Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

The week started on Wednesday with two games – Acadia at Saint Mary's and Moncton across the Northumberland Strait against UPEI. In Halifax it was a pretty even first period, with no scoring. The game changed in the second period as the Huskies notched three straight goals before the Axemen replied. The teams went back and forth with goals in the third period and SMU finished up 7-3 on Acadia, and went 3 for 7 on the power play in the process. At the same time UdeM wasn't having much fun on the Island. UPEI scored early on the power play, UdeM tied it up, and then the Panthers scored three straight goals to break the game open, and added two late ones to make it a 6-2 final. UPEI had three defencemen tossed in the third period, but the damage was already done.

On Friday night UNB was back in Wolfville for the first time since sweeping the Axemen in the AUS semi-finals. The Varsity Reds came flying out of the gates, but Acadia goaltender Michael Chiasson kept his team in it early. UNB notched a power play goal plus a flukey goal in the first period, and Acadia came back with one goal early in the second, which appeared to give them more confidence and jump which they managed to sustain. In the third period rookie Spencer Jezegou tied it up, but late in the period UNB's intense pressure forced the Axemen to take two penalties 30 seconds apart, and defenceman Luke Gallant scored the winner while the teams were 5-on-3, which was a tough break for the home crowd who watched a very even game, but a 3-2 loss. In Moncton, les Aigles Bleus spotted Dal two goals, but then scored 4 unanswered goals as they cruised to the 4-2 win, outshooting the Tigers 43-25. In Fredericton the Tommies were up 3-0 after one period, 6-3 after two, and yet still lost to StFX 7-6. Perhaps understandably STU coach Mike Eagles was pretty hard on his team's inability to protect the lead when he spoke to reporters after the game.

On Saturday night the CIS champion V-Reds were up against the AUS champion Huskies, so there was lots of pride on the line. The first period was tight, even, and very playoff like. Then came the second period, where the teams exploded for nine goals. Wild. The teams traded goals in the third period and Huskies fans went home shaking their heads over the 7-4 loss. Uncharacteristically, SMU only scored one power play goal – the first power play goal UNB has given up in four games this season. In Fredericton the Tommies bounced back nicely with a 9-3 thumping of Dal. The last two Tigers' goals came late in the game when they meant little. STU was an impressive 5-for-11 on the power play. (Additional Note: STU defenceman Bryan Main had a "scary injury" and left the game on a stretcher. He's reportedly doing well now after having a CT scan and is out of the hospital) In Moncton, UdeM scored first, only to see StFX score three straight. However Moncton responded with three power play goals and an empty netter for the 5-3 win. After their close match against UNB the night before, Acadia made short work of UPEI, outshooting the Panthers 37-19 in a 4-1 win. Axeman Chris Bruton was involved with all the scoring, with a goal and three assists.

The last game of the weekend was a rare Sunday afternoon match, as UPEI travelled up Highway 101 from Wolfville for a date with SMU. The Panthers scored just 36 seconds in, the Huskies replied with two goals, the Panthers got one back, and then the Huskies got two more to end the period up 4-2. UPEI scored two power play goals in the middle period to tie it up. Huskies scored their third power play goal of the game (when will some teams learn ...) to take the lead, but UPEI pulled their goalie with 19 seconds to go, and two seconds later rookie Jared Gomes forced overtime with a goal. Midway through the ten-minute OT the Panthers took a penalty, and making it worse, at 6:46 SMU was awarded a penalty shot and captain Marc Rancourt scored the winner to make it a 6-5 final. Thanks in part to their 11 power plays, SMU outshot UPEI 46-31 in the extended game.

I've decided to halt my one week experiment at picking AUS players of the week – I'm obviously going to be biased by the players I see in games while relying on game reports and news stories for the others for comparison, which probably isn't fair.

Looking ahead: UNB is at cross-campus rival STU for the first installment of the Battle of the Hill Wednesday night. UNB then plays host to Acadia and SMU on the weekend. Dal is home for UdeM and STU, with StFX hosting the same teams in reverse order. The other game sees Acadia at UPEI on Saturday.
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  1. I understand that the coaches of Acadia and UNB had different opinions about Friday night's game. Tell us the unbiased scoop on that Dave, if that is possible.

