WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The Acadia Axemen (9-16-3) won a crowd-pleasing 6-3 game against the StFX X-Men (15-10-3) in what could be a first-round match-up in the AUS playoffs.
A major brawl broke out between the two teams with 10:55 left in the third, which led to a nearly 20-minute delay, and led to the ejection of both head coaches, eight X-Men, five Acadia players and 310 minutes in total penalties assessed.
While the play was fairly even between the two teams, Acadia struck first, with a goal late in the opening frame.
Axemen defenceman Tate Olson scored the first goal of his U SPORTS career in the final seconds of an Acadia power-play.
By the end of the first period, the shots were tied 12-12 for the two teams.
The X-Men tied the game up before the midway point of the second period on a goal from defenceman Cole MacDonald.
StFX then took their only lead of the game over a minute later, on a power-play goal from forward and second star of the night, Holden Cook.
Cook, who was positioned in the middle of the left face-off circle, ripped the puck into the bottom left corner of the net to make it 2-1.
Rookie forward and Subway First Star of the Night, Jordy Stallard tied the game for Acadia with 8:58 left in the frame, on an easy tip-in in front of the net.
Acadia reclaimed their lead with just over two minutes remaining in the second, thanks to a streaking Garrett McFadden.
The Acadia defenceman and third star of the night went on a near end-to-end rush, curled around the X-Men net and threw the puck in front where it deflected off Stallard – for his second of the game.
By the end of the second period, the shots were 26-18 for the Axemen.
Following a confusing few minutes in the third period, that led to a discussion between the referees, the X-Men ended up with a 5-on-3 power-play.
Axemen captain Liam Maaskant ignited the home crowd with a goal while down two men, as he stole the puck at centre ice, broke in on a 2-on-1 and ripped the puck through the five-hole of the X-Men goalie to make it 4-2.
Then the brawl ensued and after the 20-minute delay, the X-Men responded with a power-play goal by forward Holden Cook, who scored on a slap-shot from the point to narrow the Acadia lead to 4-3.
Despite the delay in the game due to fighting, assistant coach Mike Alcoe noted it was a very positive win by the Axemen.
"I think we played a good first period. We were quite happy with that. At the start of the second for seven or eight minutes were certainly on their heals, pushing them. We got into a little more aggressive mode jumping their two defensemen and trying to get after them, and that created a few turnovers and we started to pick the pace of the game up and that really proved beneficial for us with the pace that we pushed at," said Alcoe.
Axemen goaltender Dawson Carty turned aside 28 of 31 shots, while his StFX counterpart Blade Mann-Dixon stopped 32 of 37 shots.
The Axemen head to Saint Mary's on Wednesday and then take to the ice again for their final regular season game at home on Friday, Feb. 8 against the Moncton Aigles Bleus. The X-Men wrap up their regular season play with games against UNB and UPEI next Friday and Saturday.
Submitted by Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications Office