Source: Joshua Foote, Acadia Athletics
WOLFVILLE, N.S. – The U SPORTS No. 8 ranked Acadia Axemen gave the home crowd a Valentine's Day to remember with a 5-2 win over the Dalhousie Tigers to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three AUS quarterfinal series.
Acadia dominated play for the majority of the game, including a strong performance from goaltender Robert Steeves and two goals from Subway First Star of the Night, Boston Leier.
Although the Tigers struck first, the Axemen scored two unanswered goals to take a 2-1 lead heading into the second.
Dalhousie opened the scoring, with 5:27 remaining in the first period, when defenseman, and second star of the night, Colton Heffley redirected a shot in front over the glove of the Axemen goaltender.
The Tigers lead was short-lived, as Axemen forward Boston Leier tied the game roughly three minutes later.
Leier zipped behind the net Dalhousie net and picked up a rebound in front and buried it past the sprawling Tigers goaltender Corbin Boes.
The Axemen grabbed a 2-1 lead with 1:38 left in the first frame when forward and Subway Third Star of the Game, Kyle Ferrell corralled the puck in the slot, waited out the goalie and fired low to the right side to make it 2-1 heading into the first intermission.
Acadia began to pull away from the Tigers in the second period, adding two more goals to take a 4-1 lead into the third frame.
Boston Leier scored his second of the night on a power-play goal early in the second period.
Acadia added another goal before the half-way mark of the period when forward Cristiano Digiacinto took a pass from Chance Braid in front of the net and fired it into the open goal mouth for a 4-1 lead.
A power-play goal from Dalhousie's Mike Evelyn in the closing minute followed Axemen forward Remy Giftopoulos' empty-net goal that put the game out of reach.
Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves turned aside 21 of 23 shots on the night, while his Tigers counterpart Corbin Boes stopped 32 of 36.
Acadia's leading scorer for the regular season, Stephen Harper, did not play in the third period of the game. Harper took an awkward spill into the end boards late in the second period, after coming into the corner of the Dalhousie zone with speed, where he took a hip-check from a Tigers defenseman.
The Axemen take to the ice again on Friday night in Halifax for game two of the best-of-three series. If needed, there will be a third game on Sunday, Feb. 18. Puck drop for both games is 7:00 p.m.