Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

Well this weekend in AUS men's hockey UNB stretched their lead a little more ahead of the peloton while their cross-campus rivals St. Thomas fell a bit more off the back. So it was good news, bad news for hockey fans in Fredericton. Meanwhile teams shuffled around in the pack, with UPEI moving from a tie for third place to a tie for second place with Saint Mary's, while StFX saw themselves slip from a tie for third place to be all alone in fifth place, passed by Acadia. Dal sits in the final playoff spot, with Moncton still four points back, looking in. STU, with only nine points, is all but eliminated now.

Friday night was a big, BIG game in Fredericton, with the reigning CIS champion Huskies in town for a four point game against the Varsity Reds. A snowstorm kept a lot of fans away, but those who were witnessed UNB get an early lead on a Luke Gallant power play goal, and then quickly add another from their energy line. Later in the period the game's first star Lachlan MacIntosh showed good patience in extending the lead to three. MacIntosh who seems to play better the bigger the game (2009 University Cup MVP) was a threat every time he was on the ice. SMU rebounded well in the second period, and their special teams were the difference in the penalty filled second period, with Ryan Rorabeck scoring a nice goal on the powerplay to finish a tic-tac-toe play. If not for UNB goalie Travis Fullerton, the Huskies might have tied the game in the second period. The final period saw play go back UNB's way, especially when All-Canadian Saint Mary's d-man Andrew Hotham talked himself into a game misconduct ... while already part way through serving a 10-minute misconduct. MacIntosh added an insurance marker in the period, and it was another pretty goal, to make it 4-1.

Saturday night in Fredericton wasn't as big a game in the standings, but maybe more so emotionally for all of those who remembered the playoffs last season. UNB started off well, with another Gallant power play goal, but then StFX doggedly stuck to their systems, especially their defensive zone coverage. No matter what they tried, UNB couldn't extend their lead, and worse, they gave up a power play goal to “X” captain Chris Hulit in the second period. You could feel the tension in the rink after that, because the X-Men were being badly outshot, and fans (and there were 3349 of them) had seen before how this movie could end. The V-Reds did regroup in the third period and were decidedly grittier in getting to the net. In a space of 7:25 they found and created seams in the X-Men coverage scoring three goals, led by oft-injured sniper Daine Todd who scored his first of the season. So another 4-1 win for the V-Reds who outshot their opponents a collective 67-40 on the weekend and have not given up more than two goals in 13 games at home, where they are undefeated.

In Charlottetown, the Panthers had a great weekend. Friday night they were hosting the X-Men, with the two teams tied for third place in the standings. UPEI jumped out to two-goal first period lead. StFX struck twice in 32 seconds early in the second period to tie it up. But late in the period Chad Locke scored the go ahead goal for UPEI. StFX put on a furious push in the third period, outshooting the Islanders 15-5, but couldn't find the back of the net and UPEI held on for the 3-2 win. Saturday night they had the pleasure of playing Saint Mary's, fresh off their loss to UNB. SMU scored the only goal in the first period, but the Panthers had a great second period, outshooting the Huskies 18-5 while scoring three goals. SMU managed one goal in the third period to draw within a goal, but still lost 3-2 while being outshot 31-24. With the win, UPEI moved themselves into a tie for second place with the Huskies. Not a bad weekend at all.

Turning to Wolfville, it was also a good weekend for the Axemen. Moncton Christmas recruit Alexandre Quesnel scored on the power play to give UdeM the initial lead, Acadia's special teams went to work in the second period with two power play goals and shorthander. Ryan Graham scored his second goal late in the period to salt away the 4-1 win. Saturday night St. Thomas was in town and once again Acadia's first goal came from Graham on the power play. STU scored in the second period to tie it up, only to see Acadia retake the lead less than seven minutes later on the power play. Acadia stretched their lead early in the third period, but STU responded with a power play goal several minutes later. They couldn't find the tying goal, and Andrew Clark scored his tenth of the season into an empty net for a 4-2 final and a big four points for the weekend.

Finally we turn to the SuperCity, Halifax. It was a wild game Friday, with Dalhousie scoring four goals in the first period before STU got on the scoreboard, only to see the Tigers respond with yet another. 5-1 after a period, the teams traded goals twice until 10:23, when Charles Lavigne was finally swapped out of the Tommies net with the score 7-3. Ben MacFarlane gave up a goal late in the period and another in the third period before the Dal onslaught finally ended. STU did respond with three goals in the third period, but still lost 9-6. Ben Breault led the Tigers' attack with 3 goals and 2 assists, while Francois Gauthier, Pat Daley and P.-A. Vandall all had three points each. Saturday night was a different story, as the visiting Aigles Bleus scored four goals in the first period, two of them off the stick of Alexandre Quesnel, who now has five goals in the six games he's played so far for UdeM. Dal did score two goals in the second period and two in the third period, but Moncton added a goal in each of those periods for a 6-4 win.

Next week we've got SMU @ StFX on Wednesday. Friday sees UNB @ STU, UPEI @ UdeM, Dal @ Acadia and StFX @ SMU. Hmm, two games in three days between the Huskies and X-Men – that can't go well, can it? Saturday we've got UdeM @ STU, UNB @ UPEI, Dal @ SMU, and Acadia @ StFX.

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