The UNB Varsity Reds men’s hockey team didn’t win all of the awards — but they did win most of them.
Atlantic University Sport announced the major award winners and all-star teams for men’s hockey last week. UNB’s Phil Maillet was named the conference’s most valuable player, V-Reds defenceman Randy Gazzola was named the rookie of the year and head coach Gardiner MacDougall took home coach of the year honours.
With 39 points, Maillet led the AUS in regular season scoring. Gazzola finished second in defenceman scoring with 24 points. MacDougall, in his 15th season as head coach of the Varsity Reds, led UNB to a first-place regular season finish for an eighth consecutive year.
Ben Duffy of the Saint Mary’s Huskies, who redshirted with UNB last year, was named the most sportsmanlike player. StFX’s Rob Slaney won the student-athlete community service award.
Meanwhile, Maillet and defenceman Jordan Murray were named to the first all-star team. Gazzola made the second all-star team and all-rookie team. UNB’s Cameron Brace was also named to the all-rookie team.
Big night for Maillet
In game one of the AUS men’s hockey championship, Phil Maillet woke up UNB’s struggling power play in a big way.
Maillet netted four power play goals in the Varsity Reds’ 8-2 victory over the Acadia Axemen last Monday at the Aitken Centre. UNB went a woeful 2/21 on the man advantage during their five game semifinal series against the StFX X-Men.
“It’s obviously nice to get the power play going. I know we’ve had had some trouble lately,” said Maillet, whose team finished 4/8 while a man up. “It’s one of those games where you bring the puck to the net and it goes in.”
In game two of the AUS Championship, UNB went 0/4 on the power play.
Abelev wins another gold
UNB wrestler Ilya Abelev won his fourth straight CIS gold medal in Edmonton a couple weeks ago.
Abelev, a former Western Mustang, won gold in the 76 kg weight class, defeating Winnipeg’s Aleksander Soronov. Abelev has now won gold in the 76 kg (2015), 72 kg (2013), 68 kg (2012) and 65 kg (2011) classes.
Other UNB wrestlers winning medals at CIS nationals include Alyssa Cleaves (bronze in women’s 48 kg class), Grayson St. Laurent (gold in men’s 82 kg class) and Alex Thoms (silver in men’s 100 kg class). Meanwhile, Darrion Sterling won the R.W. Pugh Fair Play Award.
Myatt finishes strong
Sarah Myatt of the Varsity Reds was named the AUS female track athlete of the year at the conference championships in Moncton a couple weeks ago.
Myatt, the captain of UNB’s women’s track and field team, finished the AUS season by winning the 600m and 1,000m races. She also helped UNB’s relay team win silver in the 4x800m and bronze medals in the 4x200m and 4x400m.
Up next for Myatt are the CIS national championships in Windsor on March 12-15. She will compete in the 600m and 1,000m races.
Tigers upset their way to title
The biggest story from the AUS men’s basketball championship was, without a doubt, the surprising Dalhousie Tigers.
The Tigers, who were seeded fifth after finishing the regular season with a .500 record of 10-10, upset Cape Breton 62-60 in the quarterfinal, upset UNB 85-74 in the semifinal and then upset Saint Mary’s 88-78 in overtime to win the AUS Championship.
“They won it. They didn’t have it given to them for sure,” said Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker.
“I think it was a surprise run for their 10-10 record but they do three things that really make a championship team: they play pretty tenacious defence, they have a lot of discipline on offense and they stick to the game plan. They didn’t get rattled. They were down double-digits to all three teams — I think they beat the three best teams all in a row, including one in overtime to win it. I couldn’t think of a more deserving team. They deserved to win that championship.”