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.