AMHERST – The Acadia Axemen scored three times in the third period to break open a close game en route to a 4-0 win over the Chebucto Atlantics to capture the Nova Scotia bantam AA championship in Amherst on Sunday.
Holding onto a 1-0 lead going into the third period, on a first period goal from Evan Kruisselbrink, the Axemen got some insurance just over two minutes into the third when Ryan Douglas beat Atlantics’ goalie Ryan Douglas with Nicholas Goodwin extending the lead to 3-0 just over a minute later.
Tournament most valuable player Luke Easton sealed the win when he scored a shorthanded goal into the empty net with 2:28 to play.
“I’m really happy for the kids, they worked really hard to get where they are,” Acadia coach Mike Best said following the medal ceremony. “We came in with a game plan and they really bought into it. I’m proud of them for that.”
Easton also added an assist in the game for the Axemen, who avoided the upset earlier in the day defeating the Bedford Blues in overtime in the semifinal.
Luke Rideout was sharp in goal when tested, especially in the first period when Chebucto buzzed the net.
Best said playing the early game of the day helped his club in the final as the Atlantics, who defeated the Yarmouth Mariners 5-2 in the other semifinal, only had a couple of hours to get ready for the final.
In the semifinal, Acadia jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on first period goals by Cameron Crooks and Nicholas Goodwin only to have the Bedford Blues rally on a second period goal by Eric Helpard and a third period goal by Matthew Rorabeck to force the extra period.
In overtime, with 3:26 to pay, Sam Nichols was parked at the side of the net and beat the Blues’ goal off a rebound shot by Tommy Shaw.
In their semifinal, Austin Harvey scored two goals and Brock Townsend had a goal and an assist as the Atlantics scored three second period goals en route to a 5-2 win over Yarmouth.
Roman Joseph and Colin Fyfe also scored for Chebucto, which lost 6-0 to the Mariners a day earlier in the round robin play.
Ethan Brennan and Spencer Surette scored for Yarmouth with Orren Hatfield adding two assists.
Following the tournament, the all-star team and top players were honoured. James Beaton of Cape Breton West, Nicholas Goodwin of Acadia and Yanick Cottreau of Yarmouth were the all-star forwards; Gavin O’Connell of Yarmouth and Thomas Fallows of Chebucto were the all-star defence and Dean MacFadgen of Cape Breton County was the all-star goalie.
Cumberland County’s Noah Harrison was the top scorer, Chebucto’s Ryan Douglas was the top goalie and the top defenceman and MVP was Acadia’s Luke Easton.