Perhaps a road trip was just what the UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team needed.
Coming off back-to-back losses on home ice, the Varsity Reds travelled to Nova Scotia this past week and came away with two wins, defeating the Saint Mary’s Huskies 5-2 on Friday and St. Francis Xavier X-Men 3-2 in overtime on Saturday.
The wins improved UNB’s record to 10-2-2 for 22 points, good for third in the Atlantic University Sport standings. The Huskies, 11-2-1 for 23 points, sit first while the Acadia Axemen, 11-3-0 for 22 points, sit second.
Friday’s victory was big for many reasons. Not only did it keep the Huskies close to the Varsity Reds in the standings, but it no doubt boosted UNB’s confidence a bit. Heading into the match, the Reds had lost both of their previous games against the Huskies this season.
UNB came storming out of the gate and led 3-0 just over 12 minutes into the game. Dylan Willick opened the scoring just 1:10 into the contest. Phil Maillet scored at 10:30 and then Phil Halley connected less than two minutes later to make it 3-0.
The Huskies got on the board at 12:18 of the first thanks to a goal from Mitchell Maynard. But UNB quickly responded with a goal at 13:44 from Cam Braes to make it a 4-1 game after one. Shots were 9-8 in favour of the Huskies in the opening frame.
In the second, Tyler Carroll scored at 9:02 to make it 5-1 V-Reds. Shots in the second were 12-5 in favour of UNB.
Steven Trojanovic, while on a power play, netted the only goal of the third, making it a 5-2 final. Shots in the game were 29-28 in favour of Saint Mary’s.
David Shantz made 27 saves in the win. Anthony Peters, who has been causing UNB troubles for a couple of seasons now, allowed five goals on 28 shots in the loss.
On Saturday, Maillet opened the scoring on a power play at 13:13 of the first period to give UNB a 1-0 advantage. Five minutes later, the X-Men tied things at 1-1 thanks to an Eric Locke goal. Shots were 7-5 in favour of the Reds in the first period.
In the second, a power play goal from Francis Beauvillier put UNB back in front. But once again, StFX would tie things up. With 30 seconds remaining in the period, Blake Gal scored to make it a 2-2 game after 40 minutes. Shots were 7-7 in the second.
After a scoreless third period, Adrian Robertson scored on a man advantage 1:46 into overtime to make it a 3-2 final. Shots in the game were 28-15 in favour of UNB. The V-Reds went 3/5 on the power play.
Shantz made 13 saves in the win — his league leading ninth of the year. Drew Owsley made 25 stops in the loss.
The Varsity Reds play their final games of the first half this week. UNB travels up the hill to the Grant-Harvey Centre on Wednesday to battle the St. Thomas Tommies at 7 p.m. On Friday night at the Aitken Centre, the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus are in town for the final game before the break.