Hockey: AUS Weekly Update

The final week of the first half in AUS men’s hockey saw the Varsity Reds stay in first place, and Saint Mary’s leapfrog Moncton and Acadia into second place. As was discussed last week, SMU has played two more games than UNB and UdeM and one more than Acadia, so appearances are a bit deceiving. UPEI is solidly in fifth place and StFX in sixth. STU is now just five points back of X with a game in hand and Dalhousie three more points back. In other words eight points out of the playoffs in their annus horribilis.

V-Reds survive a hot goalie and disobliging referee

The biggest crowd of the season thus far in the AUS, 3123, came out Friday to the AUC to see if STU could knock off UNB. They came close, thanks to stellar goaltending once again from Charlie Lavigne and a disproportionate number of power plays in the third period, including a dribbling power play puck that did NOT cross the goal line before being stopped by defenceman Jonathan Harty in the view of the goal judge, the media in the press box, and hundreds of fans who had a better view of the puck than the referee. However he decided it was in. To tie the game for STU. There is no photo or video replay in the AUS so the ref couldn’t be overruled. UNB dominated OT and came away with the win, but STU did steal a point thanks to Lavigne and their 7 momentum-killing power plays in the third period (and 11 in the game). Shots were 43-16 for UNB who were 0-for-5 on the PP.

Friday – STU 2 @ UNB 3 OT

Interesting week for Saint Mary’s

Wednesday the Huskies came back from a 4-goal first period deficit to beat StFX 6-5. This was a very chippy game with 67 PIM for StFX and 74 PIM for SMU. The PIM winner was Mark Louis who laid out SMU rookie Stephen Johnston with a thunderous open-ice hit. The big StFX d-man was given a 5-minute major for contact to the head and a match penalty (which probably means at least a 4-game suspension) while Johnston was prone on the ice for several worrying minutes.

Friday night Saint Mary’s was in Wolfville and they had a better start, as they scored first and were never behind in the game. Special teams were a factor as SMU was 2-for-6 on the PP while Acadia went 0-for-4.

Wednesday– StFX 5 @ SMU 6
Friday – SMU 4 @ Acadia 2

Aigles Bleus take rematch against Panthers

After blowing a 3-goal lead and losing at home to UPEI the previous week, UdeM rebounded on the Island. Like SMU, Moncton scored first and were never behind. Lots of chippy penalties in this one as well.

Friday – UdeM 3 @ UPEI 2

Acadia loses 4-point game

The Axemen had a great opportunity at home Friday. Win against SMU and they would finish the first half in second place and the Huskies would be in fourth. Lose and the opposite would happen. Which is what happened. Still Acadia is only four points back of first place UNB (who have played one less game). For the poolies Andrew Clark picked up a goal and an assist in the loss to keep him at the top of the leader board with 24 points in the first half, two more than UPEI’s Matt Carter.

Friday – SMU 4 @ Acadia 2

Panthers winning streak over

UPEI had a nice little 4-game winning streak going that was keeping them in contact with the top third in the AUS. Friday Moncton didn’t do them the repeat favour of sitting on their lead and taking bad penalties. They did outshoot UdeM 34-27 in the loss.

Friday – UdeM 3 @ UPEI 2

StFX losing the close ones

One difference between this season and last is that StFX is coming out on the wrong end of close games. Wednesday against SMU was different. Tweet of the week goes to UdeM’s online presence Phillip Poirier: “Blown 3 goal leads are so last week, blowing 4 goal leads is where it's at this week.” However many games Mark Louis gets suspended is going to hurt the X-men for sure early in the second half.

Wednesday– StFX 5 @ SMU 6

Tommies steal a point

Rebuilding STU doesn’t have the depth to match lines with UNB and go end to end. They do have a goaltender in Lavigne who can keep them in games, especially when his teammates collapse back in front of him to congest shooting and passing lanes and win battles for rebounds. They have opportunistic scorers. This week they had seven power plays in the third period and didn’t give up a shorthanded goal, a big improvement. (I know … snark). However, they did give up a shortie to UNB d-man Bretton Stamler in the second period, who also got the winner in OT. I’m not going to predict that the Tommies will make the playoffs, but StFX sure better sure not go into another extended slump.

Friday – STU 2 @ UNB 3 OT

No losses for Dal this week

They finished their first half of play last week.

Good luck to all of the student-athletes on their exams and Merry Christmas.
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