The UPEI Panthers gave it their all, especially in the second half but it wasn’t enough as the Acadia Axemen rebounded with two late goals to earn a 3-1 victory and a route to the semifinals against the Cape Breton Capers today at 4 p.m.
The winner will be one of two teams advancing to the U Sports National Championships in Kamloops, B.C., next week.
The weather was perfect and set the scene for what was to be a classic match between two teams that knew each other very well after playing each
other on two previous occasions this season.
Giving up goals on set plays again hounded the Panthers as the Axemen scored two of their goals
from corner kicks. Acadia opened the scoring in the 13th minute when centre back Zach Visser of South Winsloe was left unguarded at the back post for an easy header. The half ended 1-0 favouring the Axemen.
It was a game of two halves as the Panthers came out in the second half with fire in their eyes determined to get back in the game. Hard work
paid off in the 75th minute as veteran striker Lucas Holmes evened the score on a goal mouth scramble.
But the tie didn’t last long as Zane Brennan pushed the Axemen ahead two minutes later, again from a corner kick. Acadia iced it at the 86th minute when Cooper Coates made it 3-1.
“I’m just so proud of what they put into that game,’’ said UPEI head coach Lewis Page. “They fought to the very end, got back into the game, even when Acadia score their goals, we came right back at them and we could have easily come back to tie them. They have learned so much over the season and, as their coach, I couldn’t have asked for more.
The Panthers had 17 shots towards goal with nine on target while the Axemen 18 shots toward goal with six on target. Acadia narrowly outchanced the Panthers 6-5. UPEI outfouled the Axemen 11-8 while the Panthers had six corner kicks to four for Acadia.