Hockey Axemen top Panthers in 5-2 win

Hockey Axemen top Panthers in 5-2 win

WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The UPEI Panthers (5-9-2) were unable to snap their five game skid, extending their losing streak to six, with a 5-2 loss to the Acadia Axemen (10-5-1) on Saturday night in Wolfville. The Axemen continued their winning ways, having now picked up nine of their last ten possible points.

Acadia jumped out to a 1-0 lead, early in the first, when rookie forward, Stephen Harper (Burlington, Ont.), fired one past UPEI goaltender, Matt Mahalak (Monrow, Michigan). Harper scored on a nice feed from Brett Thompson (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), who picked up the puck in the corner, before passing it to Harper to make it 1-0 for the Axemen.

UPEI answered at the tail end of the opening period on the power play, when second year forward Sam Aulie (Lumsden, Sask.) sped in and danced around the Axemen defense, before sniping the top right corner of the net past Axemen goalie Robert Steeves(Moncton, N.B.).

Acadia led 12-8 in shots at the end of the first, with the teams in a 1-1 deadlock.

Harper continued to dominate in the second, scoring on the power-play, with a one-timer from fellow rookie, Alex Lepkowski (Buffalo, New York), who had a secondary assist on Harper's first goal.

Acadia struck again, with a passing play entering the offensive zone, with fourth-year forward Tyler Makin (Lethbridge, Alta.) sliding a cross-ice pass to third-year forward Boston Leier(Saskatoon, Sask.), who buried the puck past a sprawling Panthers goaltender, putting the Axemen up 3-1.  

Heading into the third period, the Axemen were leading 24-16 in shots and held a 3-1 lead.

A scrappy third period saw Boston Leier add his second of the night, with a beautiful shorthanded marker. Leier blew past the UPEI defenders and waited out Mahalak and lofted the puck over the UPEI goalie's left pad.

UPEI responded quickly with a goal just 44 seconds later, when third-year defenseman Austin Levi (Farmington Hills, Michigan) scored a power-play goal with a hard point shot that fooled Steeves.

Axemen forward Taylor Makin (Lethbridge, Alta.) sealed the game with a goal late in the third, to put Acadia up 5-2.

UPEI scored both of their goals on the power-play, going 2-for-7, while the Axemen went 1-for-4 on the night.

Boston Leier received the Subway First Star of the Night, while Panthers forward Sam Aulie and Axemen forward Stephen Harper, took home second and third star, respectively.

Acadia goaltender Robert Steeves had another strong performance in net, a night after a shutting down the country best UNB Varsity Reds, saving 26 of 28 shots. In the other end, UPEI goaltender Matt Mahalak played well, saving 31 of 36 shots.

The Axemen have two more games before the Christmas break next weekend and both are away games. First the Axemen will take on UPEI on Friday, Dec. 2, before capping off the first half of the season against the UNB Varisty Reds on Saturday, Dec. 3.

As for the Panthers, they will go up against the Saint Mary's Huskies on Thursday, Dec. 1 at home, before finishing up the first half of the season against the Axemen. 

Submitted by Josh Foote, Acadia Sports Information Office