Saturday, February 3, 2018

Axemen Snap Losing Streak With OT Win

The Acadia Axemen - mired in their longest losing streak in a decade - tied the game with 12 seconds left in regulation and then won it with a power play goal early into overtime, stunning the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds 4-3 tonight in Wolfville. UNB drops to 22-2-4 on the season and are now tied with St. FX for top spot in the AUS with a showdown between the two looming next Friday night in Fredericton.

- After Kyle Farrell gave the home side a 1-0 lead 5:35 into the game, Randy Gazzola (Bennett, Boland) squared the contest with a power play goal at the 1:31 mark of the 2nd period, skating down the half wall before cutting towards the net and putting the puck just inside the far post.

- Chris Clapperton gave UNB a 2-1 advantage at 6:16 of the 2nd period while shorthanded. Some nice forechecking pressure from Kris Bennett led to a turnover and loose puck near the side of the net and Clapperton was able to get a stick on it to poke it past Robert Steeves. However, Farrell knotted the game with his second of the night 8 minutes later, coming down the slot untouched and getting a pass from behind the net that he put in the top corner.

- Gazzola gave the V-Reds another lead 7:15 into the 3rd period when he jumped up into the rush and was found with a cross-ice pass from Dylan Willick. Gazzola's wrist shot eluded Steeves to give the visitors a 3-2 advantage. It looked like UNB was going to hold on for a big road win but Boston Leier was able to tie the game with the goalie pulled when he found the back of the net at 19:48. An interference penalty off of the ensuing face-off gave the Axemen a power play heading into the overtime.

- The Varsity Reds held the fort for the first minute or so of overtime and even generated a couple of scoring chances of their own while a man down. Bennett was denied on a partial breakaway and then fed Tristan Pomerleau for a nice chance in the slot, but as is so often the case in overtime, a good chance on one end is often followed by one at the other end and that was exactly what happened. The Axemen recovered the rebound and brought it back down the ice. The puck eventually ended up on the stick of Remy Giftopoulos at the lip of the crease and he was able to get the puck up and over a scrambling and out-stretched Alex Dubeau to give Acadia a much needed win.

- Shots in the game were 29-27 for Acadia.

- Peter Trainor and Matt Boudens were back in the line-up while Trey Lewis and Marcus McIvor were out.

- UNB was 1 for 4 on the power play. Acadia was 1 for 5.

- Farrell, Gazzola, and Giftopoulos were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was 1905.

- Face-offs were almost even with UNB holding the slight 35-34 edge. Mark Simpson (13 out of 24) and Alexandre Goulet (11 out of 17) were the best performers.

- After not giving up more than 3 goals in any of their first 16 games of the regular season, the V-Reds have surrendered 4+ goals in 5 out of their last 12 games.

- All three games between these two teams in Wolfville this season went to overtime. The Axemen took the first meeting 3-2 on October 20th with UNB returning the favour on December 2nd with Matt Murphy scoring the winner in a 3-2 victory.

- 9 out of the last 18 regular season games between these two have gone to overtime. UNB is 3-6 in those games.

- This is the first time the V-Reds have lost 4 overtime games in a season since 2003-2004.

- UNB has now been victimized by a power play goal in overtime twice this year. St. FX used one in November 17th’s 3-2 win.

- In other games around the AUS, St. FX rebounded with a solid 5-2 home win over Moncton and Saint Mary's throttled UPEI 9-1 in Halifax.

- The Varsity Reds play their biggest game of the season at the AUC next Friday night when they host the St. FX X-Men. Both teams have their fate in their own hands as they can each clinch first place with a regulation win. Game time is 7PM.