    Dave forgot to mention a scary moment in Fredericton on Saturday night. STU defenceman Bryan Main went head first into the boards after a foot race for a loose puck. The game was delayed for 30 minutes while medical officials had Main taken from the ice on a back board. Bryan is OK but will not be available for Wednesday.

  2. Unbiased? Not possible.

  3. I didn't mention the Main injury because I didn't hear about it until this morning.

    Personally, I think UNB has lost a speed advantage with the graduations of defencemen Dustin Friesen, David Bowman and Justin DaCosta -- all of whom were quick and could take advanntage of the extra ice on the Olympic-sized ice to find seams through the netural zone. Shutron, Kidd and Corcoran are good d-men, but not as fast. Yes, UNB still has Harty, Gallant, and Stammler who are strong skaters, but now from 1 through 8 UNB's defence is slower than last year.

    UNB wasn't blowing through the netural zone against Acadia like they often did last year on the big ice. To be fair, Acadia played a sound defensive game, and was good on the counter-attack transition. There wasn't as many odd-man rushes as UNB normally generates, and the shots on goal were down (although I thought I saw a lot more than 3 UNB shots in the second period). UNB didn't have many good cross-ice passes through the neutral zone, and fewer good breakouts than normal out of their own zone.

    However, no question Acadia is a better team than UPEI or Moncton, and Acadia had an off-night against SMU on Wednesday. Acdia is a good team, and their second-year players like Crhis Bruton are playing really well.

  4. Thanks Dave for the update. Just wondering if you can give us a recap of what the coaches thought of the game at Acadia?

  5. I didn't get a chance to talk to any of the Acadia coaches, but one of the UNB coaches said the next day that "they'd got off their game, but still found a way to win". I remember Going into the game Gardiner MacDougall said that expected a good test, which it was.

  6. Didn't get a chance or didn't try? I wonder about the neutrality of a UNB radio commentator who files to, refers to guys by their nicknames, and so on. Can we really get an unbiased view from this guy who is, from what I am to understand, a member of the top 10 ranking committee now too?
    So UNB will be number one regardless of what happens, his beloved AUS will get preferred treatment for as many of the other nine spots as he can fill, and there will be token votes to Alberta because they've always been strong.

  7. Well it couldn't be any worse than people putting Brock number one...every voter is going to be biased to an extent, especially considering they are only primarily seeing the teams in one of the three conferences...this isn't like NCAA football where every game is televised and easily accessible...I doubt many OUA or CW voters have seen many AUS teams this year just as AUS voters probably haven't seen many OUA or CW teams...

  8. However, I do hope most voters are professional enough that they do take these rankings seriously and do as much homework as they possibly can/use all of the limited information that is available to make a list that is as accurate and unbiased as possible...

  9. Radio is different that the print media. You get to the game early to set up and test the equipment. Then you try to talk to coaches if you can about what you might expect in the game, and maybe record part of the conversation for broadcast during the game, as players are off-limits before the game. Then you do a pre-game show if you have one, and then broadcast the game. Unless you have a post-game show, you pack up, go eat or head to you hotel or home. You don't hang around waiting to talk to coaches, who usually are not very talkative after the game.

    On the other hand, most print folks show up at or just before the puck drop. If they talk to a coach before a game, it was a day or days before in order to get information for the game tee-up. They watch the game, take notes, and usually chat with their buddies in the press box during the first intermission while the radio and TV guys are usually still working. Depending on their deadline it seems like most print folks start typing their running copy during the second intermission. After the game, the print folks scramble down to the dressing rooms to try to get some quotes from players and/or coaches to get in their stories to get filed by deadline.

    So you can see, I tend to be detail oriented and give long answers.

    In short -- radio and TV folks tend to talk to coaches before the game, and print media talk to them after the game.

    So if I talk to coach about a game, it will have to be the next day, or the next time I see them.

    Neate is a professional journalist, he's been doing this for years and could give you more detail if you want. I was an IT manager at a newspaper group for 10 years and worked alongside reporters, writers, and editors, and also managed to write a few stories, so I have some idea how it works. I've been doing radio on weekends for over 10 years and TV for less.

