Couture with 31 saves in Axemen loss

The Acadia Axemen and the StFX X-Men squared off in Wolfville to open the regular season on Friday night, with the visitors coming out on top 3-2 in a hard-fought battle.


The story of the opening period was the goaltending, as both netminders made save after save, including a number of highlight reel saves both by Acadia’s Thomas Couture, who made a glove save to rob a StFX forward of an open net, and Joseph Raaymakers, who made at least 4 saves on point blank shots by Acadia from the slot. The period ended scoreless with Acadia getting the edge in shots on goal 17-14.


The second period saw only one goal, as StFX’s Struthers buried a rebound past Couture to make it 1-0. Again, both netminders were the story, turning aside the offensive attacks. The shots after 2 periods were 33-28 in favour of the Axemen.


The teams exploded with 4 goals in the 3rd period including 3 goals within 2:22, as Bailey Peach tied the game at 1 on the powerplay when he one timed a pass from Charlie Desroches into the back of the StFX net at 3:18. Cole Nagy picked up the second assist on the goal. Then just 53 seconds later, at 4:11 of the period, Brendan Sellan put a backhander between the legs of Raaymakers to give the Axemen a 2-1 lead. Zack Jones picked up the assist on the goal.


StFX answered right back though just over a minute later at 5:40 when Declan Smith tied the game at 2. The X-Men regained the lead on the powerplay for good when Wiles let a shot go from the point that beat a screened Thomas Couture at 11:57 of the 3rd period.


Acadia pressed for the equalizer on a 4 minute powerplay late in the 3rd period but couldn’t beat Raaymakers. Final shots on goal in the game, Acadia with 51, StFX with 34.


The Axemen were without Peyton Hoyt who was serving the final game of his 3 game suspension dating back to game 2 of the SMU semi-final playoff series, and also Nick Deakin-Poot, who was serving his 1st of 2 games in his suspension from an altercation in the final game of the same SMU series.


Acadia heads to Halifax on Saturday night to face the Dal Tigers (0-1), while StFX hosts SMU (1-0).

Morgan Nauss named Acadia Team Captain

Acadia Axemen ’23-’24 leadership group pictured from left to right: Nick Deakin-Poot, Peyton Hoyt, Morgan Nauss, Hudson Wilson, Merrick Rippon, & Reilly Webb.

The Acadia Axemen are proud to announce their leadership group for the 2023-24 season. Hammonds Plains’ native Morgan Nauss will be the Axemen team captain this season, with alternate captains Hudson Wilson, Reilly Webb, Merrick Rippon, Nick Deakin-Poot & Peyton Hoyt.

Acadia Head Coach Darren Burns made the announcement during practice on Thursday, and afterwards said, “We are very proud to announce our captains for this year’s team. In taking into consideration player voting and our coaching staff’s assessment, it was clear that all of these players deserved to wear a letter; they certainly check all the boxes for what we want our program to embody.

Morgan Nauss will wear the ‘C’ . Without question, he has been a team player from day one. He is a very underrated player who always puts team first. We feel extremely confident that this group will lead our team on and off the ice this season with integrity, commitment and respect for Acadia.”


Nauss, a 4th year defenceman with the team, played his junior career with the Halifax Mooseheads and Chicoutimi Sagueneens, he was an assistant captain for Chicoutimi for 2 seasons. Over 5 seasons and 285 regular season QMJHL games, he amassed 96 points. Morgan joined the Axemen in 2019-20 and has played in 63 regular season games, with 8 points. Nauss takes over the captaincy from Jack Flaman who graduated from the program following last season.

We caught up with the new Captain, and Nauss said, “It is an honour to be named Captain of the Acadia Axemen. I plan to lead by example on and off the ice, along with many other leaders we have on our team.”

Alternative Captains Hudson Wilson and Reilly Webb, both wore the ‘A’ last year as well for the Axemen. Wilson played majority of his junior career with the Ottawa 67’s before ending his 5th season with the Peterborough Petes. He committed to Acadia in 2020-21, however the season was cancelled due to the pandemic, so is beginning his 3rd season and has played 40 regular season games, with 9 points. Wilson was an assistant captain with Ottawa in 2018-19.


