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Tigers fall short in 6-4 loss to Axemen

Photo by Trevor MacMillan
Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Game recap by: Kirk Jessome

(Halifax, NS) – In an important game for AUS standings, the Dalhousie Tigers hosted the Acadia Axemen at the Halifax Forum on Saturday night. In a back and forth, high scoring affair, the Axemen were able to come away with the 6-4 victory.

The Axemen were quick to find the opening goal in this one on a great breakout play from their own end. At his own blue-line, Stephen Harper (Burlington, ON) flipped a pass high in the air through the neutral zone to spring Owen MacDonald (Elora, ON) on a partial break, and MacDonald hit Cristiano Digiacinto (Hamilton, ON) across the slot with a hard pass and Digiancinto redirected it over the shoulder of Reilly Pickard (Halifax, NS).

Following that play just a few minutes later, the Axemen worked the puck around the Tigers zone while on the man-advantage. Marc McNulty (Medicine Hat, AB) was able to take a step off the half-board with space, and fired a high shot over the glove of Pickard as the Axemen took a commanding 2-0 lead early.

It looked like the Tigers had found a goal to bring them a little bit closer at the end of the period, as Chandler Yakimowicz (Kingston, PA) had some space to take a quick shot against Logan Flodell (Regina, SK) that was stopped, but Flodell had to be impressive again to recover to stop the rebound.

With the two early goals, the Axemen took a 2-0 lead into the intermission.

The first half of the period was quiet, but the Tigers were able to capitalize on a power play opportunity midway through. The Tigers worked the puck around the attacking zone, and Dillon Boucher (Head Chezzetcook, NS) was able to find room to walk into the slot and send a shot toward goal. The initial shot was stopped, but Boucher collected the rebound and was able to hammer it home to make it 2-1.

It didn't take long for the Axemen to make up for that with a goal of their own as Johnny Corneil (Lindsay, ON) worked below the goal line and spotted Jordy Stallard (Brandon, MB) at the top of the blue paint and Stallard quickly redirected the pass into the far side of the net to make it a two goal differential once again.

A great forechecking effort by the Tigers resulted in their second goal of the game, with Mike Evelyn (Ottawa, ON) forced a turnover in the attacking end that was picked up by Kelly Bent (Halifax, NS) who sent a quick pass through the slot for Conner Donaghey (St. John's, NL) to one-time into a wide open net to bring it to 3-2 going into the third.

As the Tigers took a penalty to cause two minutes of 4-on-4 play, the resulting faceoff was won by the Axemen back to Liam Maaskant (Clinton, ON) who wired a slap shot from the point that Pickard never got his eye on. The shot went over the shoulder of Pickard, but Stephen Harper was there to finish the tip in for the goal.

The Tigers were able to counter back with a goal of their own just minutes later, with Colton Heffley (Swift Current, SK) working the puck in the corner and sending a pass right to the top of the crease for Alex Pawelczyk (Detroit, MI) to redirect over the pad of Flodell to bring them within one.

The goals kept coming in this one, with Acadia regaining their lead once again on the power play, with Harper once again getting a stick on a shot from McNulty to make it 5-3 as he picked up his second goal of the game.

The Tigers elected to pull Pickard to bring out an extra attacker on the power play, and a hard shot from Connor Welsh (Halifax, NS) at the point was stopped, but Mike Evelyn was on the doorstep to tap home the rebound and make it a one-goal game once more.

Once again on the power play, the Tigers brought out the extra attacker, but this time Kyle Farrell (Howie Center, NS) was able to win a footrace against the Tigers defencemen and send the puck into the empty net.

The Tigers will have a week to prepare for their next game as they host the league leading UNB Reds next Friday. The Axemen will also play their next game at home on Friday when they host Saint Mary's.