Well the holidays are over and most of us are back at work (if not heading back to school), so let’s look back at the holiday exhibition games in the AUS.
McGill had their first game at the 5th annual Keating Cup in Antigonish cancelled due to poor weather, so it all came down to one game against StFX on December 29. McGill battled back from a three-goal deficit to start the third period and forced overtime, thanks in no small part to two goals from rookie Nicolas Biniek. However the magic ran out in overtime, as Bryce Swann completed his hat trick on a power play for the 6-5 X-Men win.
Also on December 29th the Acadia Axemen had a convincing 6-1 win over the Toronto Varsity Blues, with Adam McIllwraith scoring twice for the home side.
The next night in Fredericton, UNB came out flying and scored four goals in the first seven and half minutes of the game against the Redmen, and then cruised to an anticlimactic 7-1 win in the much anticipated game between the number two and three ranked teams in the CIS. Nick Layton, who has struggled offensively this season, led the V-Reds attack with two goals. The money quote from McGill head coach Kelly Nobes: “We were on our heels to start and didn't respond well to UNB. There haven't been too many games when we had to play without the puck. It is a good lesson and we'll learn from it.”
In Truro, NS, the V-Blues got their revenge on the AUS, upsetting Saint Mary’s 3-2 in an overtime shootout. The Huskies outshot Toronto 46-26 in the loss. Meanwhile in Charlottetown the UPEI Panthers edged the Dalhousie Tigers 4-3 in overtime with Matthew Maione notching the winner as the Panthers crashed the Dal net.
Also on the 30th, Saint Thomas lost 6-4 at home to Moncton in a fight-filled affair that saw Aigles Bleus captain Dean Ouellet and Tommies Kenton Dulle and Mike Reich tossed from the game, plus picking up automatic one game suspensions. And yes, the two teams don't like each other much.
New Year’s Day saw the NCAA’s Providence Friars in Fredericton for the sixth annual Pete Kelly Cup. UNB’s Dion Campbell scored just 33 seconds into the game and Friar Ian O’Conner tied it up midway through the period on a 5-on-3 power play. The V-Reds scored a power play goal in the second period and added another goal in the third for a hard fought 3-1 victory. The next night was a more even game, as the speedy Friars had their legs going and took away time and space from UNB all match. The only goal came in the second period, with Providence’s Jordan Kremyr putting the second rebound past Derek Yeomans. UNB eventually outshot the Friars 25-23 in the 1-0 loss, but the game was like playing a mirror image of themselves for the V-Reds. UNB retained the Pete Kelly Cup due to goal differential in the two-game series. The loss was UNB's first against an NCAA opponent this season, and their first 1-0 loss since 1996.
The biggest surprise of the holidays might have been the Tommies ‘trouncing’ the Panthers 9-2 on Sunday, on the Island no less. STU went 6-for-8 on the power play and Island natives Devan Praught and Randy Cameron each had two goals and two assists. Finally in Berwick, NS, Saint Mary’s beat Acadia 6-2.
The AUS teams gets back at ‘er this weekend with travel partners Dalhousie and Acadia visiting UNB and UPEI, while travel partners STU and Moncton will be at StFX and Saint Mary’s.