Reilly Webb split his OHL career with the Hamilton Bulldogs and Saginaw Spirit, and like Wilson, joined Acadia in the cancelled 20-21 season. He enters his 3rd season playing in 51 games with 12 points.


Merrick Rippon played majority of his junior career with the Ottawa 67’s after a half a season with the Mississauga Steelheads in 2017-18. He enters his 3rd season with the Axemen after joining Acadia in 2021-22, and has played in 48 regular season games, scoring 16 points from the blueline.


Nick Deakin-Poot, split his junior career between the OHL’s Guelph Storm and the QMJHL’s Saint John SeaDogs. He was an assistant captain for his final season with the SeaDogs in 2019-20, before joining Acadia before the pandemic cancelled season in ’20-’21. The forward is playing in his 3rd season, after playing in 46 games in his first 2 seasons, with 20 points, adding 4 points in 8 playoff games.


Peyton Hoyt, played his QMJHL career with 3 teams, spending 2 seasons with the Cape Breton Eagles, before moving on to Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, and finishing his last season and a half with the Val-d’Or Foreurs. Hoyt was an assistant captain for the Foreurs in his final season. After the cancelled season with Acadia, Peyton has played in 49 regular season games, scoring 28 points in 2 seasons, adding 3 points in 5 playoff games.


Acadia hits the ice for their regular season opener on Friday night, when they host the StFX X-Men at 7pm at the Andrew H. McCain Arena. Get your tickets today at the Acadia Box Office or online at

Young Acadia team looks to grow from last year’s experience

Photo courtesy of Jason Malloy, Annapolis Valley Register editor,

The Acadia Axemen will kick off their AUS regular season on Friday night when they host the StFX X-Men at 7pm at the Andrew H. McCain Arena. The Axemen upset StFX in the 1st round of the AUS playoffs last year, knocking the X-Men off 2-0 in a best of three series. Fast forward to September, and the Acadia Axemen had a strong preseason, going 3-1, including two wins over Dalhousie and a victory over UPEI. Their only exhibition loss came at the hands of the Queen’s Gaels.


Looking forward to the upcoming regular season for Acadia, much has changed with the Axemen lineup since March, with 8 new players joining the team this year, including a new goaltending tandem. In addition to the 8 rookies on the team, the Axemen have 8 second year players, which means the players in their 1st two years in USports will make up nearly two-thirds of the team.


We asked Coach Darren Burns what he saw from his team in the pre-season, and what his team needs to work on to be successful in the regular season, he said, “The exhibition season was very beneficial and informative for our staff to evaluate our team moving forward. There were a lot of positives, but without question we have to quickly mold our team identity.


To run with the top teams in this league we will have to be meticulous in the defensive zone and very structured defensively in the neutral zone. These are definite areas of focus.


We have made some strides offensively, but we need to focus on getting pucks to the net and being more of a blue paint team. At the end of the day this is a league where you have to pay the price to gain space 5 on 5. We have a veteran D, with some nice additions to the mix, we need them to be the stabilizing force to start the season.”


Let’s take a deeper look at the forward, defence, and goaltender positions for the Axemen heading into the regular season:


The Axemen have injected much needed offensive punch by adding the Saint John SeaDogs all-time leading scorer, and Port Williams’ native, Brady Burns. The addition of power forward Ethan Ernst will be a key to success, while Brandon Mairs will give Acadia depth upfront. Acadia will look for continued progression from Falmouth’s Bailey Peach, Enfield’s Liam Kidney, Corson Hopwo, Brendan Sellan, and Cole Nagy. All had strong rookie campaigns last season scoring between 16-19 points each, and increased production will be important for Acadia to increase their offensive output from last season.

Peyton Hoyt, Nick Deakin-Poot, Zack Jones, and Adam McMaster will be counted on for their strong two way play both in their own zone as well as adding scoring pop to make the Axemen a well-balanced deep offensive team. Colin Marshall will continue to add depth for Acadia at forward. Graduating or moving on from last year’s lineup is captain Jack Flaman, Eric Henderson, Keegan Stevenson, Cole Rafuse, & Matt McKim.



