Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

This week in AUS men’s hockey saw the No. 1 ranked Varsity Reds remain undefeated, les Aigles Bleus flying high, a surprisingly tough week for the X-Men, a not-so-great weekend for the Axemen, pretty good week for the Huskies, good weekend at home for the Panthers, terrible weekend for the Tigers, and the first win for coach Troy Ryan and the Tommies. Thanks to that STU win on Saturday it was the first night in a long time that the former MacAdam Division teams (UNB, UdeM, STU, UPEI) were all victorious against their former Kelly Division rivals (SMU, StFX, Acadia, Dal).

Fly like an eagle. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.

The last time Moncton looked this good was in 2006, when they were also 5-1 in their first six games. Game 7 that season and this year will be against their arch-nemeses UNB. Five years ago UdeM lost that one, but then went on a 9-game win streak, finished in first place, won the AUS, and then lost the University Cup, at home, in overtime, to yes, UNB. Quite the year.

This season UdeM was hammered in their first game by Acadia, but have been solid ever since. They’ve also been fun to watch, often playing old-school fire wagon hockey. Three Aigles Bleus lead the early AUS scoring race – Christian Gaudet, Marc-Andre Cote and captain Dean Ouellet (who is tied with Acadia’s Andrew Clark in 3rd place). Gaudet is showing so far that he’s been worth the wait with 12 points in 6 games played. UdeM went hard after him out of Junior (the Memramcook native played for the Q’s Moncton Wildcats) but he decided to play a couple years of minor pro before coming back to Moncton and red-shirting last season while attending school.

Friday – UdeM 4 @ StFX 2
Saturday – UdeM 3 @ SMU 2


Who is out and why is the question at UNB

Just before game time Friday we discovered that UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall would not be behind the bench, as the conference had suspended him two games for the verbal altercation between the bench and SMU defenceman Justin Wallingford on October 15 in Fredericton, for which Wallingford received a game misconduct and was sent to the locker room before the customary on-ice handshakes. He was out SMU’s next game against UPEI. The AUS had apparently made the decision this week that MacDougall would also receive two games, so someone must have filed an appeal or sent in video (Saint Mary’s?). Not a word was communicated to anyone in the media by the AUS about the incident or the decision. You can understand UNB not wanting about to make a big deal about it and keep it quiet, but that’s why the league has to keep everyone informed about what is going on in the back rooms.

I can’t speak to what heated words were exchanged between the UNB bench and Wallingford at the end of the game, but we were broadcasting the game and witnessed some of which drew the V-Reds ire. At 3:45 of the third period the 6’7” defenceman drove UNB’s Dion Campbell dangerously into the boards from behind and the closest referee signalled a penalty. This was followed by a scrum as Campbell’s teammates tried to get at Wallingford and the SMU players stuck up for him. Normal after the whistle stuff. UNB’s bench was soon livid when they discovered that Wallingford was only called for cross-checking and one of their players was given the only minor penalty in the scrum, nullifying the power play. At 9:18 SMU crashed the UNB net and got their only goal of the game. Nine seconds later V-Reds goalie Travis Fullerton was called for slashing after the Huskies came hard to the net again and Fullerton took exception. A player from each team was called for roughing after the whistle at 11:24 and SMU’s Stephen Johnston for boarding at 14:08. So yes, a feisty period. Fast forward to the end of the game and for some reason UNB captain Kyle Bailey slashed Johnston on the legs as time expired. Wallingford, on the point, saw this and skated forward to have words with Bailey. Another scrum ensues and then the UNB bench starts unloading on Wallingford. I’ve only heard second-hand the words supposedly directed at the Huskies player, and it is not pretty. The UNB coaches, like most, are known for being very protective of their players and it was a rough period. That doesn’t condone opposing coaches taking out that frustration verbally on opposing players. I can only guess that is what led to MacDougall’s suspension, because as I said, nothing has been made public.

Back to the past weekend on the ice, UNB welcomed back star forward Chris Culligan on Friday. Culligan has missed the start of the conference games with an undisclosed injury. He had an assist on Friday and a big 4-points on Saturday. The V-Reds lost d-man Ben Shutron late in the second period when he took exception to a cross-check across the side of his head from Acadia rookie Nicholas Chouinard. After a few shoves Shutron dropped the glove and started throwing at Chouinard, who went down quickly and may not even got his gloves off. The both got fighting majors and Shutron the additional instigator minor. UNB’s vaunted depth came into play Saturday, as defenceman Josh Kidd took Shutron’s place in the lineup. It was Kidd’s first game since the preseason, also coming off an undisclosed injury. UNB’s new goalie Dan LaCosta has not played since that controversial SMU game when he took himself out after two periods due to a groin issue, so UNB has been dressing former high school and Junior B goalie Mike MacLean as backup.

