Axemen nip X-Men in overtime

Photo credit Bryan Kennedy
Photo credit Bryan Kennedy

Antigonish, NS - The Acadia Axemen went into the Christmas break on a high note, dropping the STFX X-Men 5-4 in overtime, with defender Merrick Rippon (Ottawa, ON) ending the game and sealing the win Wednesday night at the Antigonish Arena.

Acadia had it over the X Men in the early going, hemming the home team into their own zone and not allowing much in the way of offence. The X-Men picked up the pace later in the period, and produced a couple of solid scoring chances on a power play but Acadia goalie Connor McCollum (Pickering, ON) was up to the task. There was a bit of the rough stuff too, with neither team backing down from the other.

Acadia lit the lamp first with about six minutes left to play, with Axemen defender Hudson Wilson (Toronto, ON) one-timing a face off win by centre Cole Nagy (Saskatoon, SK) into the back of the X net.

With five seconds left in the period, Nagy added a goal himself, knocking one home after the puck bounced in front of the X net from the boards. Brendan Tomilson (Cameron, ON) and Liam Kidney (Enfield, NS) assisted.

Shots at the end of the first period were 13-7 in favour of Acadia as they held a 2-0 lead on the scoreboard.  

Acadia looked to increase their lead on an early powerplay in the second period, but the X penalty killers did their job. Shortly thereafter, a nifty passing play from Zack Trott (Mulmur, ON) and Matthew Struthers (Milton, ON) resulted in Jacob Hudson (Antigonish, NS) potting his ninth goal of the season for the blue and white with just over three minutes played.

The game opened up at that point and it was STFX's Josh Nelson (Lockport, IL) tying the game three minutes later, roofing one short side off a pass from Ethan Crossman (Sackville, NB) and Connor Roberts (Owen Sound, ON). 

The tie score was short lived though, with Kidney notching his seventh of the season off an assist from Brendan Sellan (Orangeville, ON), giving Acadia the lead.  

The teams continued to exchange chances for the rest of the period but the score remained 3-2 for the visitors after 40 minutes. Shots at the end of the period were 22-20 in favour of the X-Men.

A late penalty in the second left STFX shorthanded to start the third, and X goalie Lucas Pfeil (Owen Sound, ON) had to come up with some big saves early.

Another big bounce off the backboards led to another Acadia goal with about five minute gone, with Sellan batting one home, and Tomilson and Rippon assisting. STFX answered 28 seconds later though, with Nelson hitting paydirt for his second goal of the game, off assists from Clark Webster (Kensington, PE) and Patrick Kyte (Pembroke, ON). 

The X-Men had a two-man powerplay about halfway through the period, and it was Hudson who knotted the game at four, scoring his second of the game off a rebound from a Struthers shot, with Trott getting the other assist. 

With just under seven minutes left to play, STFX appeared to score but the goal was called off due to a high stick. The teams continued to battle but regulation solved nothing and they went to overtime.

The X-Men had a 4-on-4 power play for the first 1:30 of overtime but could not solve McCollum. After stopping several other X scoring chances, the Axemen went on a 2-on-1 rush, setting the stage for Rippon's game winner, coming off assists from Sellan and Peyton Hoyt (Lincoln, NB).

McCollum made 31 saves on the night for the win, while Pfeil had 28 stops in the X net.

With two goals on the night, Nelson was the first star and Subway player of the game, while teammate Hudson garnered the second star, also netting a pair of goals. Acadia's Rippon was the third star of the game.

The X Men resume play on December 2nd when they head to Halifax to take on Saint Mary's, while Acadia is back at it on December 3rd when they play Dalhousie, also in Halifax.


Recap courtesy Matt Draper, STFX Athletics