Friday, March 4, 2011

Axemen Stave Off Elimination

WOLFVILLE – Thursday night the Acadia Axemen scored on their first shot on goal, added another goal in the first period, and played a strong defensive game to defeat the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds 3-1 and avoid elimination in their best-of-five AUS semi-final playoff hockey series.

Ryan Graham (Mount Pearl, NF) missed the first two games of the Acadia-UNB series, but on his first shift he skated across the front of the UNB net and beat Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) with a quick backhanded shot just 52 seconds into the game. The Axemen appeared to have a lot more jump than UNB in the first period, perhaps to be expected from a team facing elimination, while the V-Reds didn't look particularly sharp in the early going. At 15:15 the Axemen extended their lead when Andrew Clark (Brandon, MB) sidestepped Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) at the UNB blue line, and then let off a quick shot on the rush from the left circle that beat Fullerton who was deep in his net and didn't have a great angle on the shot. Late in the first period was probably UNB's best scoring chance, when Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) used a skate-to-stick move to keep the puck onside and passed across the slot to Hunter Tremblay who then attempted to deke Kristofer Westblom (Meadow Lake, SK) but he couldn't get the puck past the Axeman goaltender.

The second period saw the Axemen continue their solid defensive play, denying UNB time and space to freewheel, despite playing on Olympic sized ice at the Acadia Arena. At 8:23 of the second period the Axemen took advantage of a partially completed UNB line change to create an odd man rush, and captain Phillipe Bertrand (Cap-Sante, QC) slid the puck across to Scott Tregunna (Mt. Forest, ON) who had a gaping net to put the puck into. In the latter part of the second period UNB had several chances to score, particularly for Taylor Procyshen (Emerald Park, SK), but they kept seeing their pucks stopped by Westblom or sail just over the top of the net.

UNB finally scored at 16:07 of the third period when defenceman Spencer Corcoran (Summerside, PEI) snapped a shot from the blue line that went through a crowd and past Westblom. But that was to be the last goal of the game, as Acadia kept pushing UNB to the sides on rushes, and then whenever the V-Reds did get into the Axemen zone all of the Acadia players collapsed back and took away the shooting and passing lanes in front of Westblom. The final shots were 32-24 in favour of UNB, but the Axemen got the all important 3-1 win to force a Game 4 on Friday night.

UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall wasn't particularly impressed with the V-Reds start to the game. “Now we've got a series. If we didn't realize we had a series after game two when you go seven periods, now we do. This is a great opportunity for our hockey club to see what we're all about. Obviously our execution has to be better and we have to have a better start.” He added, “We need a better overall team effort. There's a care factor. There's a try factor. But, it's got to be a smart factor. We've got to be a smarter hockey club with a little more hunger tomorrow.”

UNB and Acadia will play game 4 at the Acadia Arena Friday night at 7:00 pm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

UNB WINS!!!!!!!!!!!