WOLFVILLE, N.S – It was a nail-biter on Sunday night in Wolfville, as the USports No. 7 Acadia Axemen took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series with a 1-0 win over the No. 3 StFX X-Men.
The game was dominated by the goaltenders, with Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves and X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand taking second and third stars of the night, respectively.
Neither team was able to score in the first period that saw the Axemen outshoot the X-Men 11-3.
The period saw no shortage of penalties, as the teams combined for 22 minutes in penalties, including a ruckus that broke out in front of the StFX net.
Acadia nearly scored when defenseman Geoff Schemitsch broke in on the right wing and slid a pass in front of the net that slid under the pad of the X-Men goalie, but stayed out of the net.
The Axemen broke the scoreless tie at 3:11 into the second for the only goal of the period, taking their 1-0 lead into the third.
Axemen forward, and Subway First Star of the Game, Michael Clarke came out in front of the X-Men net and lifted a backhand over the glove of the X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand to make it 1-0. The goal would be the eventual game-winner for the Axemen.
"I saw the puck behind the net and I saw the puck was sort of bobbling, so I was able to pick-pocket him and came out in front, buried my head and shot. I heard the screaming, the net moved and the rest is history," said Clarke after the game when asked to recount the goal.
"We've been rolling the lines pretty consistently and everyone is doing their jobs, not too much or anyone else's job, working hard and finishing checks and we are limiting opportunities," noted Clarke on tonight's success.
By the end of the second period, the Axemen led in shots 27-11.
X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand made multiple outstanding saves in the period, including stopping two Acadia breakaways, to keep his team in the game for the third period.
Despite pulling their goalie at the end of the game, the X-Men were unable to beat Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves.
The Axemen had another breakaway in the third, from forward Kyle Farrell, but Marchand turned it aside once again.
Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves turned aside all 20 shots he faced, while his StFX counterpart Chase Marchand turned aside 38 of 39 shots in a stellar performance.
Neither team took advantage of their power-plays, with both teams going 0-for-6 on the night.
Now holding a 2-1 lead, the Axemen take to the ice again in Wolfville for Game 4 Monday, Feb. 26 starting at 7:00 p.m., to potentially win the series. If necessary, Game 5 of the series will see the teams head back to Antigonish for the series finale on Thursday Mar. 1.