While the other AUS teams were battling for their place in the standing, or even to make the playoffs, first place UNB was focused on keeping their winning streak going. Wednesday night at home against Moncton in the 18th annual Mark Jeffrey Memorial Game the V-Reds outshot UdeM 40-20 in winning 5-1. Rookie Jeff Lee led the UNB offence with two goals, while UdeM went 0-for-6 on the power play without recording a shot with the man advantage thanks to the aggressive UNB penalty kill. In Charlottetown the UPEI Panthers scored the first three goals of the game against St. Thomas, and added two empty netters in the 5-2 win. Thomas Waugh had two goals for the Panthers, who outshot the Tommies 33-24. The other game Wednesday saw Dalhousie steal an important point in losing 4-3 in overtime to Acadia. Dal's Francois Gauthier scored shorthanded at 5:36 of the third to force overtime, while Axemen rookie Andrew Clark scored the winner at 6:43 into extra time. Acadia outshot Dal 42-26 in the game.
Friday night saw the X-Men try to end the UNB winning streak in Antigonish. They got off to a good start with a two goal lead, but UNB came back with four goals and added an empty netter for the 5-3 final score. UNB outshot X 37-20 in the game, with Hunter Tremblay scoring twice. Oddly UNB hadn't given up a shorthanded goal all season, yet they gave up two to the X-Men in the game. Back in Fredericton, Tommies coach Mike Eagles was “embarrassed” by how his team self-destructed in the final 20 minutes against Acadia. STU's Kenton Dulle and Tyler Dietrich both received game misconducts in the third period, with Dulle racking up 32 PIM in the game. STU pulled their goalie and came within a goal late in the third period, but Philippe Bertrand scored an empty netter for the 6-4 Acadia win.
In Moncton, visiting Saint Mary's ended their three game losing streak when Mike Danton tied the game in the third period and Justin Munden scored at 6:35 of overtime for the 3-2 win. SMU outshot UdeM 43-24 in the win, and Moncton picked up a badly needed point in the standings. In Halifax, visiting Panther Cory Vitarelli had a career game as he scored four times (with a hat trick on the power play) to lead UPEI to a 5-3 win over the Dalhousie Tigers.
On Saturday, UNB was at Dalhousie, and once again had to come from behind in a tight checking game. The V-Reds scored four unanswered goals in the 4-1 win, outshooting the Tigers 35-15. UNB's 26th win adds to their CIS record start (in the University Cup era) while matching their two year old AUS record for wins in a season. The banged up X-Men continued to struggle, as Cory Vitarelli extended his incredible weekend by scoring a hat trick as UPEI defeated StFX 4-2.
Acadia got their second overtime win of the weekend when Jonathan Laberge tied it up in the third period, and then scored the winner at 4:46 of extra time for the 4-3 win over Moncton Saturday night. The Huskies added to the Tommies woes as they outshot STU 41-27 in cruising to a 5-2 victory. Patrick O'Keefe had two goals in the SMU win.
Looking ahead to the final weekend of the regular season, UNB and Acadia will finish one-two and both earn a first round playoff bye. SMU, UPEI and StFX just need to pick up one point each to hold onto third, fourth and fifth place respectively and save us trying to figure out the tie-breaking formula. Dalhousie is clinging onto the last playoff spot, but Moncton is just one point back. While last place St. Thomas has not been eliminated yet, they need to win both of their remaining games, and hope that both Dal and Moncton lose both of their games in regulation. Talk about your faint hopes.
As for the match-ups next weekend, STU is at Acadia and then SMU while Moncton is at SMU and then Acadia. Dal is at UPEI and UNB while StFX visits UNB and then UPEI.