Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Varsity Reds/X-Men To Renew Acquaintances In Final

The AUS and U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and AUS #3 ranked will add another chapter to their rivalry when the two teams meet in the best 2-of-3 AUS Final beginning Monday night in Fredericton.

Here is everything you need to know to get prepared for the series:

- The schedule looks like this:

Game 1 - Monday, March 6th at UNB
Game 2 - Wednesday, March 8th at St. FX
Game 3 - Friday, March 10th at UNB (if necessary)

All games can be viewed live on

- After receiving a first round playoff bye, the Varsity Reds defeated Saint Mary's 3 games to 1 in the semi-final. St. FX, on the other hand, seems to be hitting their stride at the right time. They took down Moncton in two straight games in the quarter-finals before upsetting the #2 ranked Acadia Axemen in a three game sweep in the semi-finals. By virtue of making the finals, the X-Men have guaranteed themselves a berth at the University Cup for a third consecutive season.

- This is the 10th time under Gardiner MacDougall the V-Reds have faced the X-Men in the playoffs. Three of those meetings have come in the finals, including last year when St. FX bested UNB in two straight games to claim the championship.

2001 - Lost 2 games to 1 in semi-finals
2003 - Won 3 games to 1 in finals
2005 - Won 2 games to 0 in quarter-finals
2006 - Won 2 games to 1 in quarter-finals
2007 - Won 3 games to 1 in semi-finals
2010 - Lost 3 games to 0 in semi-finals
2011 - Won 3 games to 2 in finals
2015 - Won 3 games to 2 in semi-finals
2016 - Lost 2 games to 0 in finals

Overall, UNB has won 6 out of the previous 9 series with a 17-14 overall record. Of note, while the V-Reds are 13-4 at the AUC, they are only 4-10 in Antigonish.

- UNB has been in 10 previous finals under MacDougall, with this year marking their 6th appearance in 7 seasons. They have won 6 AUS titles with an overall record of 16-13 in that span.

2003 - Defeated St. FX 3 games to 1 
2006 - Lost to Acadia 3 games to 0
2007 - Lost to Moncton 2 games to 0
2008 - Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 0
2009 - Lost to Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2011 - Defeated St. FX 3 games to 2
2012 - Defeated Moncton 3 games to 0
2013 - Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2015 - Defeated Acadia 2 games to 0
2016 - Lost to St. FX 2 games to 0

- UNB's 14 AUS titles are second all-time to St. FX's 25.

- The Varsity Reds went 4-0-1 against the X-Men this season. They lost their first meeting of the season 5-4 in overtime in Antigonish on October 22nd before reeling off four straight wins - 6-0 at home on October 29th, 7-3 in Antigonish on November 11th, 2-1 in overtime at the AUC on January 6th, and 5-3 on the road on February 3rd.

- Players to watch for on the X-Men include leading scorers Michael Clarke (9 goals, 19 assists) and last season's AUS MVP Eric Locke (13 goals, 15 assists), Holden Cook (12 goals - including 4 against UNB in their first meeting, 15 assists), Kristoff Kontos (5 goals, 18 assists), Bryson Cianfrone (10 goals, 11 assists), and AUS second-team all-star defenceman Jagger Dirk (3 goals, 13 asssists). Chase Marchand (2.78 GAA, 0.913 save percentage) has been in goal for every playoff minute thus far.

- While both teams know they will be at Nationals, the outcome of this series will have big implications on seeding. If UNB wins they will almost certainly go in to the tournament ranked #1 and face the #8 seed in their first game. Not to mention they will be the designated home team and have last change for every game. If the V-Reds lose, however, the best they can hope for is the #5 seed, which would make them the road team for their first game and also put them in the same pool as the #1 ranked team.

- The Acadia Axemen and Saint Mary's Huskies will play a best 2-of-3 series to determine the third AUS entry at the University Cup. The schedule for that series will mirror that of the finals - Monday in Wolfville, Wednesday in Halifax, and Friday back in Acadia if necessary.

- Out west, the Saskatchewan Huskies and Alberta Golden Bears will battle for Canada West supremacy with a best 2-of-3 series beginning on Friday. Both teams have already guaranteed a spot at the University Cup.

- In the OUA, York and Windsor will face-off in a best 2-of-3 series in the West division final while McGill/Queen's will do likewise in the East division final. The two winners will not only punch their ticket to the Queen's Cup game, but also to the University Cup. The two losers will play a bronze medal game to decide the OUA's third representative in Fredericton.

- Who wins the AUS Final?

Who do you got?

UNB in 2
UNB in 3
St. FX in 2
St. FX in 3
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