Wednesday, March 8, 2017

X-Men Repeat

Just like in game 1, tonight's game 2 of the AUS Final between St. FX and the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds followed a similar script to their series last year. The Varsity Reds jumped out to a two goal lead, only to have the resilient X-Men rally for the win - in this case, 5-4 - to sweep the series and capture the AUS Championship.

- UNB got on the board first at 16:04 of the opening frame when Philippe Maillet (Braes, Clapperton) found the top corner to beat Chase Marchand and make it 1-0.

- The X-Men answered just 25 seconds later as Max Iafrate blasted a loose puck that squirted out into the slot past Etienne Marcoux.

- The V-Reds struck for two quick goals to begin the 2nd period to take a 3-1 lead. Philippe Halley (Simpson) kept the puck on a partial 2-on-1 and beat Marchand five-hole at 1:02 and then Maillet struck again for his second of the night only 19 seconds later when he somehow snuck the puck in at the side of the net.

- The wheels then fell off and within 10 minutes the X-Men had the lead. Holden Cook took advantage of a defensive zone turnover to make it 3-2 at 3:03, Sam Studnicka skated down the left side and wired a wrist shot into the top corner at 9:25, and Adam Stevens scored St. FX's second 5-on-3 goal of the series at 11:27 and all of a sudden it was a 4-3 game.

- Michael Clarke extended the lead to 5-3 at 12:59 with a wrist shot from the high slot. The goal came 28 seconds after a failed UNB power play.

- Christopher Clapperton (Caissy) made it interesting with a goal at 2:28 to make it 5-4, but that was as close as UNB would get as St. FX clinched their second straight conference championship.

- Stephen Anderson drew back into the line-up, replacing Cameron Critchlow. Jordan Murray (suspended), Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were also out.

- Shots were 35-28 for UNB with period totals of 10-8, 13-15, and 12-5.

- The Varsity Reds power play continues to struggle, going 0 for 4 including two chances in the first half of the 3rd period when they were looking for the tying goal. St. FX was 1 for 3 with the man advantage.

- Attendance was 2050, a sell-out.

- UNB has now lost 5 straight playoff games Keating Millenium Centre and are only 6-11 in their last 17 playoff games overall against St. FX.

- St. FX went a perfect 7-0 in the playoffs.

- UNB heads into the University Cup having lost 3 out of their last 4 games. Prior to that they had only dropped 3 of their previous 28 games.

- In the consolation final, the Acadia Axemen booked their place at the University Cup with a 3-0 win over Saint Mary's in Halifax. The Axemen sweep the series 2 games to 0.

- With the V-Reds loss, none of the four regular season conference champions (Saskatchewan, Ryerson, McGill, UNB) won their respective championships.

- UNB will now look to regroup and get prepared for Nationals next week. In another similarity to last season, it is likely the Varsity Reds will be seeded 5th in the tournament and will face the OUA runner-up (either York or Queen's) in their first game. They will be on the same side of the draw as the number 1 and 8 seeds (likely Alberta and Acadia).