Friday, October 30, 2015

Axemen Outlast V-Reds In Shootout

Acadia Axemen forward Zachary Franko is proving to be a thorn in the side of the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. The sophomore, who scored an overtime winner at the AUC last season, once again came through in extra time, tonight in a shootout, to give the visiting Acadia Axemen a 3-2 victory over the previously undefeated V-Reds tonight at the AUC.

This was a game in which one could argue the turning point was the very 1st period as Acadia, and goaltender Brandon Glover in particular, weathered a storm. The V-Reds took the game's first nine shots and out-shot the Axemen 18-6 overall in the opening 20 minutes, but they were only able to gain a 1-0 lead. With 58 seconds left in the period Cameron Brace forced a turnover at centre ice and went in on a 2-on-1. Brace used Tyler Carroll as a decoy and snapped the puck past Brandon Glover.

UNB continued their dominance into the 2nd period but two quick Axemen goals, at 7:55 and on a 5-on-3 power play at 9:40, gave Acadia the lead and got them back on track. From that point on the game was much more evenly played. The V-Reds managed to tie the game with another last minute goal, this time at 19:37 when Cameron Critchlow (Boudens, Suellentrop) drove hard to the net and shoveled in a loose puck during a scramble in the slot. Shots in the period were 14-7 for UNB.

Outside of a Acadia power play just after the midpoint of the 3rd period the final 30 minutes of the game were largely uneventful. The shots were even 8-8 in the 3rd and Acadia held a 4-3 advantage during the 10 minute 4-on-4 overtime period. The V-Reds ultimately out-shot the Axemen 43-25 in the game.

The game headed to a shootout and after the first five shooters all failed, including Brace, Caissy, and Maillet, Franko was able to end the game after deking V-Reds goalie Alex Dubeau and sliding a backhander between his legs for the game winner.

- Jordan Murray made his return to the line-up tonight, but Marcus McIvor and Stephen Anderson both remained out.

- UNB went 0 for 3 on the power play. Acadia clicked on 1 out of their 5 opportunities.

- The V-Reds won 37 out of the 63 face-offs in the game.

- Axemen goalie Brandon Glover had a nice bounce back game after surrendering 3 goals on 5 shots in his last game at the AUC, which was game 1 of last season's AUS Finals.

- Glover, Brace, and Franko were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was 1948.

- The two teams combined to hit a handful of posts and crossbars in the game.

- This is the 3rd straight year Acadia has beaten UNB at the AUC and all 3 games have been decided in extra time (2 in a shootout and 1 in overtime). Interestingly, the last time UNB lost a conference home game in overtime/shootout to a team OTHER than Acadia was a 3-2 overtime loss to Moncton in January of 2009. Since then they are 1-3 against Acadia in such games and 8-0 against the rest of the AUS.

- It is the 6th straight season Acadia has beaten UNB. The V-Reds haven't swept the Axemen in a season series since the 2009-2010 campaign.

- UNB has now lost 8 out of their last 15 games against Acadia, although 4 of those games have been decided after regulation so their record is 7-4-4.

- Despite that, the V-Reds are still 22-0-3 in their last 25 games against Acadia at the AUC.

- Elsewhere around the conference this evening, St. FX picked up a 5-3 home win over St. Thomas, Moncton doubled Dalhousie 4-2 in Halifax, and Saint Mary's won by the same 4-2 score in Charlottetown against UPEI.

- The Varsity Reds won't have too much time to dwell on this one as they will face another stiff test tomorrow night when the Saint Mary's Huskies come to town for a Halloween night battle between two nationally ranked teams. Game time is 7PM.