Men's Hockey: AUS Update - Week 2 a lot like Week 1

The second week of the AUS men's hockey conference saw the same match-ups as the first weekend, but in the other teams' barns. UNB remains the only undefeated team, Dalhousie the only winless team, and everyone else is evenly divided in groups of two in the middle.

New-look V-Reds are a lot like the old V-Reds

Despite returning only a dozen players from their national championship team, including University Cup MVP Tyler Carroll who is out indefinitely with an upper body injury and hasn't played since the preseason, the Varsity Reds are cruising along pretty well so far. Friday night UNB inserted another recruit into the line-up, Phillipe Maillet, and he picked up an assist on a Chris Culligan goal on his first shift in the first minute of his first game. In case you're keeping count, and I'm sure the rest of the AUS is, that is skater #20 for the V-Reds so far this season. Under the new AUS roster cap they've now got a spot left for Carroll plus just one additional skater this season. Saturday night Maillet picked up his third assist of the weekend on Cam Critchlow's game winner to cap a UNB comeback over the opportunistic X-Men.

Friday - UNB 4 @ SMU 2
Saturday - UNB 4 @ StFX 2

Axemen can win on road with fewer shots on goal

Trust me, I'm not the only one who questions the high shot counts at the Acadia Arena. Two weekends ago the Axemen recorded a combined 111 shots on goal against STU and UPEI. This past weekend Acadia was on the road against the same two teams and recorded a combined 58 shots on goal. Is the Olympic-sized ice in Wolfville the only difference? Acadia exploded in the third period against the Tommies just like the previous week, and then were able to squeak out a win on the Island the following night thanks to two goals from Liam Heelis, including a shorty in the third period. Heelis now leads the AUS scoring race with 6 goals and 2 assists after four games.

Friday - Acadia 7 @ STU 2
Saturday - Acadia 2 @ UPEI 1

Panthers have the early goaltending edge

While fans often comment on UPEI's quick transitional play, their goaltending tandem of Wayne Savage and Mavric Parks should not be discounted. Granted it is early in the season (and they've played a game in Wolfville), but the duo have a combined goals against average of 1.50 and a save percentage of .949. Friday the Panthers had a 2-to-1 shot margin in a 2-1 home opener win, while Saturday they were on the wrong side of a close 2-1 game.

Friday - Dal 1 @ UPEI 2
Saturday - Acadia 2 @ UPEI 1

Moncton not as good on the road

Suddenly the high-flying and national ranked Aigles Bleus are a .500 team. The high and lows of the early season. Friday night they were down by two when they pulled their goalie, but could only manage one goal with 8 seconds left on the clock. Saturday they had a 3-1 lead early in the second period, but the Huskies woke up and rang off four unanswered goals. A bright spot for UdeM are the hot hands of 2nd-year forward Pier-Antoine Dion, who had two goals and an assist in the loss to SMU and has at least one point in every game so far, for a total of 7 points. Dion had 9 points last season.

Friday - UdeM 2 @ StFX 3
Saturday - UdeM 3 @ SMU 5

Tommies still in the .500 club

STU had 3 wins in a forgettable season last year. They've got two already in the first two weeks of this season, both times against Dal. On the flip side they've come undone against the Acadia in the third period in both of their games. On the plus side rookie Brendan Childerly is tied in the scoring race with UNB star Chris Culligan, each with 4 goals and 2 assists. On the negative side, frustrated Tommies goalie Jon Groenheyde made contact with an official in the third period and earned a match penalty and ejection, and is suspended "indefinitely". The good news on Saturday was that STU rookie goaltender Alex St-Arnaud earned his first career win in the annual Lou Chabot Memorial game.

Friday - Acadia 7 @ STU 2
Saturday - Dal 2 @ STU 5

Huskies find their missing power play

SMU was 0-for-3-games with the man advantage to start the season. Saturday they get their first power play goal and they earn their first win. Coincidence? More importantly perhaps, Curtis Black got his first win in the Huskies net. Black only had one start last season, the last game of the regular season, which the Huskies lost 4-3 to StFX in overtime. With all-star workhorse Anthony Peters on the shelf since the start of the season, all the weight is on Black's shoulders now. Friday night SMU was completely outplayed by UNB in the first period, down 3-0, and made a game of it in the last two periods. Saturday they dug a shallower hole against Moncton before managing a successful comeback, helped by Lucas Bloodoff's two second-period goals.

Friday - UNB 4 @ SMU 2
Saturday - UdeM 3 @ SMU 5

Yes, the X-Men are still better than their record

The first time StFX played UdeM they came up a goal short. This time they came away with the one goal win. On Saturday UNB dominated the territorial play and shot clock in the first period, but it was the X-Men with the intermission lead. UNB tied it up in the second, only to see Robert Slaney, with his third goal of the weekend, retake the lead for the home side in the third period. The V-Reds continued their customary push and were rewarded with two goals in a 30 second span, plus a late empty netter to seal the win.

Friday - UdeM 2 @ StFX 3
Saturday - UNB 4 @ StFX 2

Tigers in early trouble

Four games in and Dal has yet to win a game. They've lost both of their games against STU, which are must-wins. They managed to keep the score close against UPEI on Saturday only because goaltender Wendel Vye stood on his head. Without injured offensive leader Pierre-Alexandre Vandall in the lineup so far this season Dal's scoring has pretty much disappeared. Great time for some players to step up and make a mark.

Friday - Dal 1 @ UPEI 2
Saturday - Dal 2 @ STU 5

Upcoming in Week 3

Dal is at Acadia for our first Wednesday match of the season. On Friday, SMU takes their turn at the Axemen. Also, STU hosts cross-campus rival UNB and will try to end their long losing streak (35 games) in the Battle of the Hill, UPEI crosses the Fixed Link to renew their rivalry with Moncton, and the Tigers are at the X-Men.

On Saturday UNB hosts UdeM in another battle of rivals, SMU is at StFX and the Tommies visit the Panthers. 
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