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Axemen top Tigers 5-2 in home opener

Photo by Trevor MacMillan
Photo by Trevor MacMillan

By Ryan Hyndman 

The Dalhousie Tigers men's hockey team were defeated on Wednesday evening surrendering a 5-2 loss to the Acadia Axemen in their home opener at the Halifax Forum. 

The game began fast paced with both teams getting a few shots on net within the first few minutes of the game. As the first period progressed, the Axemen began putting on pressure, drawing the game's first penalty six minutes in. Wasting no time, the Axemen generated a few good chances before Adam McMaster (Beamsville, Ont.) found the back of the net on the powerplay to make it 1-0. 

Not long after, the Tigers found themselves with a 5-on-3 powerplay for their first man advantage of the evening. Thanks to some quick puck movement, a perfectly placed pass saw Cameron Thompson (Victoria, B.C.) score his first of the season, tying the game at 1-1. The penalties continued as the game progressed, including a 10-minute misconduct and a game ejection given to Tigers Jackson van de Leest (Kelowna, B.C.) for checking from behind. On the ensuing 4-4 play in the offensive zone, the Axemen were able to capitalize for their second goal of the game from Bailey Peach (Falmouth, N.S.) to regain the lead at 2-1. 

Just 23 seconds later, Acadia added another goal off of a nifty play from Liam Kidney (Enfield, N.S.), making it 3-1 Axemen. As an eventful first period came to a close with yet another powerplay for the Axemen, Tigers goaltender Connor Hicks (Kanata, Ont.) stood tall stopping a flurry of scoring chances. 

The second period began with the Tigers pressuring in the offensive zone, trying to cut the lead to one, but Acadia goaltender Connor McCollum (Pickering, Ont.) was able to stop the attack, retaining the two-goal lead. With both teams settled into the game, the physicality subsided a bit, and time ran down to the midpoint of the period with both sides trading chances and the officials blowing very few whistles. 

With the period winding down, the Tigers were able to find some momentum as Brett Crossley (Dartmouth, N.S.) broke in alone and finished the play with a skilled backhand-shot in the back of the net to make it 3-2. However, just two minutes later Acadia responded with a goal of their own from Orlando Mainolfi (Richmond Hill, Ont.) to restore the two-goal lead at 4-2. The Tigers were able to gather some chances on a powerplay near the end of the period, but the Axemen penalty killers were able to keep it to a two-goal lead headed into the third period. 

The third period began with both teams playing a tight defensive game, and minimal chances at each side. The Axemen then started to control the possession battle, keeping the Tigers in their own zone for several minutes, but Dalhousie was able to stay within two with half a period left to play. The Tigers would generate a few more chances, but a costly penalty would send the Axemen back to the powerplay where Peach would score his second of the game, sealing the 5-2 win for Acadia. 

Bailey Peach took home the Subway Player of the Game award for the Axemen. 

The Axemen will look to build on a season-opening win when they face off against STFX at 7:00pm on Saturday. 

The Tigers next game comes at 7:00pm on Friday against St. Mary's where they will try to get in the win column for the first time this season.