Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

Well as everyone knows by now, UNB's run at perfection ended Friday night, when StFX came back from a three goal deficit to win 4-3. The X-Men relied on rookie goalie Bryan Gillis to keep them in the game (they were outshot 39-21) and they were very opportunistic on offence, making the most of their limited chances as they played a trapping, counterattack game all night. It was Brett Morrison getting the GWG for StFX on a partial breakaway at 12:03 of the third period.

St. Thomas had to win their game against Acadia Friday to stay alive in a feint hope to make the playoffs, but they lost 5-2 with rookie Spencer Jezegou pacing the Axemen with two goals. Dalhousie was in the last playoff spot to start the weekend, with just a point edge on Moncton. Friday night Dal got hammered by UPEI 7-2 with rookie Jared Gomes scoring the natural hat trick. Maybe the had an off weekend because they didn't have their favourite sticks? Dal stayed alive because Moncton at the same time lost 6-1 to Saint Mary's, with Cody Thorton scoring twice on the power play. Thorton would finish the regular season with a conference leading 15 of his 24 goals coming with the man advantage.

So on Saturday Dal was once again looking for the win to stay in in the final playoff spot, but they appeared to come out flat against a fired-up UNB team, rebounding from their first lost of the season. Hunter Tremblay had two apparent early goals waved off but the V-Reds did score two that counted in the first period, and another two in the second period, one in each period by Tremblay. A sloppy UNB five-minute power play in the third period saw Dal score two goals and finally wake up and get in the game, but UNB salted it away with an empty netter for the 5-2 win.

With the Dal loss, Moncton had hope and they made the most of it. The score was 1-1 after the ten minute overtime against Acadia, and Pier-Alexandre Poulin got the shootout winner – propelling les Aigles Bleus past Dal into the last playoff spot. StFX scored twice in the third period to force a tie with UPEI, and the overtime settled nothing. Panther Michael MacIssac got the shootout winner to make it a 6-5 win for UPEI. In Halifax it was a back and forth game for two periods, but the Huskies blew it out in the third period in beating St. Thomas 7-4. SMU captain Marc Rancourt got a pair of goals to close out the scoring.

So with UNB and Acadia getting the first round bye, the best-of-three AUS quarter-finals will see UdeM at Saint Mary's and StFX at UPEI on Wednesday night. The games shift to Moncton and Antigonish on Friday night, and then back to Halifax and Charlottetown if necessary on Sunday.
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