Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

The story in the AUS of course is that the UNB Varsity Reds keep rolling along and are now undefeated in 21 games. Friday night in Moncton the V-Reds scored both on the power play and shorthanded in the first period before having two goals called back. UNB added another goal in the second period and then late in the period UdeM's Alexandre Soucy, who has been a thorn in the side for the V-Reds every meeting this season, induced Josh Kidd to drop the gloves after they got tangled up. The fight didn't last long, as the 6-foot-2 Soucy soon had his hands full with the 6'5” Kidd, and he quickly attempted to tie up his opponent and wait for the linesmen to come in. Both picked up majors and a game misconduct and were suspended for their next game. UdeM played desperate hockey in the third period and did manage one goal, but UNB held on for the 3-1 win.

Saturday night UNB's game against STU was not a goalies' night, as both starters ended up getting yanked. UNB dominated the early play during the 16th annual Lou Chabot Memorial Game, with UNB captain Kyle Bailey scoring just over two minutes in. The Tommies caught a break when rookie UNB defenceman Ben Wright was given a five minute major checking from behind penalty and automatic game misconduct for a hit that didn't look that severe. Within seconds former V-Red Tyler Dietrich tied the game up, only to see Bailey score shorthanded 14 seconds later, and then UNB kill off the rest of the major. Three-quarters the way through the period the Tommies scored two goals in 35 seconds, and CIS male athlete-of-the-week Travis Fullerton was hauled out of the UNB net. Go figure. In the second period Bailey scored on the power play to complete his natural hat trick, and then the V-Reds lost another defenceman when rookie Spencer Corcoran picked up two and ten for a blow to the head penalty. UNB scored shorthanded, added another goal and chased STU's Charles Lavigne. Bailey greeted Ben MacFarlane with his fourth goal and his teammates added another to make five goals in the period. Lavigne was back in nets to start the third period, and STU did get a power play goal, but UNB replied with two of their own with the man advantage. UNB outshot STU 39-26 in the 9-4 victory. UNB can now finish no worse than second place and have secured a first round playoff bye.

I should mention that UNB did lose a game this week, their first loss against a university opponent. On Tuesday they lost 4-1 to the NCAA's Maine Black Bears in a close game where the Maine special teams were the difference: Maine was 2-for-5 on the PP while UNB went 0-for-5 without Hunter Tremblay in the line-up.

Wednesday night in Halifax Dalhousie was up 3-1 after the first period and chased StFX's Bryan Gillis from the nets. The Tigers held on for the 5-4 upset victory, despite being outshot 39-28. The Dal victory made the STU-UdeM game Wednesday a must-win for both teams. Les Aigles Bleus scored five goals in the middle period, with veteran Mathieu Bétournay scoring twice, and they cruised to a 6-4 win, pushing STU into seventh place.

St. Thomas rebounded back home Friday night, with Tyler Dietrich notching a hat trick, linemate Kenton Dulle scoring twice and Devan Praught adding a pair of goals in a wild game that finished 8-6 for STU over UPEI. However the Tommies couldn't gain any ground on Dal, who crafted another upset Friday night as they scored four unanswered goals, including the winner by rookie Jordan Berk on an overtime power play, to complete the comeback against Acadia for a 4-3 victory. Josh Disher was strong in the Dal net, as his team was outshot 46-31 by the Axemen. Christmas addition Benjamin Breault had two goals for Dalhousie, and now has six goals in seven games since joining the Tigers. The other game Friday saw Saint Mary's defeat StFX 4-2 with Cody Thorton scoring twice. He now has 21 goals this season and leads the AUS.

Saturday night in the Battle of Halifax the Huskies ended the Tigers' brief upset streak. Cam Fergus scored four times as SMU dominated Dal, outshooting them 47-31 in the 7-3 victory. Acadia didn't blow their lead Saturday, as Ryan Graham scored twice and the Axemen outshot the X-Men 45-17 in the 4-0 win. Kris Westblom got the shutout for Acadia. Moncton was up 4-0 before the midpoint of their game against UPEI and held on for the 5-1 win with Mathieu Bétournay once again scoring twice.

Looking ahead, Acadia is at SMU in the battle for second place in the AUS on Wednesday night. The game may also see the debut of Mike Danton in the Huskies line-up. SMU is then at UNB on Friday night and UPEI on Saturday. Acadia sees UPEI Friday before UNB on Saturday. Moncton is at StFX and then Dalhousie on the weekend while St. Thomas sees the same two teams on opposite nights and pretty well has to win both games to stay in playoff contention.
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