Acadia headed to semifinals
Two-game sweep over Dal ensures hockey Axemen move forward
The Axemen hockey team swept a best-of-three quarter-final series in two games against Dalhousie. The series was the first time in 20 years both teams have met in the AUS playoffs.
The Axemen dominated play for the majority of the series’ opening game, including a strong performance from goaltender Robert Steeves and two goals from Boston Leier.
Although the Tigers struck first, the Axemen scored two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead heading into the second.
Dalhousie opened the scoring, with 5:27 remaining in the first period, when defenceman Colton Heffley redirected a shot in front over the glove of the Axemen goaltender.
Leier tied the game roughly three minutes later for Acadia.
The Axemen grabbed a 2-1 lead with 1:38 left in the first frame when Kyle Ferrell corralled the puck in the slot, waited out the goalie and fired low to the right side to make it 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Acadia began to pull away from the Tigers in the second period as Leier scored his second of the night on a power-play goal early in the second period and Cristiano Digiacinto took a pass from Chance Braid in front of the net and fired it into the open goal mouth for a 4-1 lead.
A power-play goal from Dalhousie’s Mike Evelyn in the closing minute followed Axemen forward Remy Giftopoulos’ empty-net goal Christiano Digioacinto brings the puck to the net for Acadia. The Axemen won the best-of-three series against Dalhousie in two games.
that put the game out of reach.
Axemen goaltender Steeves turned aside 21 of 23 shots on the night, while his Tigers counterpart Corbin Boes stopped 32 of 36.
Acadia’s leading scorer for the regular season, Stephen Harper, did not play in the third period of the game. Harper took an awkward spill into the end boards late in the second period, after coming into the corner of the Dalhousie zone with speed, where he took a hip-check from a Tigers defenceman.
The Axemen wrapped up the series in Halifax with a 4-2 win over the Tigers Feb. 16. In a hard
hitting, physical start to the game, the Axemen tested Boes with lots of shots early, but no threatening chances.
With five minutes remaining in the opening period, Tigers got their first power play opportunity and made it count, taking a 1-0 Tigers lead on a Alex Pawelczyk goal.
Special teams were proving to be key for the Tigers, finding another goal on their second power play chance when Chandler Yakimowicz scored on the man-advantage, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Acadia threatened with attacking pressure on the power
play early in the third, coming out of the intermission with energy. They found their opening goal when a high shot from Geoffrey Schemitsch bounced off the shoulder of Boes and dropped dead in the crease for Cristiano Digiacinto, who was at the right place at the right time to tap in the loose puck.
Just over six minutes later, Axeman Ryan Foss tied the game at 2-2 in the third frame.
In trouble late in the third period after taking their ninth penalty of the game, the Tigers defence was scrambling to get the puck out of their own zone when Matthew Pufahl fired a shot that was
deflected in front by Schemitsch to put the Axemen in front with less than two minutes left.
The Tigers pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and were able to get a few good chances, but the Axemen were able to clear the zone and Leier put the empty netter home to seal the game at 4-2.
With the win, the Axemen move on to the semi-finals against the STFX X-men with games one and two set for Antigonish on Feb. 22 and 23. The Axemen host STFX for game three on Feb. 24 and, if needed, on Feb. 26 for the best-offive series. Game five, if needed, will be at STFX on March 1.