Axemen earn chance to win AUS title at home after 3-1 Game 1 win over UNB

Photo by James West for UNB Athletics 
Photo by James West for UNB Athletics 

(FREDERICTON, N.B.) The Acadia Axemen scored a pair of first period goals en route to a 3-1 win over the UNB Reds, in Fredericton, on Monday, in Game 1 of the Subway AUS Men's Hockey Championship best-of-three final series. 

Rodney Southam (Saskatoon, Sask.) scored the eventual winner, short-handed, at 15:10 of the first period, and Logan Flodell (Regina, Sask.) stopped 52 of 53 shots to earn the win in net. 

Flodell was named the Subway Player of the Game. 

"I think our mindset was just to throw everything at them," said Flodell. "I think that worked out for us and we found a way to win. That's what good hockey teams have to do. That's a good hockey team over there. They're working hard, they're here for a reason and we've got to keep it going." 

The visitors opened the scoring, at the 5:53 mark of the first period. 

Stephen Harper (Burlington, Ont.) broke into the Reds zone and put a shot on Reds goalie Samuel Harvey (Alma, Que.). 

Harvey made the save, but the rebound went right to Cristiano Digiacinto (Hamilton, Ont.) and he made no mistake, putting the Axemen up 1-0. 

Southam's goal, about nine minutes later, made it 2-0 Acadia after one period. 

In the second, it took a while but the Reds were able to trim the Axemen lead, 12:09 in. 

Kris Bennett (Brampton, Ont.) left a drop pass, just inside the blue line, for Matthew Boucher (Los Angeles, California). His wrist shot beat Flodell to put the Reds on the board. 

Late in the second, the Reds had a two-minute long 5-on-3 power-play opportunity, but failed to convert. 

Then, the Reds began the third period on the power-play. 

Stephen Anderson (Morell, P.E.I.) had two glorious chances to tie the score, but his first shot was blocked and Flodell made a desperate save with the paddle of his stick on the second. 

With 1:57 to play, and a face-off in the Acadia zone, the Reds pulled Harvey, in favour of the extra attacker, but Owen MacDonald (Elora, Ont.) scored an empty-net goal to make the final 3-1. 

"I thought we played our game, for the most part," said Bennett. "We could've buried a couple of chances, obviously. We had a ton in the third. Credit to Acadia, they played a good game and their goalie played really well. We're going to have to be better for the next game." 

Both teams struggled on the power-play. 

The Reds were 0-for-9 with the man advantage, while the Axemen were 0-for-6. 

"We were able to own the middle," said Axemen captain Liam Maaskant (Clinton, Ont.). "We kept them to the outside, and Floddy (Flodell) obviously keeps standing on his head and we're very lucky to have him, but it's just the full team buying in and we're all playing really well together." 

Despite the loss, Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall felt there were lots of positives for his team. 

"We've had extended success, but this time of year it's a results-based business, and we're real fortunate that it's a playoff series and we get a second chance." 

"It's a good match-up with two very even teams and it's just finding a way to get one goal better," said MacDougall. 

Game two goes Wednesday night, in Wolfville. Game time is 7 p.m. 

If necessary, the third and deciding game of this series will be Friday night, at UNB's Aitken Centre, at 7 p.m. 

Source: Andy Campbell for UNB Athletics


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