Game recap by: Kirk Jessome
(Halifax, NS) – In game two of the best of three playoff series, the Dalhousie Tigers faced elimination at home against the Acadia Axemen. Despite getting outplayed in the first two periods, the Axemen put together a tremendous final frame with 4 unanswered goals to claim the 4-2 win, and 2-0 series victory.
In a hard hitting, physical start to the game, the Axemen tested Corbin Boes (Saskatoon, SK) with lots of shots early, but no threatening chances.
The Tigers looked fantastic on the penalty kill early, only giving up three shots on two opportunities. Penalties were becoming an issue for the Tigers however, spending six of the first twelve minutes of the game a man short.
With five minutes to go in the period, Tigers got their first power play opportunity, and made it count. After a scrum along the boards, Miles McGurty (Hoboken, NJ) sent a beautiful no-look pass across the slot to Jackson Playfair (Fort St. James, BC) that had Robert Steeves (St. Joseph-de-Kent, NB) going the wrong way. Playfair sent a pass in front and Alex Pawelczyk (Sterling Heights, MI) had a wide open net for the tap-in to open up the scoring for the Tigers.
After a last minute flurry of shots from the Axemen, the score remained 1-0 for the Tigers heading into the first intermission.
Special teams were proving to be key for the Tigers, finding another goal on their second power play chance. A shot from the half boards was stopped by Steeves, but the rebound bounced to Chandler Yakimowicz (Kingston, PA) who pulled Steeves out of position with a fake, and showed great patience to work around the net and tuck in the Tigers second goal on a wrap-around. Two minutes into the second period, the Tigers held a 2-0 lead.
This time it was the Tigers turn to spend the majority of the period on the power play, with the Axemen amassing eight minutes of penalties in the first twelve of the period. After surrendering goals on the first two chances, the Axemen PK had much better positioning on the later opportunities, getting into the lane to block shots to help kill off a two-man advantage.
It was a penalty filled period, with not much time of even-strength play throughout, but there was only the lone goal in the frame. Heading into the third period down a man, the Tigers held a 2-0 lead at the break.
Acadia threatened with attacking pressure on the power play early in the third, coming out of the intermission with energy. They found their opening goal when a high shot from Geoffrey Schemitsch (Thornhill, ON) bounced off the shoulder of Boes and dropped dead in the crease for Cristiano Digiacinto (Hamilton, ON) who was at the right place at the right time to tap in the loose puck.
Digiacinto was looking for his second goal just one minute later on a short-handed breakaway. He broke into the zone with speed, faked right, and tried to tuck it under the pad, but Boes held strong against the post to maintain the lead.
The Axemen pressured hard for the equalizer on yet another power play opportunity, with deflections causing trouble in front of Boes, but the Tigers were able to kill off the penalty with the help of the goal post. Just seconds later however, the Axemen broke into the Tigers zone and Ryan Foss (Oakville, ON) ripped a quick shot from the top of the circle that beat Boes over the shoulder to tie the game up at 2-2.
In trouble late in the third period after taking their ninth penalty of the game, the Tigers defence was scrambling to get the puck out of their own zone, Matthew Pufahl (Saskatoon, SK) fired a shot that was deflected in front by Schemitsch to put the Axemen in front with less than two minutes left.
The Tigers elected to pull their goalie for an extra attacker and were able to get a few good chances at Steeves, but the Axemen were able to clear the zone and Boston Leier (Saskatoon, SK) put the empty netter home to seal the game at 4-2.
Geoffry Schemitsch earned the Subway Player of the Game title with his game winning goal, as well as assisting on the equalizer.
With the win, the Axemen win the series and move on to face StFX in the conference semi-final.