Well this week all of the AUS men's hockey teams hit the ice for their first exhibition games, or what the CIS likes to refer to as "non-conference" games. Guess I should get get with the program. Apparently "exhibition" games are those against non-CIS teams, like Calgary's tilt against the Flames Prospects. The NCAA follows similar nomenclature, which is probably where the CIS picked it up. The big difference is that in the NCAA non-conference game results affect official rankings and seedings, and can determine whether you get an invitation, or not, to a regional playoff tournament.
The first game of the week was Monday night in Port Hawkesbury, NS, just across the causeway in Cape Breton. Dalhousie showed up short-staffed and were humbled by UNB 8-0, with hometown boy Nick MacNeil and Jordan Clendenning each notching a pair of goals.
Tuesday night the Calgary Dinos started their tour of the Maritimes with a 3-2 overtime shootout loss to Acadia. Rookie Axeman Nicolas Choinard scored the winner and was the player of the game in the annual Don Wells Challenge Cup.
Wednesday night the Dinos were in Antigonish to play the X-Men for the Charles V. Keating Cup Challenge and scored first and held on for the 2-1 win over StFX. Acadia kept up their winning ways with a 5-1 win over Saint Mary's in Halifax while UPEI travelled to Fredericton and hammered St. Thomas 7-3, a bit of a reality check for the rebuilding Tommies and new coach Troy Ryan. After the game the Panthers got right back on the Trans-Canada Highway and defeated Carleton 5-2 Thursday night in Ottawa.
Friday night was a busy night. Moncton got their season off to a good start in Wolfville with a 1-0 blanking of Acadia. Dalhousie was back in Cape Breton, this time in Louisdale, but got hammered again. This time it was 8-1 at the hands of StFX. Eight different X-Men scored in the game. UPEI travelled on to Montreal where they defeated McGill 5-4 in an overtime shootout. Matt Carter scored the only goal of the shootout, snapping a 22-game win streak at McConnell Arena for the Redmen, who hadn't lost since a 5-2 OUA East semifinal setback to Carleton on Feb. 24, 2010.
Friday night also saw Saint Mary's double Brock 4-2 in the opener of the RBC Steel Blade tourney in St. Catharines. After a travel day, Calgary was back in the Aitken University Centre in Fredericton, for a replay of their match at the Cavendish University Cup against UNB. There were lots of parallels -- V-Reds d-man Josh Kidd, the last second hero of that game in March, opened the scoring with another blast through Dinos netminder Dustin Butler. As was the case in March, Teegan Moore scored Calgary's only goal against Travis Fullerton on a second period power play. The big difference in this game was that after a slow start UNB outshot Calgary 30-14 in the 3-1 win.
Saturday night UNB and Calgary travelled 40 minutes south to the small community of Fredericton Junction for a charity game. This was another rugged, physical match between two now rivals. This was a low scoring match -- V-Reds won 2-0 with an empty netter and onetime NHLer Dan LaCosta got the shutout. It was the fourth game in five nights for the Dinos. St. Thomas was at Acadia, but a similar result in a 6-2 loss to the Axemen. Moncton continued their road winning ways in Halifax, 5-2 over Dalhousie. The Tigers have now given up 21 goals in three games. Ouch. UPEI played McGill again and chalked up another victory, this time 4-3 in regulation time. SMU played their second game in St. Catharines, a 6-4 win over Guelph.
There was only one AUS game Sunday, as the Huskies dropped the Steel Blade tourney championship game 4-1 to host Brock.
This week Dal will be hoping for a win when they host Acadia on Wednesday. Thursday StFX is in Fredericton to play St. Thomas while UNB will be an hour upriver in Woodstock to host UQTR. Friday Dal will be in picturesque Cocagne, NB to play Moncton while SMU will be hosting Les Patriotes in the second leg of their tour of the Maritimes in neutral site Truro, NS.
Saturday night UQTR is at STU, while Dal is at UPEI. The Panthers then travel to Cocagne on Sunday to play Moncton.
Also on the weekend the annual NCAA road trips begin. UNB will be at New Hampshire on Saturday and Maine on Sunday. Acadia will be at the hard-to-spell teams: Rensselaer on Saturday and Quinnipiac on Sunday. StFX sees Boston University on Saturday and Northeastern on Sunday.
AFL Football: Since the CIS Blog is all about football this time of year, here's some weekend club football to pass along from the Atlantic Football League. Holland College of Charlottetown got past Dalhousie University 16-13. Matt Hanson returned the game’s opening kickoff for a touchdown but the UNB Saint John Seawolves dropped a 33-7 decision to the UNB Fredericton Red Bombers.