Hockey: UNB juggernaut too good for the greater good?

One week into the AUS conference schedule, the rending of garments has begun out over No. 1-ranked UNB winning its first two games by a combined count of 19-3:
"Are these guys too good for the conference in which they play? Forget about the well-worn axiom that the strength of a league is only as good as its weakest link. How about the strength of the AUS being only as good as the link between No. 1 and the others.

"Saturday night with just over 2,000 fans in the stands, the V-Reds faced a perennial nemesis in Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus, a team they beat in the national final in 2007. These games are always intriguing, sometimes ugly, but usually with dramatic finishes. Well, it wasn't that way on this night. UNB scores four in the first, adds three more, including a pair while shorthanded, in the middle frame, and it's only because of penalty trouble they finally surrender a goal late in the second. By the time Guillaume Parenteau beats Derek Yeomans on a two-man power play no less, it's 7-0 UNB and the rout is on. Final is 9-3 and UNB doubles UdeM in shots on goal."

David Ritchie, Fredericton Daily Gleaner
It's bound to be a talker, since some would see Ritchie's words as anti-Varsity Reds, which it isn't; he's actually complimenting them. It also is not the first time there's been hand-wringing over a hockey team winning by too much. Remember when Don Cherry criticized our women's national team after it won by double-digit margins at the last Olympics?

You might be able to poke holes in the argument there's a cause-and-effect between relatively low (for UNB) attendance and the team outshining opponents. There are other reasons. People are checking their discretionary spending and oftentimes, attendance at junior and university games is lower in October. It's like people don't get into hockey mode until the first snow flies and football is over.

It is a question worth being asked. Some more time is needed to really answer properly. If UNB is averaging 2,000 fans in January, there might reason for concern.

Dominant V-Reds threatening to impact competitive balance within AUS (David Ritchie, Fredericton Daily Gleaner)
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  1. A bit premature at least. If UNB humbles both Acadia and SMU the next two weekends (which is highly doubtful) then one might worry a bit about the competitve balance in the AUS. But after two games?

  2. I seems as if a lot of people are jumping the gun a bit here...UdeM and UPEI are both bottom 4 teams in the AUS, IMO anyways

  3. Also - there's been a lot of competition for fans from football, soccer, volleyball and basketball the last couple of weekends at UNB. I agree - let's wait 'till January and see how many fans are in the rink.