FREDERICTON, NB - Tyler Boland (St.John's, NL), Oliver Leblanc (Quebec City, QC) and Kris Bennett (Brampton, ON) each had two points as the UNB Varsity Reds defeated the StFX X-Men 5-2 Friday night, clinching first place in the Atlantic University Sport standings.
UNB also won the season series three games to two.
Mark Tremaine (Dartmouth, NS) put the X-Men on the board at 5:19 of the first period. Both teams combined for just 11 shots in a period full of playoff atmosphere.
"We need these types of games," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
The Varsity Reds turned on the offence in the second, outshooting the X-Men 15-5.
Stephen Anderson (Morell, PE) tied the game with a power-play goal at 6:01 in the second. Mark Simpson (Rothesay, NB) followed suit, scoring to give the Varsity Reds a 2-1 lead, and Alexandre Goulet (Disraeli, QC) kept the momentum going with a goal just 1:44 later.
Jagger Dirk (Penticton, BC) pulled the X-Men within one early in the third period, but Boland responded just 2:21 later.
Leblanc capped off the game with a power-play goal to put the game out of reach for the X-Men.
"They did what they wanted to do, and we didn't react how we should have," said Tremaine.
The Varsity Reds shut down and out-scored the X-Men's top-ranked power-play, going 3-for-7 with the man advantage and holding X to 0-for-5.
"Our penalty kill does a great job, especially with Willy (Dylan Willick (Prince George, BC)) leading the charge… he's a great leader and a great captain, you can't ask for a better guy than that," said Boland.
After a close first period, the Varsity Reds overwhelmed the X-Men, outshooting them 31-14 in the final 40 minutes and 37-19 overall. Chase Marchand (Halifax, NS) managed 32 saves despite the loss, while Alex Dubeau (Mascouche, QC) needed just 17 saves to pick up the win in the Varsity Reds' net.
"We just have to learn from it, we know how to beat this team… 5-2 game, they have three on the power-play and we don't have any, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out," said StFX head coach Brad Peddle.
Randy Gazzola (Thorold, ON), who also had an assist in the game, was named Subway Player of the Game.
UNB improves to 24-2-4 with 50 points in first place, while the X-Men (22-4-4) are right behind them in second place with 48.
Both teams play their last games of the AUS regular season on Saturday night.
The Varsity Reds are at home to the Dalhousie Tigers while the X-Men conclude their season on the road against the UPEI Panthers. Both games start at 7:00pm.
Courtesy Jonathon James, UNB Sports Information