemen, they will host St. Mary’s next Friday. 

-30- 

Recap courtesy Matt Draper, STFX Athletics 

Morgan Nauss scores for Acadia in loss

The Dalhousie Tigers Men’s hockey team welcomed the Acadia Axemen to the Halifax Forum on Friday night for both teams’ first game of the new year. 

 

The Tigers wasted no time bringing the offense to 2023 as Campbell Pickard (Halifax, NS) deposited a quick shot off a rebound, just 35 seconds in for a 1-0 lead. The Axemen would respond with several good shifts of their own, cycling the puck in the Tigers zone, which resulted in a great opportunity for Hudson Wilson (Toronto, ON).  

 

Acadia’s pressure continued, testing Dalhousie goaltender Connor Hicks (Kanata, ON), but he stood tall. With less than two minutes remaining in the opening frame, Acadia would head to the powerplay for the first time where some pretty passing saw Liam Kidney (Enfield, NS) get a great chance in front, but was denied by Hicks. Other than the physicality picking up, not much more would change through the end of the first, as Dalhousie took a 1-0 lead into the second, despite being heavily out-shot by the Axemen. 

 

Carrying their momentum forward, Acadia came out flying for the second period as Adam McMaster (Beamsville, ON) got a clear shot on net and the Axemen would draw a penalty for their second powerplay of the game. Coming ever so close Bailey Peach (Falmouth, NS) hit the crossbar with a laser from the blue line, but it remained a one-goal game. Finding some energy on the penalty kill, the Tigers responded with several shifts of their own in the Axemen zone, resulting in a beautiful wraparound goal by Matt Green (Hammonds Plains, NS) to make it 2-0 Dalhousie.  

 

Midway through the period, Acadia would head to the man advantage for a third time, but some big blocks by the Tigers defense kept it 2-0. Dalhousie’s powerplay would get their first opportunity with seven minutes left and saw both teams ring the puck off the post, but the Tigers held the two-goal lead into the third period.  

 

The Tigers would return to the powerplay to start the final period, but this time it was the Axemen penalty kill coming up big to hold strong. Dalhousie would go on to take two more penalties in the last frame, giving Acadia several opportunities leading down to four minutes remaining. The last powerplay would come to an abrupt end however as the Axemen took a major penalty. 

 

With the Acadia goalie pulled, the Tigers would add an empty net goal from Pickard, for his second of the game to make it 3-0. The Axemen would spoil the shutout, however, adding a goal from Morgan Nauss (Hammonds Plains, NS) with just seconds remaining in the game, for a final score of 3-1. 

 

Goaltender Connor Hicks took home the Subway Player of the Game award for the Dalhousie Tigers 

 

The Dalhousie Tigers won their second straight, improving to 3-15-0-1, and will look to keep it going against Saint Mary’s Saturday at 7:00 pm. 

 

Acadia drops to 5-11-2-1 and will look to bounce back when they travel to play the X-Men in Antigonish Saturday at 7:00 pm 

Axemen add 2022 Memorial Cup winning goaltender starting in the 2023-24 season

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome goaltender, Thomas Couture to the program for September 2023.

Thomas, from Levis, Quebec, has played the past 3 years in the QMJHL, winning a Memorial Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs in 2021-22, and led the QMJHL with 29 wins on the season.

At the time of writing this article, Thomas played 66 regular season games with a 45-13-6 record, a .906 SV% and a 2.79GAA.

Couture is excited to enroll at Acadia and join the Axemen hockey program saying, “I chose Acadia University because I feel like this is the best place for me to excel on and off the ice. The fit with coach Darren Burns was good and my parents also loved their meeting with him, so this decision wasn’t a really hard one for me. Studying in English and coming back to the Maritimes was a priority for me and Acadia provides me with both.”

After starring in the QMAAA midget league in 2018-19 and 2019-20 with the Levis Chevaliers, with a 43-5-0 record, he got a small taste of the QMJHL when he played 3 games with the Rimouski Oceanic in ’19-‘20.

