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Finding Their Game

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After a slow start to the season, the Swan Valley Axemen have found their game and are finding themselves moving up the standings with each passing week.
The Axemen hosted a pair of games this past weekend, picking up three of a possible four points.
Comets 0, Axemen 7
With the Grandview Comets having a huge turnover from their championship team a year ago, they have struggled to ice a competitive team on most nights.
Things were no different this past Friday (Jan. 11) when the Swan Valley Axemen thumped the visitors by a 7-0 drubbing.
With intermission leads of 4-0 and 7-0, the Axemen cruised to their seventh win in ten games played this season.
Steve Bell, Ryan Braun, Blair Barker and Karter Prieston all scored in the opening period while Evan Morden, Dallas Anderson and Barker with his second filled up the game sheet in that second period.
Anderson added a pair of assists while Jeff Riddell set up three goals as well to give the pair of veterans three point nights.
Jayson Argue was perfect in the Axemen net stopping all 30 shots directed his way while Comet netminders Danny McDonald and Keenan “don’t call me John” Pasternak combined to make 23 saves.
The Axemen were called for four of the five minor penalties in the game.
Rams 4, Axemen 3 O.T.
Hosting the league leading, Russell Rams on Saturday night (Jan. 12), the Axemen knew they would need a strong effort to upend the unbeaten visitors.
The Axemen did do that but unfortunately they weren’t able to hold on to a 3-0 third period lead, eventually falling in overtime.
Things started out well for hosts as Will Woodson and Brock Jersak staked the Axemen in the first period giving them a 2-0 lead after one period of play.
With only one goal scored in the middle frame, that off the stick off Riddell, it looked like the Axemen were poised to hand the Rams their first regulation loss of the season.
But the Rams are the top team for good reason and exploded for three third period goals to force overtime.
Brock Nixon, David Dunn and Shane Luke all beat Axemen netminder Deven Dubyk in that third period.
That set the stage for a controversial ending as Nixon would score his second of the game to send the visitors home with the extra point.
Many in the rink and in the stands strongly believed the winning goal was well offside but that wasn’t about to change anything and the Axemen had to settle for the single point.
Dubyk was outstanding in the Axemen net facing 49 shots while Rams goalie Ryan Bezan was called on to make 18 saves.
The Axemen were handed six of nine minor penalties in the contest as well as the games only 10-minute-misconduct.
Axemen Extras
Next action for the Axemen will be this weekend when they again host a pair of games in Minitonas. Saturday night they’ll entertain the Miniota-Elkhorn C-Hawks and Sunday they’ll host the last place Rivers Jets. Game time on Saturday is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. while Sunday’s game is a 2:30 p.m. matinee start... Jeff Riddell now leads the Axemen in scoring with seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in eight games played. Next is grizzled veteran Kelly Gray with four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 10 games played.

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Brian Gilroy
REPORTER
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