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Ashcroft Leads Axemen to NCHL Win

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After a pair of road games to begin the season, the Valley Axemen not only hosted their home opener this past weekend, they also picked up their first win of the North Central Hockey League season.
Axemen 1, Rangers 3
Heading south with a short bench is never easy, no matter who the competition is and the Axemen found that out last Friday night when they travelled to Moosomin.
Armed with only 11 skaters and missing more than one offensive weapon proved to be too much as the Axemen dropped a 3-1 decision.
Despite getting their fair share of exercise, the Axemen actually held the Rangers close holding the hosts to a 1-0 lead after two periods of play.
Paul Stapleton, on a first period power play was the only skater to beat either netminder in the opening two periods.
When rugged, veteran forward Jared Penner scored to tie the game at 1-1 with just under seven minutes to play, it appeared the Axemen might be able to sneak away with a hard fought road victory.
Rangers forward Brayden Nabholz had other ideas beating Axemen goalie Drew Denischuk just over three minutes later to restore the one-goal lead.
With Denischuk on the bench for an extra attacker, Moosomin’s Riley Boles would salt the game away with an empty net goal for a 3-1 win.
In all, the Rangers outshot the Axemen by a 31-18 margin. Despite several breakaways, the Axemen forwards were unable to beat Rangers netminder Kyler Beckett.
Each team was handed five minor penalties in the contest.
Falcons 3, Axemen 4
After an 0-2 start to the season, the Axemen weren’t about to drop a third straight game, especially when game three was their home opener this past Saturday night.
Things didn’t look good early on however as the Foxwarren Falcons jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead on goals by Dylan Tanner and Robert Briem. Scrappy winger Will Woodson would cut the lead in half when he scored with just under three minutes to play.
After Chandler Ashcroft tied the game at 2-2 just over six minutes into the second period, Tanner would notch his second of the game to give the Falcons a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
Were it not for Ashcroft adding his second and third goals of the game before the midway point of the final period, the Axemen may very well have been off to an 0-3-0-0 start.
Ashcroft lit the lamp both four minutes and just under eight minutes in the third frame and the Axemen would hang on to secure their first win on the season.
The Axemen fired 42 shots on Falcons netminder Sean Cook while Denischuk faced 34 shots on net to earn the win.
The Axemen were whistled for five of the games seven minor penalties.
Axemen Extras
Next action for the Axemen will be this Friday night when they head to Grandview to battle the Comets. Game time is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. ... Next home action isn’t until Saturday, Nov. 24 when the Axemen host the Virden Oil Kings. Game time in Minitonas is scheduled for 7:30 p.m..

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Brian Gilroy
REPORTER
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