In 2020-21 with the shortened pandemic season, Thomas split time in the MJHL and AJHL.

2021-22 was a breakout season starting with the Moncton Wildcats where Couture went 11-5-2 in 18 games before being acquired by the Saint John Sea Dogs where he went 18-1-1 in 22 games.

After the Memorial Cup win, the Sea Dogs sent the netminder to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies where he has played in 23 games up until the holiday break, with a 14-7-2 record.

Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns is pleased with suring up his goaltending tandem for the upcoming years, saying, “We are extremely happy to have Thomas committed to Acadia for next season. He is a top quality person and an extremely well regarded goalie. We have got excellent reports from those we rely on for goaltending assessments and there is no question that Rouyn-Noranda has an excellent track record for developing goalies. He is a player who is well respected in the Quebec league and there is no question his commitment will be instrumental in building the team we want for next season.”

Couture, the first official Axemen recruit announced for the 2023-24 season, will join Zachary Paputsakis in the Axemen crease, with 5th year netminder Conor McCallum graduating from the program this spring.

When asked what Axemen fans can expect from him in net next season, Couture said, “You can expect a technical goalie that plays a calm game but isn’t afraid to get outside of his structure to make the desperation saves. I may not be the tallest but I’m a fast goalie that plays big.”

Axemen eager for more after gaining 1st half experience

We’ve hit the holiday break in the AUS season, so let’s take a look back at the first half of the season for the Acadia Axemen.

The Axemen came into the season with a total of 9 new recruits joining the program, including six 1st year forwards, 2 defensemen and 1 goalie. A tall order to initiate nearly half of the team into the fast paced, ultra competitive AUS conference. But the Axemen came out of the gate strong winning 2 of the first 3 games of the regular season before falling into a lull through mid October to mid November going 1-8-1.  The team found their stride heading into the holiday break, earning points in 4 straight games and going 2-1-1-1 in their last 5 games. Acadia currently sits in 6 place in the AUS, just 4 points back of the 5th place StFX X-Men.

 

Acadia Axemen head coach Darren Burns was pleased with his team’s progress saying, “To me, looking at the first half, it needs to be assessed in two parts. This was a very important year for the program coming out of the last two fragmented years and graduating so many players. It was crucial we got the right people to strengthen our foundation and culture and we feel extremely confident we have done that. This, mixed with great leadership by our veterans, has proven to create a positive first half. On the ice surface we feel the team grew immensely over the first half. We had a strong finish, as players got used to the league. We liked what we saw when we had our full line up. At the same time, it has made us hungry to want more and we believe our players feel the same. That being said, everyone knows the league is going to another level in the 2nd half, that’s just the way the AUS is.”

 

In terms of individual players, forward Liam Kidney, of Enfield, got off to a hot start with 6 goals in his first 6 games and continues to lead the team with 7 goals and 12 points over 18 games.

 

Falmouth’s Bailey Peach had a strong first half in his 1st season with Acadia, with 10 points in 17 games, good for second on the team; tied with fellow rookie Brendan Sellan, who came on late in the 1st half with 6 points in his final 8 games.

 

Corson Hopwo came on strong with 8 points, before being injured in the 2nd last game before the break, while Cole Nagy continues to impress at both ends of the ice with every AUS game he adds to his resume.

 

2nd year centreman Adam McMaster had 9 points, while Peyton Hoyt had 7 points in 15 games. Nick Deakin-Poot also excelled to start the season, laying the body on the opponents every chance he had, scoring 6 points in 12 games despite injuries which forced him out of the lineup for 6 games.

 

Captain Jack Flaman, assistant captain Eric Henderson, and forward Keegan Stevenson began to find their scoring touch late in the 1st half, and will be counted on for continued leadership and secondary scoring in January.

