Antigonish, NS – The U SPORTS No. 10 ranked Acadia Axemen skated to a close 4-3 victory over the StFX X-Men Friday night at the StFX Keating Centre. The teams didn't disappoint the 800 fans in attendance as it was a hard-fought, close game down to the final whistle.
The X-Men opened the scoring early on a power play marker from defenseman Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) as he picked up a nice cross-ice pass from Bryson Cianfrone (Stoney Creek, ON) and deposited it past Logan Flodell (Regina, SK) in the Acadia net 2:19 into the first period.
The Axemen evened it up five minutes later when Liam Maaskant (Clinton, ON) scored an unassisted goal off a screen shot. He followed up on his own rebound off a point shot that Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) made the initial save but the X-Men couldn't clear the rebound.
Both teams saw time in the penalty box in a scrappy first period. X-Men forward Anthony Difruscia (Thorold, ON) left the ice after a hard hit but returned before the period was over.
Regan Spears (Port Hood, NS) had a good scoring chance at the end of an X-Men power play but his shot on net missed wide.
On an ensuing Axemen power play the visitors fired some shots on goal but could not solve Raaymakers.
Declan Smith (Antigonish, NS) almost capitalized on a miscued clearing attempt by Flodell but his shot was blocked by an Axemen defender.
The 1-1 score held up after 20 minutes as the X-Men outshot the Axemen 11-6 in the first.
Acadia took a 2-1 lead just over a minute into the second period on a Garrett McFadden (Kincardine, ON) goal. He took a Mason McCarty (Blackie, AB) pass and rushed up ice, past the X defender and pushed the puck in past Raaymakers.
The teams settled in and played a more disciplined second period. The X-Men did have a power play chance but were unable to capitalize.
McCarty continued his strong play for Acadia and was rewarded with a goal midway through the frame as the Axemen took a 3-2 lead. After continued pressure on the X goal, McCarty scooped up a rebound in front and deposited it past Raaymakers.
The X-Men fought back however and tied it up with 1:25 left in the period as Daniel Robertson (Windsor, ON) whistled a shot from the point past Flodell. Cianfrone picked up his second helper of the night on the goal and Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) also assisted.
Shots again favoured the X-Men in the second period at 13-9 as the teams headed into the third period knotted at 3-3.
Play got physical early in the period and the Axemen found themselves on a 4-on-3 advantage for 1:20 but the X-Men penalty kill held them off.
StFX had several chances to score on a power play midway through the period but Flodell stood tall in the Axemen net and kept them off the scoresheet. At the tail end of the man advantage, Jeremiah Addison (Etibicoke, ON) deflected a shot on goal that missed the Acadia net by mere centimeters for a chance to put the X-Men ahead.
It was the visiting Axemen who would score next as Owen MacDonald (Elora, ON) tallied at 11:32. McFadden had the initial shot on net and MacDonald was on the doorstep in the X crease to shovel in the rebound.
The X-Men then fought off a power play right after the goal after Raaymakers was called for roughing.
With six minutes left in the game the blue and white were pressuring to once again score an equalizing goal. They went on the power play with 5:21 left but the Axemen penalty kill unit and Flodell came up big to stop all X chances.
The X-Men pulled Raaymakers with a minute in the game but struggled to keep the puck in the Axemen zone. After a timeout and a reset the X-Men still couldn't score and time ran out as MacDonald's goal held up as the game winner for Acadia.
Acadia forward Mason McCarty was the first star and Subway player of the game with a goal and an assist.
With the win, the Axemen improve to 10-3-0 on the season and remain tied for first place in AUS standings with UNB. StFX (6-6-2) are in fifth place but only six points back in a tight conference.
They next see action on Friday, November 22nd when they travel to Moncton (6-5-3) to face-off against the Aigles Bleues.
The Axemen will be back in action Saturday night as they head to Halifax to take on the Dalhousie Tigers (2-9-2). Puck drop is 7:00 pm at the Halifax Forum.
Recap courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information