Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

It was not your average week in AUS men's hockey. There was two overtime games Friday, and three games went into overtime shootouts Saturday night. In the new normal, UNB's goaltending issues continued, Moncton stayed hot and Dal's still not. StFX and UPEI continued their inconsistency while Saint Mary's and Acadia had a good week. Speaking of good weeks, the rebuild continues successfully for St. Thomas who now find themselves just one point back of the sliding X-Men.

Musical chairs continue in the UNB crease

With Travis Fullerton still recovering from his emergency appendectomy, on Friday the V-Reds got some good new when former NHLer Dan LaCosta started in nets for the first time since October 15. He wasn't particularly busy as UNB cruised to a win over short-staffed Dalhouise, who are also missing their starting goalie. Saturday was a different story, as LaCosta let in two goals on four shots and didn't return after the first period. One suspects a re-aggravated groin injury. So UNB went back to former Tommies goalie Matt Davis, and once again he had a challenging outing. For a guy who hasn't played competitive hockey in a couple of years he had to deal with a penalty shot (unsuccessfully) and an overtime shootout (also unsuccessfully). No pressure, but UNB's only two losses this season have come with Davis in nets.

Friday — UNB 9 @ Dal 2
Saturday — UNB 5 @ Acadia 6 OT-SO

Aigles Bleus still flying high

Moncton had a great weekend thanks to great success in overtime, and managed to get within a point of first place UNB. Friday night Francis Rochon was the hero 2:30 into OT. Saturday night the 10-minute overtime wasn't enough and it took a shootout with Pierre-Alexandre Poulin getting credit for the winning goal when two Huskies shooters came up short. UdeM netminder P-A Marion now leads the AUS with six wins.

Friday — StFX 2 @ UdeM 3 OT
Saturday — SMU 4 @ UdeM 5 OT-SO

Acadia looks to be finding their groove

After starting the month on a 3-game losing streak, the Axemen are now riding a 3-game winning streak. Friday Evan Mosher earned his first shutout, only the second in the AUS this season. How bad did the game go for UPEI? They gave up two shorthanded goals on one power play in the second period. Ouch. Saturday the Axemen squeaked by UNB, which ends their three-game regular season losing streak to the V-Reds (in which they were shutout each time). Definitely a big win, even if UNB was down to their third string goalie.

Friday — UPEI 0 @ Acadia 5
Saturday — UNB 5 @ Acadia 6 OT-SO

Saint Mary's also back in the hunt

The Huskies are also looking more like their old selves. Wednesday they cruised by Dal. Friday was a big game for big defenceman Justin Wallingford who scored his first two goals of the season to give SMU all the offence they needed to squeak by St. Thomas in overtime. Saturday overtime went the other way, as they lost to Moncton in a shootout, but they still picked up that all important point in the standings.

Wednesday — Dal 1 @ SMU 6
Friday — SMU 2 @ STU 1 OT
Saturday — SMU 4 @ UdeM 5 OT-SO

UPEI keeps on splittin'

Another weekend, another split for the inconsistent Panthers. Friday was that blanking in Wolfville and Saturday afternoon they bounced back against Dal. Like I said last week, the Tigers are unfortunately the cure for everyone's losing streak.

Friday — UPEI 0 @ Acadia 5
Saturday — UPEI 6 @ Dal 3

Tough weekend for the X-Men

What can you say when you lose two games in overtime. You probably feel you deserve a better fate. It does mean two points however which is the usual goal on a weekend road trip. After former all-star netminder Joey Perricone lost three in a row the Panthers went to rookie Morgan Clark on November 4 and he won against Dal. Clark was in again Friday, and then they went back to Perricone on Saturday. You get the feeling coach Brad Peddle would love to see one of his goalies win two games in a row.

Friday — StFX 2 @ UdeM 3 OT
Saturday — StFX 5 @ STU 6 OT-SO

Big three-point weekend for the Tommies

Bill Hunt of the Daily Gleaner tweeted out an interesting point this weekend. The Tommies have as many wins so far in ten games as they had in all of last season — three. You don't have to be a stats major to see the improvement (or appreciate how miserable last season was for STU). For me the biggest change is that this year's version of the Tommies don't self-destruct in the third period.

Friday — SMU 2 @ STU 1 OT
Saturday — StFX 5 @ STU 6 OT-SO

Can it get worse at Dalhousie?

Three losses this week. In each case they didn't have bad starts, but the wheels came off in the second or third period. Like UNB, Dal has goaltender issues. The Tigers don't have the team depth to match the V-Reds so they are more sensitive to goalie problems. Bobby Nadeau was expected to carry the load this season, but he's been having groin problems. Rookie Wendell Vye was supposed to be Nadeau's understudy and learn the ropes, but he's been forced into the front lines. He's struggling late in games so this weekend the third-string goalie (and also a rookie) Philip Wright came in the game in relief on Friday and got the start Saturday.

That's eight games in a row Dalhousie has lost now and they've given up five or more goals in each of those losses. But coach Pete Bellieveau has other issues as well – along with the injuries every team has several Dal players are finding their academic load heavy this year and aren't able to commit to the hockey team. That blow to the depth helps explain why the Tigers only scored one or two goals in seven of those eight losses.

Wednesday — Dal 1 @ SMU 6
Friday — UNB 9 @ Dal 2
Saturday — UPEI 6 @ Dal 3

This coming week UNB is at UPEI on Friday and then home Sunday afternoon for a potential first place battle against Moncton. Acadia is at Dal and SMU while the Huskies are home to the X-Men on Friday. X hosts Dal on Saturday. St. Thomas are home to UdeM on Friday and then travel to Charlottetown on Saturday to play the Panthers.
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