By John DeCoste
Second place and a first-round playoff bye is now out of the question for the Acadia hockey Axemen after suffering a pair of disappointing losses last weekend.
Third place, however, is still very much in hand, providing the Axemen can win their final regular season game against Dalhousie Feb. 8 in Wolfville.
Acadia lost a pair of tough decisions, 3-2 to St. F.X. on Feb. 1 in Antigonish and 3-0 to Saint Mary’s Feb. 2 in Wolfville.
The results left the Axemen with a 16-9-2 record for 34 points, four behind the second-place Huskies and six back of first-place UNB.
More importantly, Acadia was only two points ahead of fourth-place St. F.X., with both teams having one regular season game left this weekend – Acadia against Dal and the X-men against Saint Mary’s.
The Axemen and X-men split their four regular season games, but Acadia holds the tiebreaker over St. F.X. should the two teams end up tied in the standings.
On Feb. 1, Brad Cuzner’s even-strength goal at 3:37 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie and stood up as the game-winner for St. F.X. The X-men took a 1-0 lead on a Cole Grbavac power play goal at 13:03 of the first period, and went ahead 2-0 on Brennan Wray’s power play marker early in the second.
The Axemen, who played a solid road game despite the final score, struck back with a pair of power play goals of their own, by Alex Beaton at 5:22 and Chris Owens at 10:02. Cuzner had the only goal of the third period.
Acadia ended up with a 35-16 edge in shots on goal, but Joseph Perricone was solid in the X-men goal, making several key saves throughout the contest, and was named the game’s first star for his efforts.
On Feb. 2, the Axemen had 28 shots on Anthony Peters, but the Huskies’ goalie proved equal to the task in earning the shutout.
His teammates, meanwhile, had 29 shots on Axemen goalie Peter DiSalvo and made three of them count, all even strength markers. Matt Tipoff scored at 4:07 of the second, Jeff Marchand at 16:26 of the second and Cory Tanaka at 12:47 of the third.
To view a slideshow from the game, click HERE