Friday – Acadia 0 @ UNB 3
Saturday – Dal 1 @ UNB 10

Shortstaffed Tigers now struggling

Not a great weekend for Dalhousie. Friday night they were outshot 47-22 by UPEI. Already missing several players due to injuries and academic burdens, including top goalie Bobby Nadeau, they lost 1st line forward Pierre-Alexandre Vandall to injury in the game. All star defenceman David MacDonald, who transferred from Saint Mary’s and averages over 30 minutes a game, was called for fighting in the third period in what coach Pete Belliveau describes as “a bogus call, roughing at worst.”

Saturday night they arrived in Fredericton with nine regulars out of the lineup against the top team in the country. They did score the first goal, but UNB dominated territorial play and replied with ten of their own. The only positive for Belliveau was that they held UNB to 36 shots, as he was expecting “50-60 shots”.

Friday – Dal 2 @ UPEI 6
Saturday – Dal 1 @ UNB 10

Tommies finally have a win to show for their hard work

The previous weekend Saint Thomas came back late to tie games, but couldn’t get a win. Friday they had an early two-goal lead on the Huskies, but SMU scored three times in the last half of the first period. STU tied it in the second, but less than two minutes later Lucas Bloodfoff scored what stood as the winner. They were outshot 37-23 in the loss.

Saturday went better in Antigonish. Tied 2-2 after first period. 3-3 after two. X gets a power play goal to take the lead, but the Tommies reply with two goals and an empty netter for the big win. Hero of the weekend is Randy Cameron who scored four goals to get STU’s, and new coach Troy Ryan’s, first win.

Friday – STU 3 @ SMU 4
Saturday – STU 6 @ StFX 4

Are the X-Men still suffering from a Nationals hangover?

Not a good week for the X-Men. They were outplayed Wednesday by Saint Mary’s. Friday they outshot Moncton 38-25 but never had the lead. Saturday they outshot STU 31-22 and lost. All-star goalie Joey Perricone, their most valuable player last season, is looking very mortal and very average right now.

Wednesday – StFX 3 @ SMU 5
Friday – UdeM 4 @ StFX 2
Saturday – STU 6 @ StFX 4

The Huskies look like they're really missing Hotham and MacDonald

For years Saint Mary’s has had one of the best power plays in the AUS. This season, and it is early yet, they have the worst PP in the AUS – even worse than UNB. The V-Reds picked up 2 power play goals in the second period Saturday, so they’re now 3-for-30 or 10%. The Huskies? 3-for-39 or 7.7%. Last season defenceman Andrew Hotham led the team in points with 37, and he scored 7 goals quarterbacking the power play. His defensive partner David MacDonald had 21 points and 3 goals on the PP. They each logged over 30 minutes a game and now they’re both gone, with MacDonald a few blocks away at Dalhousie. Recruits Jamie Doornbosch and Michael D’Orazio have been called upon to try to fill those minutes with injuries to several of the Huskies remaining veteran d-men and are still learning the way through the league.

The Huskies played a simple but effective game against StFX on Wednesday and earned the win. Friday they outshot STU by a healthy margin but were forced to come back in the second period for the win. Saturday they outshot Moncton by a healthy margin but lost. The SMU power play those 3 games? A combined 2-for-17.

Wednesday – StFX 3 @ SMU 5
Friday – STU 3 @ SMU 4
Saturday – UdeM 3 @ SMU 2

Panthers are still streaky

After dropping their previous three games, UPEI won both home games on the weekend. In a penalty-filled game Friday they went 3-for-7 on the PP and outshot Dal 47-22. Saturday they scored four straight goals and held off a furious Acadia pushback to hang on for the win. It was another good night for the Panthers power play that went 3-for-4. Rookie goalie Mavric Parks has now won his last two starts.

Friday – Dal 2 @ UPEI 6
Saturday – Acadia 3 @ UPEI 5

Acadia now finding the games tougher

The Axemen had a great start to the season, but they are now moving into the part of the schedule where they face opponents from the top half of last season’s standings. Friday in Fredericton they held the high-flying V-Reds to 26 shots, but couldn’t score on Travis Fullerton, and didn’t create a ton of chances. Saturday they got down early to the Panthers and dug themselves too deep a hole to get out of. Acadia’s returning top three point guys from last season – Andrew Clark, Jonathan Laberge and Jacob Dietrich – did not score on the weekend and Dietrich was out Saturday.

Friday – Acadia 0 @ UNB 3
Saturday – Acadia 3 @ UPEI 5
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home

0 comments:

Post a comment