WOLFVILLE, N.S – The USports No. 7 Acadia Axemen went out with a bang for their last game on home ice of the 2017-18 season, with a 6-1 blowout win over the No. 8 Saint Mary's Huskies.
Even sweeter for the Axemen is the fact that the win guarantees them a spot in the 2018 U SPORTS University Cup in Fredericton, N.B. Axemen forward Sam Fioretti was named Subway First Star of the Night for a pair of terrific assists.
Although Saint Mary's dominated the opening minutes of the first, Acadia controlled the rest of the period, taking a 4-0 lead into the second period.
Acadia opened the scoring just before the two-minute mark in the first, when forward Stephen Harper dropped the puck at the top of the right faceoff circle for Ryan Foss, who ripped a low wrist shot past the Huskies goalie Cole Cheveldave.
The second Axemen goal came from forward and third star of the night, Taylor Makin - his first goal of the post-season.
Makin took a cross-crease pass from Rodney Southam in front of the net and lifted it over the Saint Mary's goalie for a 2-0 lead.
Fioretti's first assist came when he flew into the right corner of the offensive zone, won the puck battle, spun around, and threw a pass onto the tape of Leier's stick in front of the net.
Leier lifted the puck over the left pad of the Huskies goalie to make it 3-0.
Fioretti's second assist came on the power-play, as he pulled a spin-o-rama around a Huskies defender near the blue-line, and then fed Farrell, who was wide-open in front for the easy tap in.
Saint Mary's pulled their goaltender Cole Cheveldave and put in Eric Brassard after Farrell's goal.
The second period was not as goal-filled as the first, but the Axemen did pad their lead, while Saint Mary's scored their first and only of the game to make it 5-1 heading into the third.
Axemen forward Cristiano Digiacinto scored the only Axemen goal of the period, when he came in on a partial breakaway. Digiacinto toe-dragged the puck around the goalie and tucked the puck into the net.
Huskies forward Anthony Repaci broke the goose-egg for the Huskies on a power-play late in the final period off a wrist shot from the point that flew past the screened Axemen goalie to make it 5-1.
By the end of the second, the Huskies held a 25-23 lead in shots.
Axemen forward Stephen Harper put the final nail in the coffin of the Huskies' season late in the third, when he tipped a pass from defenseman Michael Zipp into the top left corner of the Huskies net to make it 6-1.
Saint Mary's defenseman Michael Curtis was named the second star of the night.
Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves turned aside 32 of 33 shots, while the Huskies goalie Cole Cheveldave stopped 9 of 13 in the first period before being pulled. Cheveldave's replacement, Eric Brassard, stopped 16 of 18 shots.
The 2018 U SPORTS University Cup is being hosted by UNB March 15-18, and the Axemen have secured the third AUS birth in the tournament. Meanwhile, the Huskies look ahead to the 2018-19 season, as their loss to the Axemen marks their final post-season game of the season.
Submitted by Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics Communications