By John DeCoste
The Acadia hockey Axemen will live to fight at least another day.
The Axemen evened their best-of-three quarter-final series with the Moncton Aigles Bleus at one game apiece with a 5-2 win Feb. 15 in Moncton. The victory forces a third and deciding game Sunday nigh in Wolfville.
Axemen head coach Darren Burns started Evan Mosher in goal in place of Peter DiSalvo . Mosher was solid, stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced and the shaky defence of game one’s 7-5 loss in Wolfville was nowhere to be seen.
Acadia opened the scoring with Mike Cazzola’s third goal of the series. Moncton fairly quickly netting the equalizer - Marc-Andre Coté’s first of two on the night.
Goals by Alex Beaton and Dustin Ekelman earned the Axemen a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.
The advantage was extended to 4-1 on Brett Thompson’s third goal of the series in the second period.
Coté netted his second of the game in the opening minute of the third period, but Alex Beaton restored Acadia’s three-goal lead at 4:04.
The Axemen outshot Moncton 31-29 and were two-for-three on the power play; the Aigles Bleus failed to score on their five power play chances.
The line of Cazzola, Thompson and Liam Heelis, which had eight points in a losing effort in game one, had another solid outing Friday. Cazzola and Thompson each had a goal and Heelis a pair of assists, giving him five for the series.
In game one Wednesday in Wolfville, the Axemen outshot the Aigles Bleus 60-24, but Moncton made the most of its chances to score a 7-5 win. Acadia led 2-1 after one period, and the score was tied 4-4 after 40 minutes.
Francis Rochon had the hat trick for the Aigles Bleus, including the eventual game-winner in the third period. Thompson and Cazzola scored two goals each for Acadia, with Beaton netting the fifth Axemen goal. Heelis had three assists and Michael Ward two.
Game three will be a 7 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Acadia Arena. If they win, the Axemen will move on to face Saint Mary’s in the semifinals.
In the other AUS quarter-final series, UPEI, meanwhile, eliminated St. F.X. in two straight games scoring a 5-4 win Friday on home ice in double overtime.