The recent power play struggles of the UNB Varsity Reds were quickly forgotten on Monday night at the Aitken Centre.
The Varsity Reds went 4/8 on the man advantage in game one of the Atlantic University Sport men’s hockey championship series, pounding the Acadia Axemen 8-2. Game two of the best-of-three series takes place on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in Wolfville. If a game three is needed, it will take place on Friday night at the Aitken Centre.
Making UNB’s 50% power play rating even more impressive was the fact that Phil Maillet scored all four of them, netting two in the first, one in the second and another in the third.
“It’s obviously nice to get the power play going. I know we’ve had had some trouble lately,” said Maillet, who’s team went a woeful 2/21 on the power play in the five game semifinal series against StFX. “It’s one of those games where you bring the puck to the net and it goes in.”
The lopsided game one score came as a surprise as only three points separated the two teams in the standings and three of the four regular season meetings went to overtime.
“You expect a tight game,” said Maillet. “We’re going to take it obviously and we’re going to get ready [for game two] the exact same way we did tonight.”
Jordan Murray, Cameron Brace, Tyler Carroll and Colin Suellentrop also scored for UNB. Murray, Brace, Cam Braes and Dana Fraser each added three assists. David Shantz made 19 saves in the win, including a few key stops when the Axemen had a bit of momentum.
Travis Randell and Remy Giftopoulos scored for Acadia. Goaltender Brandon Glover was pulled early in the first after allowing three goals on five shots. He was replaced by Robert Steeves who made 28 saves.
Maillet opened the scoring just 1:25 in on a power play, slipping a backhand shot past Glover. Then on UNB’s second shot of the contest, Brace beat Glover through the five-hole to give the Reds a 2-0 lead at 3:20.
At 8:15, Maillet scored his second of the period on a power play to give UNB a 3-0 advantage. The goal ended Glover’s night in the Acadia net. Soon after the goalie swap, Philippe Halley nearly gave UNB a 4-0 lead but was stopped by the pad of Steeves on a shorthanded breakaway.
Acadia cut UNB’s lead to 3-1 when Randell got behind the Varsity Reds defence at 15:30. The goal sparked the Axemen as Brett Thompson and Scott Trask each had great scoring chances but were stopped by Shantz. The V-Reds managed to gain some momentum back with 25 seconds left in the period when Fraser fed Murray in front to make it 4-1 after 20 minutes.
1:17 into the second, Carroll fired a wrist shot from the high slot to give UNB a 5-1 lead. The Axemen got one back at 11:24 on a power play when Giftopoulus beat Shantz with a shot through some traffic. On yet another power play at 19:46, Maillet netted his third of the game to give the V-Reds a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes.
In a penalty filled third period, Maillet scored his fourth power play marker of the contest at 8:01. Suellentrop rounded out the scoring with 1:02 left, beating Steeves with a wrist shot from the top of the circle to make it an 8-2 final.