The Axemen defensive corps was arguably their strongest position last season, and with the additions of Kentville’s Cam Whynot, a former 3rd round pick of the Calgary Flames, former Saint John SeaDogs captain Charlie Desroches, and the OHL’s Flint Firebirds’ Tyler Deline, this may be the strongest blue line we’ve seen with the program in years. So much so, that two of the regular defenceman in Reilly Webb and Brendan Tomilson have been moved up to play forward through the exhibition schedule. The new recruits along with returning players Morgan Nauss, Orie Mainolfi, Luke Zazula, Merrick Rippon, & Hudson Wilson will make it a grind for the opposition to play against Acadia.



With Conor McCollum graduating last season, the Axemen added two highly touted goalies coming out of the junior ranks in Thomas Couture and Brayden Peters. Couture won a Memorial Cup with the Saint John SeaDogs in 2022, along with Burns & Desroches, and starred for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies last season. He has had a very strong showing in the pre-season games he has played in. Peters played his entire WHL career with the Calgary Hitmen, and was invited to the Colorado Avalanche Rookie camp earlier in September. Acadia believes with this tandem, they will give their team a chance to win on every given night. Zachary Paputsakis is back with the team as the third goalie, and will be relied on to be sharp when called upon.


The Axemen struggled on the powerplay last year, converting on just 11% of their chances, however, based on the exhibition games, that struggle looks to be rectified as Acadia has not only converted on a number of powerplays, but the puck movement and overall scoring chances on the man advantage has greatly improved.


As is the case every year in the ultra competitive AUS conference, the Axemen will have tough competition as perennial favourites UNB have re-tooled and will be ready to defend their AUS championship, while Saint Mary’s and StFX will no doubt be in the mix again at the top of the conference. Regardless of who the opponent is for any game in the AUS, every game will be a battle to the finish.

Get your season tickets for what is shaping up to be an exciting season on the ice, and cheer on your Acadia Axemen; tickets available at the Acadia Box Office or online at

Hopwo & Peach score in Axemen victory

The Acadia Axemen wrapped up their pre-season action on Friday night in Wolfville as they downed the UPEI Panthers 2-1, to improve their exhibition record to 3 wins and 1 loss.

The Axemen opened the scoring early as Brady Burns carried the puck over the UPEI blue line and found Corson Hopwo cruising into the slot, Hopwo one timed the pass behind the Panthers Capriotti, to give Acadia a 1-0 lead at 2:41 of the 1st period.

That was the only scoring in the period, shots on goal were 11-10 for Acadia after 1 period. UPEI was 0 for 2 on the powerplay, while Acadia was 0 for 1.

UPEI had the only goal of the 2nd period as Ben McFarlane scored off a rebound from a point shot, beating Brayden Peters to tie the game at 1 at the 8 minute mark.

Axemen got into penalty trouble but were able to kill off all 4 penalties in the period, as UPEI was 0 for 6 on the powerplay after 2 periods.

Acadia split the game between their two goaltenders, and after making the switch at the midway point of the game, Thomas Couture made a highlight reel save as he dove across the crease on what looked to be a sure goal for UPEI, but the 1st year Axemen kept the puck out and kept the game tied.

The shots after 2 periods were 24-20 in favour of the visiting Panthers.

The Axemen took a 2-1 lead early in the 3rd period on the powerplay as Bailey Peach took a pass from Brady Burns, and one timed the puck into the Panthers net.

Acadia killed off a barrage of penalties through the mid point of the 3rd period, as they saw themselves down 2 men on 2 different occasions, but backed by solid goaltending from Thomas Couture, the Axemen held their 2-1 lead.

UPEI pushed for the equalizer, pulling their goaltender in the last minute and a half for an extra attacker, but the Axemen held on for the win.

Final shots on goal after 3 periods were 42 for UPEI and 32 for Acadia. UPEI was 0 for 9 on the powerplay, while Acadia was 1 for 4.

Thomas Couture was stellar in net in the second half of the game, as he turned away all 25 shots he faced.

