Now that the Vanier Cup is over, and congrats to Queen's and their fans, let's get to back to Canada's true sport - hockey!
The conference leading UNB Varsity Reds faced stiff competition on the weekend, as both of their provincial rivals worked hard and got good goaltending to make their games close, but the Varsity Reds still stretched their winning streak to 13 games. On Friday in Moncton, captain Kyle Bailey led the offence with two goals, but UNB needed a third period goal from Hunter Tremblay, the CIS's leading point man, to secure the 7-5 win. UNB outshot UdeM 40-27. Back home in Fredericton on Saturday night, the V-Reds fired 44 shots at STU's rookie goalie Charles Lavigne, who kept his team in the game all night, and UNB got an overtime goal by Bailey for the 3-2 win. One concern for UNB was their sputtering power play, which went 1-for-10 on the weekend despite having a success rate of over 28% up until those games. As for STU, they are the only team to earn two points from UNB this season in the AUS.
Keeping pace with UNB was Acadia, running their winning streak to nine games and putting a secure hold on second place. In a close game Friday night Axeman Chris Bruton had a hat trick, including the overtime winner on a power play, as they defeated Saint Mary's 4-3. On Saturday, Acadia had a back and forth game with StFX who managed to tie the game three times, but Axeman Phillipe Bertrand scored the last goal for the 4-3 win. It was a tough weekend for X, who dropped a 6-4 loss to Dalhousie in Halifax on Friday night,
In the Battle of Halifax on Saturday night, Saint Mary's had their hands full with the resurgent Dal Tigers, with rookie goalie Bobby Nadeau making 32 saves. The Huskies were down by two goals early in the third period, but they managed to tie it up and SMU's Justin Muden got the overtime winner just 14 seconds into the extra period to make it 6-5.
Friday night in Fredericton, St. Thomas scored two power plays goals in the last two minutes of the game to defeat UPEI 7-6 and end a five game losing streak. The “Wild West” line of former WHLers Tyler Dietrich, Mike Reich and Kenton Dulle accounted for five of the Tommies' goals. Despite being outshot 33-24 the Panthers bounced back in Moncton Saturday night, winning 3-1. Both UPEI and UdeM were 0-for-7 on the power play in the game.
UNB remains in first place in the AUS with the maximum 26 points thus far, and a game in hand on Acadia who sit in second place with 22 points in the standings. SMU is in third place with 18 points, and they have a game in hand on StFX who are just a point back. UPEI is in fifth place and STU is in sixth. Dal is now just one point back of a playoff spot. Moncton continues to struggle to find wins, and are alone in last place.
Looking ahead: The last week of the first half see StFX at SMU on Wednesday in the battle for third place. On Friday UPEI is at UNB, and finally Sunday SMU is at UNB to play a game rescheduled from back on Halloween night when the Huskies were dealing with the H1N1 virus within the team.