Jan. 29, 2013 • Issue 18 • Volume 146 • 15
StFX and SMU prove to be no contest for UNB
The Varsity Reds are now in sole possession of first place in the AUS after a pair of wins over the weekend. Bronté James / The Brunswickan Nick Murray The Brunswickan It was a weekend full of milestones and nail-biters at the Aitken Centre, as the men’s hockey team wrapped up a four-point weekend to clinch first place in the Atlantic University Sport standings, and a subsequent bye into the semi-f inals of the playoffs. Friday night, UNB took on the Saint Mary’s Huskies in a battle for first place that came down to the dying minutes of the third period. After a scoreless first, UNB opened up a 2-0 lead with a soft point shot from Daine Todd that beat SMU’s Anthony Peters’ five-hole through traffic, and later, on the power play, Nick MacNeil finished off a 3-on-1, tip-toeing through the slot to roof his 12th goal of the season. But the AUS’ top power play, and the league’s top goal-scorer, went to
work midway through the period, as Lucas Bloodoff whacked home his own rebound only 12 seconds into a Marc-Antoine Desnoyers tripping penalty. Then late in the period, again on the power play, Cory Tanaka redirected a hard centring pass from Ryan Hillier to tie the game going into the third period. With five minutes to go in the game, UNB had the puck deep in SMU’s zone, as Chris Culligan tried a wrap-around for the game-winner. Peters got across the crease to stuff Culligan, but couldn’t stop Cam Critchlow from scoring his sixth goal of the season. Taylor MacDougall later added an empty netter from beyond centre ice to seal the 4-2 win. “That’s the biggest part of our game; just being hard on pucks,” said Critchlow, on the win. “We outworked them down low and our
cycle game was amazing.” Saturday night, the V-Reds came out strong against St. Francis Xavier, and took down the X-Men 2-1 to clinch first place. The win was also head coach Gardiner MacDougall’s 300th career win in the CIS, in his 13th season with the V-Reds, while UNB also reached the 20-win mark for their sixth consecutive season. “It’s a result of getting good people here,” said MacDougall, on his 300 wins in 12 seasons with UNB. “We’re fortunate to have people that believe in the program and are willing to commit the extra effort. Todd [Sparks] has been a big part of that and the other assistant coaches along the way too.” The only other active CIS coaches in the 300-win club are Dave Adolph (University of Saskatchewan), Graham Wise (Ryerson University), and Clarke Singer (University of Western
Ontario). StFX had given up three shorthanded goals the night before in an 8-2 loss against UPEI, and the power play struggles continued against UNB, as late in the first period, X-Men goaltender, Joseph Perricone came out to play the puck off a clearing attempt by UNB. Dion Campbell chased down the puck, and forced a turnover from the X-Men netminder. He fed a tailing MacNeil who made no mistake on his second goal of the weekend, and his 13th of the season. StFX tied it up midway through the second period, as Jason Bast buried a Brennan Wray rebound for his team-leading ninth goal of the year. However, five minutes into the third, Antoine Houde-Caron had the puck behind the X-Men net, with all day to feed an open Campbell in the faceoff circle. When he did feed him, Campbell made no
mistake firing a one-time slap shot from point-blank range for the game-winner. “[Houde-Caron] came to the bench after, and said, ‘I was looking at you and it felt like a minutelong there,’” said Campbell on the game-winner. “It’s an unbelievable feeling to clinch first, but we have to keep building and work on what we need to do, to be successful in the playoffs.” UNB is up six points over both Acadia and Saint Mary’s with three games to go in the regular season. They’ll face St. Thomas, UPEI, and Moncton before their first-round break, but regardless of the outcomes in the final games, UNB holds the tie-breaker over the Axemen and Huskies, outscoring them 12-11, and 14-13 respectively.
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