WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen (0-0-1) were unable to complete what would have been an epic comeback in their home opener on Friday night against the StFX X-Men (1-0-0), losing 5-4 in a shootout. The X-Men seem to have Acadia's number, winning 4 of 5 regular season meetings last year as well.
The X-Men dominated the first period, scoring four unanswered, with three of them coming on the man-advantage, to take a 4-0 lead.
After taking a hit to draw the first penalty, forward and second star of the night, Kristoff Kontos scored a power-play marker, firing a wrist shot low glove side past Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves.
Near the end of the first, the X-Men added three more goals within two minutes, with two power-play markers from Jagger Dirk and Holden Cook and an even strength goal from Bryson Cianfrone, all of which beat Steeves low glove side.
Acadia responded with four goals of their own in the second, including two power-play markers to tie the game heading into the third.
The first came from rookie forward Rodney Southam, who scored the first goal of his U SPORTS career by firing a wrist shot from the slot to beat X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand.
Farrell's goal ignited the crowd, as he deked to his backhand and slid the puck past Marchand's right pad.
Acadia tied the game with 1:26 left in the period, when the puck was dropped back to defenseman Liam Maaskant who ripped a wrist shot past Marchand, sending the Axemen faithful into a frenzy.
Despite multiple chances on both sides, neither team was able to capitalize and so the game headed to overtime.
After a five minute overtime four versus four period was unable to resolve the deadlock at four, it was off to the first shootout on home ice since 2014-15.
X-Men scored twice in the shootout, with Cianfrone and Cook sneaking close wrist shots past Dawson Carty.
Following the game, Axeman Kyle Farrell was asked what was said in the locker room following the first period.
"Honestly, not a whole lot. We obviously knew we had a pretty bad start in the first. We kind of came in our own. We just said 'guys we need to just calm down'. Our leaders said relax in the room and we just kinda came together. We knew we'd get our breaks. It was just a matter of time. It was more of just staying relaxed and be patient," replied Farrell.
Before getting the hook, Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves turned aside 12 of 16 shots, while rookie goalie Dawson Carty stopped all 22 shots he faced prior to the shootout. Their X-Men counterpart, Chase Marchand turned aside 33 of 37 shots, while stopping both shooters in the shootout.
Axemen forward, Stephen Harper was named third star of the night.
While the Axemen only earned a point from the overtime shootout loss, Farrell was positive about the take-aways from the game.
"I love the character we showed in the second period. To be down 4-0, a lot of people probably wrote us off after the first, but we were alright. We have an experienced group in the room and we knew we were alright and came out in the second and scratched and clawed our way back. A positive we can take out of it is to being down 4-0 and getting a point out of it is a positive for sure," said Farrell.
Acadia takes to the ice again tomorrow night in Halifax to take on the Dalhousie Tigers, before a rematch with StFX in Truro on Wednesday Oct. 11. The next home game for the Axemen is against the Tigers on Friday Oct. 13. Puck drop for all games is 7:00 p.m.
Submitted by Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications Office