WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The StFX X-Men took a stranglehold on the best of five semi-final series with a 4-2 win over the host Acadia Axemen. Despite holding a 12-3 home record in the regular season, the Axemen are now 0-2 in Wolfville during the playoffs and will need a win on Monday in Antigonish to keep the series alive.
StFX scored three goals in the first period, with the game winner coming from a power-play goal from defenseman Jagger Dirk (Penticton, B.C.) late in the first.
StFX managed to hold off a surging Acadia team in the third for the victory and 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
"We knew they would push hard with us getting the first one, so we had to come out hard too", said the Subway First Star of the Game X-Man Eric Locke. "Our starts have been unbelievable and we've let up a bit but our chances have been there and we pulled another win out"
Three of the X-Men's goals came on the man-advantage. "Our power-play was huge to get us some goals early tonight. We like to move the puck quickly on the big ice and spread them out and attack the net when the play is there", noted Locke.
For the second night in a row, the StFX X-Men held a two-goal lead by the end of the first period and up 3-1 heading into the second.
The first X-Men goal came just over a minute into the opening period from forward Eric Locke (Toronto, Ont.).
Locke scored on a rebound that came off Axemen goaltender Devin Williams' (Detroit, Michigan) pad, giving the X-Men an early 1-0.
Just over two minutes later, the X-Men added to their lead with a power-play goal from Holden Cook (Oshawa, Ont.). Cook dove for puck in front of the net, and shoveled it by Williams to put the X-Men up by two.
StFX continued their scoring streak in the first with a second power-play goal. Jaggar Dirk fired a wrist shot from the point that beat Williams high right side to put the X-Men up 3-0.
It was at this point that the Acadia bench decided to pull Williams in favor of Robert Steeves (Moncton, N.B.) who started between the posts in game one.
Acadia responded with a power-play goal of their own late in the first. Daniel Pettersson (Toronto, Ont.) scored his first of two goals against StFX goalie Chase Marchand (Halifax, N.S.).
StFX outshot the Axemen 12-4 in the opening period, with Acadia registering their first shot of the game after the halfway point of the first frame.
Following a StFX dominated first, Acadia had a much stronger showing in the second. Despite 10 shots from each side in the second, neither team was able to capitalize and so the game remained 3-1 for StFX heading into the third period.
Daniel Pettersson scored his second of the night, 6:26 into the third, to put Acadia within one.
That was as close as the Axemen would get, as X-Men forward Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, N.S.) scored on the empty net with under a minute remaining to solidify the 4-2 X-Men win.
Axemen goalie Devin Williams turned aside 3 of 6 shots, before being pulled for Robert Steeves, who posted a shutout stopping all 23 shots he faced. Meanwhile, StFX goalie Chase Marchand stopped 28 of 30 shots.
Axeman forward Daniel Pettersson and StFX forward Holden Cook were named the second and third stars respectively.
Play will shift to Antigonish, on Monday, Feb. 27 for game three of the best of five semifinal series. If necessary game four will go Tuesday, Feb. 28 in Antigonish and game five will return to Wolfville on Thursday, March 2. Puck drop for all games is 7:00pm.
Source: Josh Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications Office