The Varsity Reds men’s hockey team have reclaimed sole possession of top spot in AUS standings after picking up two wins during their Nova Scotia road trip over the weekend, successfully rebounding from their first regulation loss of the season one week prior.
The V-Reds kicked off the weekend with a comfortable 6-3 victory over the last placed Dalhousie Tigers in a game that was more lopsided than the final score suggests. UNB peppered Dalhousie netminder Corbin Boes with 41 shots on goal, scoring six before he was pulled in favor of backup Jacob Fancy early in the third.
Captain Dylan Willick was named first star of the game after tallying a goal and an assist, bringing him to 11 points in 22 games this season.
If there was any room for improvement for UNB in the game it was with the number of penalties they took throughout—particularly in the third period—taking a total of ten minors and conceding two powerplay goals against.
The following night offered a much stiffer test for the team as they travelled to Antigonish to face off once again with StFX, precisely one week after the X-Men defeated them by a score of 5-2 and briefly claimed first place in the AUS. The loss also dropped the two-time defending champions down to third place in the national rankings. As expected, the game proved to be an evenly matched and hard fought affair.
Stephen Anderson opened the scoring for UNB at 12:56 in the first after his team survived a pair of early penalties that featured some quality chances by StFX’s top ranked powerplay and some even better saves by V-Reds goalie Alex Dubeau.
The second period was much the same story as the X-Men received three powerplay opportunities and threatened with quality chances throughout. Dubeau, however, refused to be beaten despite some close calls.
StFX finally got on the board midway through the third period moments after the referees missed what should have been an interference penalty on the X-Men, leaving UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall furious on the bench.
While UNB had several good scoring opportunities of their own in the third, StFX goalie Chase Marchand matched the strong play of Dubeau and the game ultimately had to be decided by a shootout where new addition Alexandre Goulet scored the winning goal for the Varsity Reds.
After the win the V-Reds have now improved to 2-1-1 against the X-Men this season and have moved one point ahead for first place in the conference. However, things will not get any easier for them next weekend as third and fourth placed Acadia and Saint Mary’s are set to visit the Aitken Centre for the first time since late October.
Photos: Bryan Kennedy, St FX Sports Information