The Axemen greatest strength may have been their defense. The returning 6 defenseman have led the way, with the shotblocking extraordinaires Orie Mainolfi and Morgan Nauss, getting in lanes and taking away scoring chances. Luke Zazula has pitched in on offense with 6 points, and Merrick Rippon has increased his offensive prowess this season with 9 points in 15 games. Assistant captains Reilly Webb and Hudson Wilson have brought strong leadership and continue to force opponents to earn every inch, the full length of the ice. Brendan Tomilson has been a strong addition on the blueline, also showing versatility stepping in to play forward when called upon.

 

In goal, 5th year netminder Conor McCollum has emerged as the starting goalie throughout the first half, starting 11 games with a 5-4-2-1 record with a .895 Save Percentage and 3.11 Goals Against Average. While 1st year Axemen Zack Paputsakis has been strong despite still looking for his 1st win on the season, he has given Acadia a chance to win in each of his 7 starts on the season, with a 2.89 GAA and .908 SV%.

 

The Axemen will get a boost on the offensive side going into the 2nd half as they have added former Halifax Mooseheads centremen Zack Jones to the team. The extra scoring punch may be just what Acadia needs to continue their push in the standings as they head into January.

 

As Coach Burns concluded, looking forward to coming out of the break, “It’s about to get faster and tougher starting in January and it’s up to our staff to prepare our players for this. We are looking forward to this challenge. At the end of the day, we were impressed with our team’s commitment. However bigger challenges lie ahead, and we look forward to taking them head on as a team.”

 

With 12 games remaining in the regular season, the Axemen will look to come out of the holiday break strong when Acadia returns to the ice on January 6th .  They will look to avenge a 3-2 loss to the Dalhousie Tigers in the final game before the break, when they travel to Halifax to face the Tigers at 7pm at the Halifax Forum.

Former Moosehead centreman commits to Acadia

QMJHL – Halifax Mooseheads vs Shawinigan Cataractes – Halifax Mooseheads C, Zack Jones (42). Scotiabank Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia – February 1, 2020. (Trevor MacMillan/Halifax Mooseheads)

The Acadia Axemen are proud to welcome Zack Jones to the hockey program, he will join the team starting in the January.

 

Jones is a Bridgewater, MA, in the United States, and played the last 3 years in the QMJHL with the Halifax Mooseheads. The 5’9” center is a left-handed shot, who will add an offensive punch to the Axemen lineup, having scored 38 goals and 85 points in 158 regular season games with the Mooseheads.

 

We asked Zack what made him choose Acadia, he said, “Acadia University seems like a great school and I am very excited to attend. Living in Halifax for the last few years, I have heard nothing but great things as a school. It checks off everything I was looking for in a hockey program, and after talking with the coaching staff it was a great fit for me.”

 

In the 2019-20 season he had 15 goals and 34 points in 63 games. The shortened 2020-21 season saw him put up 13 points in 29 games, and last season he had his best season in the QMJHL, with 18 goals and 38 points in 66 games.

 

Coach Darren Burns likes the addition of the centreman saying, “Zach will be a very welcome addition to our team. He plays with a lot of pace works extremely hard and has an excellent reputation as a teammate. He’s a player we were looking to add this past off season. To be able to bring him in now will help us. He is tailor made for AUS hockey and with his addition we have immediately gotten better.

 

Prior to joining the Mooseheads, Zack was an All-Star in the National Collegiate Development Conference with the Boston Junior Bandits where he scored 35 points (4 goals 31 assists) in 50 games. The NCDC is a league comprised of 16 to 20-year-old players. Jones also had 53 points (22 goals 31 assists) in 2017-18 with the U16 Boston Junior Bandits.

 

We asked Jones what Axemen fans can expect to see from his game in January, he said, “the Axemen fans can expect a hard-working, fast skater and a playmaker. I like to play hard in the D zone first, before getting into the offense. With saying that, I can bring offensive production as well and will do whatever it takes to help our team win games.”

 

Jones and the Axemen will return to AUS regular season action, following the holiday break, on January 6th as they face the Dalhousie Tigers at the Halifax Forum.

Zazula named to USports ‘Team AUS’

TORONTO – For the eighth time since 2015, a team of U SPORTS men’s hockey all-stars will be facing members of Canada’s National Junior Team Selection camp as a part of its preparation for the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championship.

