Wednesday, March 9, 2016

X-Men Claim AUS Crown

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds got out to a 2-0 1st period lead but the hometown St. FX X-Men rallied for a 5-3 victory before a sold-out crowd tonight in Antigonish to claim their AUS-record 25th conference championship, and first since 2004.

The V-Reds went up 2-0 on goals by Philippe Halley at 5:06 of the 1st period and Alex Wall at 14:56, but a penalty just after the second goal proved to be costly as St. FX scored on the ensuing power play, just 44 seconds later, to cut the lead to 2-1. After that it was a pretty typical X-Men game we have become accustomed to as they took advantage of another power play to tie the game at 7:51 of the 2nd period and then, after Christopher Clapperton restored UNB's lead at 10:07, the X-Men once again wasted no time in responding, scoring just 55 second later. St. FX took their first lead of the game 1:59, off a broken-stick shot no less, and played a dominant defensive game the rest of the way, blocking a pile of shots and intercepting pass after pass to deny the potent V-Reds attack from getting anything going. UNB's best chance game late in the game on a power play when Philippe Maillet took a cross-slot pass and fired a one-timer that Drew Owsley made a larcenous save on. The X-Men kept the puck in UNB's zone for most of the final minute and put it away with a goal with only 19 seconds left, which of course went off a ref and came right to an X-Men player. Yup, it was that kind of series for the Varsity Reds.

- Shots in the game were 38-28 for the X-Men.

- Special teams proved to be huge with UNB going 0 for 4 on the power play tonight, and 0 for the series. St. FX was 2 for 4 with the man advantage to go along with a power play goal in the first game.

- UNB has now lost 4 straight playoff games in Antigonish.

- The V-Reds will now have to regroup and get ready for the University Cup next week in Halifax. They are most likely going to be seeded 5th in the tournament and will face the #4 seed - the OUA runner-up (either UQTR or Western) - in their first round match-up. If this is indeed the case they will also be grouped with the #1 and #8 seeds.

- We will have more in the coming days.