    But I'm not trying to be pissy about this. I just wanted to try to show that I don't just take shots for fun hiding behind anonymity, and take this CIS hockey stuff pretty serious, and I admit, I'm a bit oversensitive about my claims against my integrity. And yes, I do a lot of hockey homework.

  10. That's pretty much spot on — broadcasters get their stuff beforehand and writers get it afterward. There's so much to do it's imnpossible to do both.

  11. Dave:
    Personally, I don't show up "at or just before puck drop.". Often I'm there before the radio guys.
    We "chat with our buddies" while the radio and TV guys are still working? Who are we chatting with?
    I have no doubt radio is difficult. But it's not rocket science. I've done colour on broadcasts before, in addition to my responsibilities with the newspaper.

    How do you know coaches are not very talkative after a game unless you're down there to find out? Coaches are often very good after a game, depending on the circumstances.
    I'm just saying, part of being a reporter, whether its newspaper or radio or television, is talking to the principals involved.

  12. Relax Bill, I wasn't dissing the press, and if it came across that way, I'm sorry, you're inferring something I never intended to imply.
    Especially in my experience on the road, you are the exception, not the norm, when it comes to arriving at the game.

    I'm not trying to say one group works harder than the other, just differently. Once the game is over, broadcasters are usually done for the day, while the print folks are then hard up against deadlines.

    When we're doing broadcasts we usually record them before the game, and sometimes at intermission for TV. When the game is over, so is the broadcast. Post game comments aren't as useful, unless there is a broadcast next day. Pre-game comments are vital.

    All of this verbiage is because some anonymous poster took my earlier "I didn't get a chance to talk to any of the Acadia coaches" comment to answer a " ... can give us a recap of what the coaches thought of the game at Acadia? query, and snottily replied "Didn't get a chance or didn't try?" and then I foolishly thought I could try to explain the cycle of when I and other broadcasters I've worked with or around talk to coaches. Jeepers.

    I've got enough haters on here without you fanning the flames ... thanks.

  13. That's how I took it to mean, different responsibilities and obligations for each medium.

  14. Sorry if you took it personally, Dave. I'm not one of your "haters."

  15. Oh I know that ... the haters are always looking for more potential ammo, which you might have inadvertently given them.

    I see now why more and more sites don't allow anonymous posting ... some people write things they would never compose if they had to take responsibility and "man up" for what they wrote.

  16. Let me just testify to Mr. Kilfoil's commitment to CIS hockey: he does what he does entirely on a volunteer basis: radio colour commentary on selected home and almost all road games, blogging and sending statistical information to the various sites, including this one -- all out of a genuine and sincere commitment to CIS hockey. He did radio colour commentary for both St. Thomas and UNB until such time as STU struck their own radio deal and got their own "voice."
    I know very few people who do as much work for a program on a volunteer basis as Mr. Kilfoil does in the promotion of CIS hockey.

  17. Scott Anderson10/28/2009 2:18 pm

    Why are you guys so sensitive? People are going to think what they want to think, perhaps because of their own prejudices. You guys are public figures and as such, are targets of people out there who have no idea of what they're talking about but want to take shots anyway because it somehow justifies their own importance. My perspective is that of teaching the subject at the community college level, so I've seen a lot of cases.

  18. Thanks, Scott. It's not a justification, maybe more of an excuse ... from personal experience, working in daily journalism tends to exacerbate one's own insecuritues (speaking personally) since you're only told about what you did wrong. Positive, prescriptive feedback -- coaching! -- tends to be nonexistent in most newsrooms.

  19. Scott Anderson10/30/2009 11:05 am

    It's like everything else, in today's newsrooms, editors/writers are being asked to do more than ever before, with less time it seems. There are interns who are supposed to come in and learn the realities of the business, but too many times they're not being taught the basics at school, and too much time is being spent on pure writing technique, grammar, etc. By the time they get to the newsroom, those basics should be in place, and what the focus should be is working sources, doing interviews, writing stories under a deadline situation, reacting to breaking news, etc. So the opportunity to coach in these areas is diminished.As Mr. Sager remarks, the public tends to be negative towards the reporter. More often than not, he or she are told what is wrong with a story, and not the positive aspects. And that extends all the way up the chain. That's a sad commentary on how business has evolved.