Men's Hockey: AUS Weekly Update - Preseason Week 3

Four AUS teams went south of the border on the weekend, and only UNB came away with a single win. Not that much different from previous years since you have to factor in bus legs, sometimes very different officiating, and good NCAA opponents excited to play their first game of the season and in front of their own fans. Let's be honest, NCAA Division I teams are good, and many of them are stocked with NCAA draft picks and future draft picks.

On their way to Boston StFX stopped in Shediac, NB on Thursday night to play UdeM. The X-Men were up 2-1 after the first period, and 4-1 early in the second period thanks to Michael Kirkpatrick's second goal. Les Aigles Bleus outshot X 40-36 in the game, but were only able to score once in the third period in the 4-2 loss.

Saturday night in Beantown, StFX and Boston University exchanged power play goals in the first period, but it was the Terriers getting the only goal late in the third period for the 2-1 victory. BU outshot X 54-32 in the game. Sunday afternoon the X-Men faced off against a fresh Boston College team and X's Kirkpatrick continued to have the hot hand with two goals in the first period. The Eagles, NCAA champs two years ago, woke up in the second period and blasted five goals (including a penalty shot) and added three more in the third period for an 8-2 win.

Dalhousie were also in Boston Saturday, where they lost to Northeastern 5-0 while being outshot 46-19. The night before the Tigers were in Ottawa to play Carleton and lost 7-3. Sunday the Tigers weren't done traveling, as they played Maine in Orono in an afternoon game and lost 5-1. The Black Bears outshot them 42-18. A tough weekend on the scoreboard and a lot of bus time.

Dal's cross-rink rivals Saint Mary's were in Troy, NY on Saturday to play Rensselaer. RPI scored an early penalty shot and added a power play goal before Cory Tanaka got the Huskies on the score sheet in the first period. The Engineers added one goal on the PP and one even strength in the second period, and a third PP goal in the third period for the 5-1 win. SMU did have the 23-21 edge in shots on goal.

Sunday afternoon SMU was in Hamden, Connecticut to play Quinnipiac, who lost to Yale last year in the NCAA championship game. The Bobcats were up 2-0 after the 1st period, and then their special teams took over with three power play goals and a shorty in the second period. SMU did score one goal late in the second period, but QU replied with another PP goal early in the third period. Michael Stickland did score on the Huskies power play later in the period, but that was all the visitors could manage. QU outshot SMU 39-16 in the 7-2 win and were 4 for 9 on the power play.

Saturday Acadia was at the sold out Whittemore Center (Attendance: 6,501) in Durham to play the University of New Hampshire in a battle between two teams who play on Olympic-sized ice. UNH had a power play goal in the first period and another early in the second. A minute after another Wildcats goal, the Axemen's Scott Trask scored. Unfortunately for Acadia, UNH scored twice more in the last minute of the period. Liam Heelis scored twice for the Axemen in the third period, but the home side added another goal and won 6-3. Shots were 28 apiece. UNH was 3 for 7 on the power play while Acadia was 0 for 5.

On Sunday the Axemen were on the big ice in Burlington to play the University of Vermont. The Catamounts were 4 for 18 (!!!) on the power play (scoring twice while 5 on 3) while Heelis scored the only Acadia goal, also on the PP. Shots favoured Vermont 36-18.

The other tourists in the States where UNB, in mile-high country in Colorado. The Varsity Reds were down only 1-0 going into the third period Saturday night, with a 21-19 edge in shots against Colorado College. However UNB ran into penalty trouble in the third period, and Alexander Krushelnyski (son of the former NHLer) scored twice on the power play and added another even strength for a natural hat trick. The Tigers added another PP goal after that for the 5-0 win, and outshot UNB 15-9 in the final period.

Sunday night the V-Reds were in Denver, and veteran defenceman Ben Shutron scored twice in the first period to give UNB the 2-0 lead over the Pioneers. Midway through the second period the V-Reds were on a 5 on 3 power play when DU's Daniel Doremus came out of the penalty box, picked off an errant pass and scored on the shorthanded breakaway to draw within a goal. Denver poured it on in the third period, outshooting UNB 19-4 in the final 20 minutes but Charles Lavigne made big saves in the V-Reds net to preserve the 2-1 win.

Monday UNB was supposed to bus back to Colorado Springs to play Air Force, but the game was cancelled due to the ongoing federal government shutdown in the States. Thanks for nothing Tea Party!

UPEI weren't in the States, but they did make the long trip to Thunder Bay to play Lakehead. Friday night the Panthers spotted the Thunderwolves the first goal, and then replied with two goals in the second period and two more in the third. UPEI outshot LU 40-29 in the 4-1 win. Saturday night UPEI was up 3-0 after the first period, and stretched their lead to 5-0 in the second period before the home side got on the scoreboard.  The Panthers kept up the offensive pressure and added two more goals in the third period. The final score was 7-1 and UPEI had another healthy 40-29 margin in shots.

St. Thomas was the only AUS team playing in their own rink on the weekend. They hosted RMC and got a much needed 5-1 win, the first under new STU coach Pat Powers. Tommies scored in the first minute of the game, added a power play later in the period and another in the second period. STU was up 4-0 going into the third period, where the PP clicked once again. The Paladins' Scott Domenico scored shorthanded a few minutes late, but the Tommies came away with a solid 5-1 win.

This weekend is a pretty light schedule in the AUS to end the preseason.  Friday night Acadia hosts Dalhousie in  apple country in Berwick, NS. Also on Friday Saint Mary's hosts StFX in Truro, NS. Saturday night STU is upriver in Grand Falls, NB to play Moncton.
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