The Axemen now prepare to open their season at home next Friday as they host the StFX X-Men at 7pm at the Andrew H. McCain Arena. Get your tickets at the Acadia Box Office or online at

Axemen with 5 different goal scorers in the victory

The Acadia Axemen improved their exhibition record to 2-1 with a 5-3 victory over the Dal Tigers on Wednesday night in Wolfville. In a rematch from last week, when Acadia downed Dal 7-1 in Halifax, the Axemen came out early with a goal at 2:50 of the first period as Brandon Sellan found Liam Kidney for a tap in, to give Acadia the 1-0 lead.


The Axemen made it 2-0 when Port Williams’ own Brady Burns scored on the powerplay at 13:09 on a pass from Bailey Peach. That would be all the scoring in the 1st period, as Acadia outshot Dal 14-4 in the period.

In the 2nd period, Dalhousie got into penalty trouble, sending Acadia on a 5 on 3 advantage, defenceman Charlie Desroches ripped a wrist shot home at 5:35 to make it a 3-0 Axemen lead. Bailey Peach picked up another assist on the goal.


Just over a minute later, the Axemen scored their 3rd powerplay goal of the night as Ethan Ernst made it a 4-0 home team lead, with Peach picking up his 3rd assist on the night.

Dalhousie got on the board at 17:43 of the period on a nice move by Tigers’ O’Rourke in front of the net before putting the puck by the sprawled out Axemen goalie to make it a 4-1 game after 2 periods. Shots on goal after 2 periods, 28 for Acadia, 13 for Dal.


The third period saw the visitors put the Axemen on their heels as Dal scored on the powerplay at 4:29 of the period on a goal by Serpa to cut the lead to 4-2. At 11:09, the Tigers pulled within 1 when Kerwin made it 4-3. Despite a strong push from Dalhousie to tie the game, the Axemen were able to ice the victory at 19:22 when Nick Deakin-Poot slid the puck into the empty net to give Acadia a 5-3 victory.


Acadia split the goaltending duties in the game with Thomas Couture getting the start and playing the 1st half of the game, shutting the Tigers out, before Brayden Peters took over for the second half of the game.


Acadia will round out their exhibition schedule on Friday night when they host the UPEI Panthers at 7pm at the Andrew H. McCain Arena. Get your tickets at the Acadia Box Office or online at

Three 2nd period goals lead Gaels to exhibition victory

The Acadia Axemen came out strong in their 1st home game of the exhibition schedule, however the second period proved to be their demise in a 5-2 loss to the Queen’s Gaels.

Acadia opened the scoring at 9:38 of the 1st period when Corson Hopwo showed masterful possession of the puck in the Queen’s zone before sending a pass to Nick Deakin-Poot, who ripped a shot past the Gaels netminder to make it 1-0. Queen’s answered back at 13:14 on a bad break for the Axemen as Queen’s Katzalay tried to center a pass that hit the defender and deflected into the Acadia net to even the score.

The Axemen would regain the lead before the period ended as Peyton Hoyt fired a sharp angle shot that found the top corner of the net at 19:16, with assists going to Luke Zazula and Brendan Sellan.

Queen’s came out a new team in the second period as they took the play to Acadia, scoring at 4:15 of the frame, the goal off the stick of defenceman Duff.  The visitors then took the lead on a nice passing play as forward Richard found a streaking Hamilton cutting to the net who tipped the pass over the glove of Axemen netminder Brayden Peters. Queen’s rounded out the scoring in the period just over a minute later as Tolnai made it 4-2 heading into the 2nd intermission.

The teams played even hockey in the third period, with the Gaels protecting their 2 goal lead. Acadia tried to open up and push their offense, which lead to Brayden Peters needing to make a number of big saves to keep the Axemen within 2. Queen’s ended the scoring on the night with an empty net goal at 19:49 of the 3rd period on a goal by Paquette.

Final shots on goal in the game were 32 for Acadia and 32 for Queen’s. Acadia was 0 for 2 on the powerplay while Queen’s was 0 for 3.

Acadia’s next exhibition action is set for Wednesday, September 27th as the Axemen host the Dal Tigers at 7pm at the Andrew H. McCain Arena. Get your tickets for the game at the Acadia Box office or online at