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Axemen edge out Panthers in thrilling shootout win

Axemen edge out Panthers in thrilling shootout win

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - In an all-out battle, the Acadia Axemen came away with a big 2-1 shootout win over the UPEI Panthers Friday evening.

Axeman Boston Leier backhanded the puck past Panthers netminder Matt Mahalak for the decisive goal in their first shootout of the AUS season.

With the win, Acadia (18-5-2) took another step forward in securing second place, while the fifth-place Panthers (11-11-3) salvaged a point to extend their lead to three points over the Université de Moncton, as the race for the playoffs continues.

Both Brandon Glover and Mahalak were brilliant between the pipes, keeping their respective teams in the game the entire night.

Acadia's powerful power-play unit fired at will throughout the first period, but Mahalak turned away the barrage, saving all nine shots he faced to keep the game scoreless.

The Panthers returned the favour in the second, but couldn't find the back of the net despite having the man advantage on three separate occasions. Acadia's aggressive penalty kill and stellar goalkeeping by Glover kept the game at zeros. 

UPEI finally broke through at 6:56 into the third period, when Chad Labelle beat Glover top shelf for his sixth of the season, off a behind-the-net feed from teammate Marcus Power.

Less than two minutes later, Axemen's leading scorer Mike Cazzola tied the game at one apiece after one-timing it past Mahalak for his fifteenth of the season.

After a scoreless overtime period, Acadia notched two in the shootout to pull off the hard fought victory.

Despite the loss, the Panthers grabbed a much-needed point in their pursuit of a postseason berth.

The Panthers hit the ice again Saturday at 7 p.m. against the Saint Mary's Huskies at MacLauchlan Arena.

Provided by UPEI Communications Office