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3rd period comeback gives DAL 4-2 win over Acadia

Photo courtesy of Trevor MacMillan.
Photo courtesy of Trevor MacMillan.

By Jack Longo

The Dalhousie Tigers Men's Hockey team defeated the Acadia Axemen at the Halifax Forum on Wednesday night. After being down 2-1 heading into the third period, the Tigers scored three late goals to win the game and move up in the AUS Men's Hockey standings.

The visitors were able to set the tempo early thanks to a Dalhousie penalty with only two minutes gone, but ultimately it was the host's who struck first.

A quick break through the neutral zone set Barret Kirwin (Barrie, ON) free on a two-on-one with Derek Gentile (Sydney, NS). Kirwin got around the defender and squared it to Gentile who made no mistake, shooting first time before the goaltender could get across and giving the Tigers a 1-0 lead with just over four minutes gone in the period.

It didn't take long for Acadia to answer however. Just a minute and a half later the Axemen had a breakaway of their own. Adam McMaster (Beamsville, ON) danced past his defender and hit a quick wrist shot into the top corner to tie the game for the Axemen.

Acadia almost got another goal quickly after. Dalhousie's Reilly Pickard (Halifax, NS) made one of his many saves in the period to keep the game all-square but some shoving after the play resulted in multiple penalties and a power play for the Tigers. Dalhousie couldn't capitalize on the man advantage and were more on the back foot for the rest of the period.

Pickard was forced into 10 saves in the period, many of which came in the later half of the period as the Axemen asserted themselves more as the penalties for Dalhousie started to rack up.

The first period ended 1-1.

Acadia started the second period on a power play thanks to a Dalhousie penalty with 10 seconds left in the first period. The Axemen were almost able to take advantage but a shot from close range went off the post and a save from Pickard just after momentarily stopped the Acadia pressure.

It was the visitors who got on the board first in the second period thanks to McMaster again. With seven and a half minutes gone, McMaster scored his second goal of the night. Just like with this first goal, McMaster's second was a result of a swift transition by the Axemen and quick hands from McMaster himself to work his way around the goalie. The goal put Acadia up 2-1.

The Tigers couldn't get settled for most of the second period, facing 21 shots from the Axemen in the period and only mustering nine of their own. The home team was lucky not to be down more heading into the third period, mostly thanks to the efforts of Pickard in net. Heading into the third period the Axemen led 2-1.

It looked like the Axemen would hold on through the third period, especially when the Tigers got called for another penalty with eight and a half minutes remaining. However, the Tigers were able to break through the Axemen following a line-change and were rewarded with a short-handed goal to tie the game at 2-2. Darien Kielb (Hamilton, ON) scored the rebound following hard work by Gentile to hold off his defender while going to ground.

With just under five minutes left in the period, the Tigers flipped the game on its head. Following another line-change for the Axemen, Dalhousie were afforded a clear breakaway and this time it was Jarrett Baker (Black Rock, NS) who finished it off and gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead that looked improbable only a few minutes earlier.

With a minute and a half Dalhousie finished the game off with a great solo goal from Shaun Miller (Enfield, NS) who made it 4-2 for the Tigers, which is how the game would ultimately finish.

Dalhousie's Reilly Pickard had 38 saves and was named the Subway Player of the Game.

Adam McMaster had two goals to lead the way for the Acadia Axemen.

Dalhousie's next game comes on Friday when the Tigers play Saint Mary's at the Halifax Forum at 7pm.

This was Acadia's last game before the winter break. The Axemen's next game is on January 7th when they host Dalhousie. Puck drop is at 7pm.