Axemen spoil X-Men comeback with overtime win

Photo courtesy Acadia Athletics
Photo courtesy Acadia Athletics

Wolfville, NS – The U SPORTS No. 7 ranked Acadia Axemen (7-2-1) won in a nail-biting 6-5 overtime game over the No. 3 ranked StFX X-Men (8-1-1) Friday night. The Axemen had built up a 5-1 lead and the X-Men almost pulled off the comeback.

There was clearly bad blood between the two teams, who combined for 212 penalty minutes. Axemen forward and Subway first star of the night, Stephen Harper, was the overtime hero, scoring on a partial breakaway as he lifted the puck over the left pad X-Men goalie Brandon Hope at the 2:05 mark of extra time.

Despite being outshot 16-8 in the first period, Acadia held a commanding 3-1 lead heading into the second.

The Axemen struck a minute and a half into the game when forward Michael Clarke came out of the corner and fed it to Chance Braid who scored on his backhand.

StFX responded before the halfway mark of the first frame, when second star of the night, Sam Studnicka scored on his second attempt after the first shot was blocked by an Axemen defender.  

Acadia regained the lead a minute later when forward Stephen Harper rushed end-to-end and fired a wrist shot that hit the top of the X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand's glove and rolled into the net.

The Axemen added to their lead on the man-advantage courtesy of Rodney Southam. Southam took a pass from Harper and rifled the puck into the top left corner of the net to give Acadia a 3-1 lead.

The Axemen pushed the score to 5-2 after a highly physical second period.  

Once again Harper connected with Southam, who buried a wrist shot past Marchand for his second power-play goal of the night.

Axemen forward Boston Leier added to the lead when he fired a wrist shot under the crossbar while falling to the ice.

Near the closing of the second period, both teams had four players ejected from the game during an exchange of words and blows that got the home crowd on their feet. Combined, the teams accumulated 146 penalty minutes and it took the referees over 10 minutes to sort it out.

By the end of the ejections, the Axemen and X-Men were left with 12 and 15 players, respectively, including their goalies.

Once the game resumed, StFX scored their first of four power-play goals of the night in the last minute of the period from Santino Centorame, making it 5-2 heading to the third.

The X-Men took advantage of a depleted Axemen team mired in penalty troubles in the third period, scoring two power-play goals early off a point shot by Michael Clarke and a redirection by Nathan Pancel.

A mad scramble ensued in front of the Axemen goal with less than a minute to play in the game when X-Men forward Bryson Cianfrone shoveled the puck past Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves to tie it up and send the game to extra time. Harper dashed the hopes of a X-Men comeback with his overtime marker.

Steeves turned aside 39 of 44 shots and was named the Subway third star. X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand was pulled after allowing 4 goals on 8 shots, while his replacement, Brandon Hope turned aside 21 of 23 shots.  

The Axemen next hit with a home game on Wednesday Nov. 8 against the Saint Mary's Huskies. The X-Men travel to Fredericton to meet the UNB Varsity Reds on Friday, Nov. 10th. Puck drop for both games is 7:00pm.

Courtesy Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications