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Axemen in driver's seat after 5-3 over X in quarterfinal game 1

Axemen in driver's seat after 5-3 over X in quarterfinal game 1

(ANTIGONISH, N.S. ) - The Acadia Axemen are in the driver's seat after a come-from-behind win over the STFX X-Men on Wednesday night at the Charles V Keating Centre. The win gives the Axemen a 1-0 lead in their best-of-three AUS quarterfinal series.  

Acadia's Subway player of the game was Liam Kidney (Enfield, NS) who scored the game-winner and added an assist, while STFX's Subway player of the game was Matthew Phillip (Ilderton, ON) who played a strong game and added a goal.  

It was a tight game early on, and a pair of minor penalties in the first five minutes had the X-Men shorthanded but Acadia wasn't able to make them pay. STFX came close to opening the scoring while on the penalty kill but Axemen netminder Connor McCollum (Pickering, ON) kept the door shut. 

STFX did break the deadlock at 8:50, with Logan Chisholm (Antigonish, NS) firing home a backhand off a pass from Declan Smith (Antigonish, NS). 

As anticipated, there was some rough stuff shortly after the goal, with neither of the heated rivals looking to give an inch and perhaps remembering the previous game between them last weekend, which saw 104 penalty minutes dished out on 22 penalties.  

The Axemen later had some penalty killing to do of their own, but Chisholm's goal remained the only one of the period. Shots at the end of the first 20 minutes were seven apiece.  

STFX came out fast in the second period, and the blue and white had the lion's share of possession and scoring chances early on but it was Acadia who tied the game. Axemen captain Jack Flaman (Vibank, SK) found the back of the net off an odd-man rush, with Kidney and Luke Zazula (Langley, BC) getting the helpers.  

Phillip put his team up at 11:01 with a second chance goal, with assists going to Liam Hawel (Arnprior, ON) and Matthew Struthers (Milton, ON), but a 3-on-1 just over 30 seconds later saw Acadia's Brendan Sellan (Hanover, ON) knot the game at 2-2. 

X-Men forward Zack Trott (Mulmur, ON) gave the home team the lead again, going five-hole with just under four minutes remaining in the period. 

Shots at the end of the second were 18-12 in favour of STFX as the home took a 3-2 lead into the dressing room's second intermission. 

Acadia drew even with just over four minutes gone in the third period, with Cole Nagy (Saskatoon, SK) burying one after finding himself open in front of the STFX net off a pass from Peyton Hoyt (Lincoln, NB). The visitors then claimed the lead 40 seconds later, with Kidney notching his first goal of the playoffs. 

STFX pushed hard to tie the game and went on the powerplay with about five minutes left to play but weren't able to close the gap. The X-Men pulled their goalie late but it was Acadia's Hoyt closing out the scoring with an empty netter with 29 seconds left on the clock. 

McCollum had 23 saves in the win for Acadia, while STFX's Joseph Raaymakers (Chatham, ON) made 13 stops in the losing effort.  

Game two of the series now shifts to Wolfville, NS on Friday night, Feb 17th. An Acadia victory will send them into the AUS semifinal round, while a STFX win will force a deciding Game three, back at the Charles V Keating Centre, on Sunday evening.  


Recap courtesy Matt Draper, STFX Athletics