Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

It was only the second week in the AUS men’s hockey conference, but it was a mirror image of last weekend with the same opponents playing in the other teams’ barns. This has led to some distortion in the standings as well. StFX and Saint Mary’s have both played first-place UNB twice, while tied-for-second Acadia and Moncton have yet to play a top-3 team from last season (UNB, SMU, StFX). We’ll probably get a better feel where everyone stands next weekend when the Aigles Bleus play the X-Men and Huskies and the Axemen visit the Varsity Reds.

Can you be a top team in the AUS without a good power play and great goaltending?
This season UNB has the worst power play in the conference. It wasn’t until the third period of Saturday’s game that they finally scored on the PP (0-for-16 until then), and then they gave up a shorthanded goal a few minutes later. Last season UNB had the stingiest team defence in the CIS. Saturday night they got into a game of pond hockey with StFX and blew leads twice, but still won. Last season goalie Travis Fullerton had a .928 save percentage and 1.60 goals against average. This season after 200 minutes in nets: .859 and 3.00 GAA. Yet the Varsity Reds are 4-0-0. Go figure.
Friday – UNB 7 @ StFX 6
Saturday – UNB 4 @ SMU 2


Offensive Axemen
So far, Acadia’s offence leads the conference, and is making some poolies happy in the AUS Hockey pool. Andrew Clark sits atop the leader board with 10 points in 4 games and rookie Travis Gibbons leads all defencemen with 6 points, just ahead of teammate Chris Owens. Their schedule gets tougher going forward, so we’ll have to see if they can sustain the attack.
Friday – Acadia 4 @ UdeM 6
Saturday – Acadia 7 @ STU 5


Old school Aigles Bleus
This weekend Moncton looked like the flying “eagles” of the past. Their goals all come off the rush against Acadia on Friday. On Saturday they dominated the Tigers 42-26 in shots. Coveted recruit Christian Gaudet has 7 points, as does veteran Marc-André Côté and they’re tied with StFX’s Bryce Swan for second place early in the points race.
Friday – Acadia 4 @ UdeM 6
Saturday – Dal 1 @ UdeM 5


Short staffed Huskies
Everyone knew Saint Mary’s was going to find it hard to replace defensive horses Andrew Hotham and David MacDonald who probably played 30 minutes a game. Early in the season veterans Kyle Wharton and Tyler Cuthbert have missed games with injuries. This has put tremendous pressure on rookies Jamie Doornbosch and Michael D’Orazio who have been logging big minutes and not looking out of place. Welcoming back veteran Cam Fergus on the weekend, who apparently was going to turn pro, has at least given their forwards a boost.
Friday – UPEI 1 @ SMU 4
Saturday – UNB 4 @ SMU 2


Slow starting Panthers
To be fair, UPEI (who are UNB’s travel partners) have had to play StFX and SMU twice already. 1-3 is a tough start to the season for a team trying to crack the top-3. The Panthers relied on their offence and goaltending last season, but right now they’re being outshot an average of 36-28. Rookie goalie Mavric Parks has a very respectable .910 save percentage, but a 3.25 GAA and 0-2-0 record and sniper Matt Carter only has a goal and an assist so far.
Friday – UPEI 1 @ SMU 4
Saturday – UPEI 2 @ StFX 3


Jeckyll and Hyde X-Men
Normally defensive focused StFX put on a last-goal-wins show for their fans Friday, coming back twice from behind but coming up short in the end. Then they turned around Saturday and came back twice from behind in a comparably low-scoring game against UPEI and pulled off the win.
Friday – UNB 7 @ StFX 6
Saturday – UPEI 2 @ StFX 3


50-50 Tigers
Dalhousie has so far beat St. Thomas twice and lost to Moncton twice. These are the teams they have to beat if they want to make the playoffs again. Now for the next ten games they will face teams who all made the playoffs last season. Test time.
Friday – Dal 5 @ STU 3
Saturday – Dal 1 @ UdeM 5


Rebuilding Tommies showing some heart
We all recognize that St. Thomas is officially in rebuild mode under new coach Troy Ryan. Friday they came back and tied Dal twice in the first two periods, only to have the Tigers score in the third period and add an empty netter. Shots were almost even. On Saturday, they were down 5-2 going into the third period, but tied it up against Acadia, only to watch Joe Gaynor get the game winner and an empty netter. Not wins, but positive signs in TommiesLand.
Friday – Dal 5 @ STU 3
Saturday – Acadia 7 @ STU 5
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