Hockey: AUS Semi-Final Playoffs, Part 2

All of this volleyball and basketball action has us pushed off the main page, so where were we?

UNB has released the schedule for first two games of AUS championship vs. SMU or StFX. Friday at 8:00 pm (UNB women's basketball will be playing in one of those newfangled regional games at 6:00 pm) and Saturday at 7:00 pm.]

#1 UNB
(23-5-0) vs. #4 Acadia (14-11-3)

Game #3: As I suspected might be the case at the start of the series, before Acadia became so banged up, was that UNB might come out a little flat Thursday night and the desperate Axemen would play, well, desperate. Acadia scored on their first shot by back-in-the-lineup Ryan Graham, added another savable goal in the first period, and held on for a 3-1 win while being outshot 32-24 by the V-Reds.

Game #4: Friday night a different UNB team showed up, and I don't think it was all to do with the roster changes. The V-Reds played a more physical and focused game, and even though Acadia got the first goal again, Hunter Tremblay replied shortly after with a great individual effort. UNB added goals by rookie playoff sensation Nick MacNeil and Chris Culligan in the third period, but then MacNeil took a bad penalty and Chris Owens on the power play got Acadia within a goal. The third period saw the Axemen go all out to try to tie the game, outshooting the perhaps-too-comfortable V-Reds 16-5 in the final 20 minutes, but they couldn't get another puck past Travis Fullerton, who was deemed the game 1st star for his third period heroics. (No offence, and this is just my opinion, but Acadia goalie Kristofer Westblom had to make a number of key saves in the first two periods and at least warranted one of the three game stars despite being less busy in the third period). 3-2 final with Acadia outshooting UNB 33-28.

Axemen alive in AUS semi (The Daily Gleaner)
V-Reds put Axemen away (David Ritchie, Daily Gleaner)

#2 SMU (18-9-1) vs. #3 StFX (17-10-1)

Game #4: Well we had to wait for Sunday night for this one, with StFX hosting the AUS women's hockey championship on the weekend
(the host hammered UdeM 9-2). Saint Mary's played like a team facing elimination, and took advantage of over-aggressive penalty killing by the X-Men to score two five-on-three power play goals plus a shorty by Cory Tanaka. This one was pretty much all Huskies, who outshot the X-Men 37-17 in the 4-1 win, forcing game five back in Halifax.

Game #5: Tuesday night the biggest crowd of the season in the AUS, 4685 at the Halifax Forum, witnessed StFX rebound from a listless first period, tie the game in the second period, and then score early in the second overtime period to to win the game and the series 3-2. It is the second season in a row the X-Men have knocked off the reigning CIS champion. Phil Mangan deflected a Brennan Wray shot/pass from the corner through the pads of Neil Conway 50 seconds into double overtime on an innocent looking play. SMU was up 2-0 early and badly outplayed StFX in the first period. StFX tied the game in the second period on two opportunistic goals, with the tying marker by Jason Bast on a breakaway. SMU outshot StFX in this game, and had the better scoring chances in regulation time, but Joey Perricone kept his team in the game and then X was the better team in overtime.

X-Women roll to AUS hockey title (Glenn MacDonald, Chronicle-Herald)
Huskies even series with X (Glenn MacDonald, Chronicle-Herald)
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