The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and St. Thomas Tommies got together last night for their annual pre-season game, now the 5th annual Presidents Cup.
They played the game across the river at Willie O'Ree Place, which has become UNB's practice rink while they wait for the renovations to be finished at the Aitken University Centre. About 1,000 fans showed up to watch what was a game for the first 15 minutes with STU scoring on their first and best scoring chance early in the period, but the last 45 minutes were all UNB, who scored 4 goals in the second and 4 goals in the third for the 8-1 victory, outshooting the Tommies 45-19 in the process. Worse, for the STU fans, the V-Reds dominated the Tommies physically, owned the boards and corners and won the races for the puck.
For those who aren't aware, this used to be the most intense hockey rivalry in the CIS, as not only do the two schools share the city of Fredericton, but STU shares the same campus with UNB. Back in the early '60s St. Thomas was moved from the Miramichi to then unused south-west corner of the UNB property, and the rivalry was on. As STU grew in size they become more competitive on the ice, culminating in an AUS championship in 2000-01. However since then they've slipped back, becoming the Toronto Blue Jays to UNB's Red Sox as their recruiting has not been able to keep pace with the big dogs in the conference. I happened to bump into STU coach Mike Eagles earlier in the day and I asked him how his new guys were working out. His reply? "We'll find out tonight." Well we did, and even though both teams have only been practising for a week, there is a world of difference between STU's rookies and UNB's rookies.