WOLFVILLE, N.S. – On the back of Axemen forward, Boston Leier's (Saskatoon, Sask.) five-point performance, U Sports No. 4 ranked Acadia (14-6-1) dominated the UPEI Panthers (8-19-3) to win 8-1 on Friday night in Wolfville. Acadia scored eight unanswered goals after UPEI opened with a 1-0 lead, early in the first period.
UPEI jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, when second-year forward RT Rice (Invermere, B.C.), fired a rocket of a wrist shot past Axemen goalie, Robert Steeves (Moncton, N.B.), and off the crossbar to put UPEI ahead.
Acadia responded a little over a minute later, on the power-play, when defenseman Daniel Pettersson (Toronto, Ont.), moved the puck across the blue-line to his defense partner, Matthew Pufahl (Saskatoon, Sask.), who fired it past the Panthers goalie Matt Mahalak (Monrow, Michigan) to tie the game.
Pufahl continued to be an asset on the power-play, when Boston Leier picked up a rebound on Pufahl's point shot and buried it past a sprawling Mahalak, to give the Axemen a 2-1 lead on the man-advantage goal.
Brendan Childerley (Stratford, Ont.) capped the scoring for the opening period, when he finished a passing play with Brett Thompson (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), to give Acadia a 3-1 lead heading into the second.
Acadia held an 11-9 advantage in shots over UPEI after one period of play.
Boston Leier added two more goals and had an assist in the second to put Acadia up 6-1, and to give Leier a hat trick on the night. Leier's first of the period came from a beautiful assist by rookie forward, Stephen Harper (Burlington, Ont.).
Leier's second of the period, and third of the night, came on another great individual effort, this time from forward Samuel Fioretti (Calgary, Alta.), who danced around three UPEI defenders before throwing the puck over to Leier, who was once again wide open to put it past Mahalak.
Leier returned the favour to Fioretti roughly five-minutes later, when he knocked the puck down with his hand behind the Panthers net, on a penalty kill, and threw it out front to a wide open Firoetti, who buried a high wrist shot past Mahalak, glove side.
A few scrums broke out near the end of the period, with 22-minutes of penalties being handed out between the two teams.
Things got nasty late in the third, as another 74-minutes in penalties, including four 10-minute misconducts, were handed out on a night that saw 138-minutes in penalties between the two teams.
Acadia goaltender, Robert Steeves turned aside 19 of 20 shots on the night, while UPEI goaltender Mahlak back-stopped 7 of 12, before being pulled and replaced by rookie Panthers goalie Michael Giugovaz (Brampton, Ont.) who stopped 6 of 9 shots.
Acadia went 3-for-6 on the power-play for the night, while UPEI was 0-for-5. Acadia was also strong shorthanded, adding two markers when down a man.
Offense doesn't seem to be an issue for this team so far in 2017 and Leier pointed out that this week's practices emphasized shooting. "It's been clicking so far. We really stressed shooting pucks this week in practice and it really paid off tonight. We have had slow starts every game so far. They scored the first one and I guess that woke us up a bit but hopefully that will be different in the next game"
The Axemen take to the ice again on Saturday night against the U Sports No. 1 ranked UNB Varsity Reds in Wolfville. UPEI will continue their weekend road trip on Saturday night when they face the Saint Mary's Huskies in Halifax. Puck drop for both games is 7:00 p.m.
Source: Jacob Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications Office