U SPORTS has selected players exclusively from the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) conference to represent the All-Star team and face Team Canada’s hopefuls in a pair of games at the Avenir Centre in Moncton on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. AT and Dec. 12 at 12 p.m. AT.

Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.avenircentre.com

The U SPORTS squad is loaded with firepower, as the Top 10 AUS scorers have all made the roster, with every player scoring at a greater than a point-per-game clip. The team will be led by AUS leading scorer Liam Hawel from the STFX X-Men, who has posted 27 points in 18 games this season (12-15-27). The former Soo Greyhound and Kitchener Ranger also played seven games for the Laval Rocket of the AHL in the 2020-21 season before joining the X-Men for the 21-22 campaign where he scored 18 goals and added 19 assists.

The U SPORTS defence is led by UPEI Panthers blueliner Matthew Brassard. The former Barrie Colt and Niagara Ice Dog is the leading point-getter amongst rearguards in Canadian university men’s hockey with 23 points in 18 games (3-20-23). Legendary UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall, who will also oversee the U SPORTS entry at the upcoming FISU Winter World University Games in Lake Placid, New York, will guide the All-Star team with six members of his UNB REDS, including fourth year forward Brady Gilmore (3-16-19)

“This is an excellent opportunity for U SPORTS to show our continued support for Hockey Canada in helping them best prepare the Canadian World Junior Team for the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Atlantic Canada,” said Lisette Johnson-Stapley, Chief Sport Officer of U SPORTS. “We are honoured to be invited annually to the selection camp, while simultaneously showcasing some of the best talent Canadian university hockey has to offer. We greatly appreciate Hockey Canada’s support in hosting some of Canada’s top university players.”

Hockey Canada’s National Junior Team has faced various U SPORTS competition on a regular basis since 1988. U SPORTS began its current All-Star team format in 2015 and in seven previous camps has a 6-6-1 record.

U SPORTS MEN’S HOCKEY ALL-STAR ROSTER

Name / Nom Pos Hometown / Ville natale Yr/Année Team/Équipe
Jonah Capriotti G Mount Hope, ON 2nd UPEI
Matthew Welsh G Halifax, NS 3rd Saint Mary’s
Noah Carroll D Strathroy, ON 5th UNB
Adam McCormick D Woodstock, NB 2nd UNB
Yann-Felix Lapointe D Granby, QC 2nd Moncton
Justin MacPherson D Richmond Hill, ON 2nd Saint Mary’s
Matthew Brassard D Barrie, ON 4th UPEI
Ross MacDougall D St. Stephen, NB 4th UNB
Luke Zazula D Langley, BC 2nd Acadia
Vincent Deslauriers F Ste. Anne-des-Plains, QC 5th Moncton
TJ Shea F Tignish, UPEI 4th UPEI
Kyle Maksimovich F Hamilton, ON 4th UPEI
Troy Lajeunesse F Dokis, ON 5th UPEI
Mika Cyr (INJ)

*will not play

F Sainte-Anne-de-Madawaska, NB 2nd Moncton
Nathael Roy F St-Redempteur, QC 2nd Moncton
Matthew Struthers F London, ON 2nd STFX
Liam Hawel F Kanata, ON 2nd STFX
Austen Keating F Kitchener, ON 3rd UNB
Brady Gilmour F Cobourg, ON 4th UNB
Jason Willms F Kitchener, ON 3rd UNB
Shaun Miller F Cole Harbour, NS 3rd Dalhousie
Andrew Coxhead F Fall River, NS 2nd Saint Mary’s
Jacob Hudson F Antigonish, NS 2nd STFX

TEAM STAFF

Gardiner MacDougall Head Coach UNB
Forbes MacPherson Assistant Coach UPEI
Derek Cormier Assistant Coach Moncton
Tyler Naugler Assistant Coach SMU
Christopher Becker Equipment Manager UNB
Jordan Lamontagne Equipment Manager Moncton