Hockey: AUS Weekly Update


The first weekend of the AUS men’s hockey schedule saw UNB come out on top in the battle of the heavyweights, Acadia send notice in decisive victories, two of the Saints struggle, and the rest of the conference split their weekend games.

In the red corner, the reigning champion …

Banner raising games are unique. The celebrating team members are revisiting past glories while their visitors sometimes stand there and stew in their juices about missed opportunities the previous spring. For both teams there is a long stretch of inactivity between the pregame skate and the puck drop. When the game finally starts, sometimes the celebrant comes out flying, and sometimes they come out flat. To UNB’s credit, they arranged for StFX to stay in their dressing room until the ceremonial faceoff Friday and they did not have to stand around too long.

In the much anticipated game itself, it was UNB riding their emotion and StFX hanging on, not helped by a parade to the penalty box. Halfway through the first period the X-Men only had one shot on goal. UNB got a goal late in the first, and then it was the V-Reds turn to lead the parade to the sin bin in the second period, allowing CIS Rookie of the Year Jason Bast to tie the game up. Until the midways point of the third period this was a tight-checking playoff-style game with few great scoring chances. After veteran V-Red speedster Dion Campbell scored the tie-breaker at 11:16, the game opened up considerably from the X-Men perspective. The bad news for X was that when UNB has a lead in the third period they tend to go into shutdown mode and there becomes little free ice to work with. Rookie Tyler Carroll scored an empty netter to salt this one away.

Saturday’s game was more one-sided, and edgier at the conclusion. The Huskies have been banged up in the preseason, and are just starting to get some key players back in the line-up. Rookie SMU goalie Anthony Peters was doing a pretty good job keeping the V-Reds at bay until a stretch of just over three minutes in the second period when UNB scored three goals. Thanks to two refs there were lots of penalties, and not always a lot of consistency in the calls. SMU pushed back in the third period and got one goal, but UNB really did control the game against rebuilding Saint Mary’s.

Friday – StFX 1 @ UNB 3
Saturday – Saint Mary’s 1 @ UNB 3

Acadia sends notice of their offensive upgrade

Only once did the Axemen score more than 5 goals in a game last season, and that was a wild 8-6 win over Moncton last November. The Acadia offence was sixth in the AUS. Friday night they scored 6 straight goals in two periods against UdeM, and the final score was 9-2. Saturday night they outshot St. Thomas 41-29. It’s only one weekend, but I may have underestimated their firepower in my AUS preview.

Friday – UdeM 2 @ Acadia 9
Saturday – STU 1 @ Acadia 3

Hawk is gone. Huskies in rebuild mode

Saint Mary’s is only two years removed from their first CIS hockey championship. Since then they’ve graduated their five best players and several other key role players from that team, with defensive stalwarts Andrew Hotham and David MacDonald not back this season. Those two AUS All-Stars used to play 30 minutes a game, so there’s a lot more ice time to divvy up on the back end this season. Worse, the Huskies have been fairly banged up in the preseason, dressing only 4 D some games. Coach Trevor Stienburg was reasonably pleased with his team Friday (minus chunks of the third period), but only really happy with their third period on Saturday and admits they are a work in progress for now.

Friday – SMU 2 @ UPEI 5
Saturday – SMU 1 @ UNB 3

The X-Men look hungry

Last season of course StFX pushed UNB to five games in the AUS championship, including overtime in the deciding game. They were one goal away from beating McGill and they made short work of Alberta at Nationals. With all of the pro-UNB emotion to start Friday’s game, the X-Men managed to take the crowd out of the game with a tight, close checking game. Saturday night they were never behind in the game on the Island. This team is for real.

Friday – StFX 1 @ UNB 3
Saturday – StFX 5 @ UPEI 2

Which are the real Aigles Bleus?

After a promising preseason, Moncton was surprisingly hammered on Friday night. Saturday night they bounced back, scoring four straight goals in humbling Dalhousie 7-2. If they continue to win and lose big it’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster for their coaches and fans.

Friday – UdeM 2 @ Acadia 9
Saturday – UdeM 7 @ Dalhousie 2

Are the Tigers better or worse this season?

Dal did not have an inspiring preseason. Albeit with a reduced roster many games, they got beat decisively. Often. Friday night they outshot STU 40-20 but only won by a goal. Good. Saturday night was that massacre by les Aigles Bleus. Bad. Which coach is going to be most frustrated this season?

Friday – STU 1 @ Dal 2
Saturday – UdeM 7 @ Dal 2

Are there still focus issues on the Island?

The Panthers were on both sides of 5-2 games on the weekend. Reportedly their performance Saturday, when they lost, did not look as inspired as their play on Friday. You can’t rest on your laurels in the AUS, and hopefully that message gets through. Consistency was a problem last season for UPEI, and for their sakes I hope they learn their lessons early this season.

Friday – SMU 2 @ UPEI 5
Saturday – StFX 5 @ UPEI 2

The rebuild is on for the Tommies, and fans will have to be patient.

While the final result didn’t look too bad Friday, STU was outshot Friday by a wide margin by a team they have to beat if they have any hope to make the playoffs. Similar thing happened Saturday night. New coach Troy Ryan needs to get the Tommies to improve their defensive systems if they don’t want hot-headed goalie Charles Lavigne to become shell-shocked and completely lose it this season.

Friday – STU 1 @ Dal 2
Saturday – STU 1 @ Acadia 3
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home

0 comments:

Post a comment