Lethbridge, AB – The No. 2 seeded UNB Reds were too much to handle for the No. 6 StFX X-Men Saturday night in U SPORTS semifinal action as they skated to a lopsided 9-1 victory.
UNB got out to an early 3-0 lead and never looked back en route to the win. Second year forward Kris Bennett had four goals on the night for the Reds.
The first period is 20 minutes the X-Men would like to have back as they gave up four goals and were outshot 24-8 by their AUS conference rivals.
The Reds wasted no time getting on the board as Kris Bennett found Cam Brace in the front of the net and he one-timed a shot past Chase Marchand 1:36 into the first period.
Marchand had to stay sharp as the Reds continued the offensive pressure.
StFX had a power play opportunity five minutes into the period but it was the Reds who capitalized as Alex Goulet took advantage of a turnover in front of the X net. They scored again 51 seconds later as Bennett battled through the StFX defense and sniped an unassisted marker to give the AUS champions a 3-0 lead just seven minutes into the game.
The Reds fourth goal was scored by Samuel Dove-McFalls as he brought the puck in through the neutral zone and into X territory, again eluding the X-Men defense and ripped a low shot past Marchand.
The X-Men regrouped in the second period and came out on the offensive, getting some quality shots on net and scoring chances as Alex Dubeau had to be alert between the pipes for the Reds.
StFX broke the goose egg 5:47 into the period while playing 4-on-4 when Adam Laishram brought the puck just inside the Reds blue line and wired a shot high past Dubeau. He was set up by Matt Needham who gained the puck off a Reds turnover.
The X-Men had a 5-on-3 power play advantage for 1:29 midway through the period but despite several shots on net were unable to capitalize.
The Reds then scored a pair of goals just over a minute apart as the StFX defense continued to falter, leaving open spaces for the UNB offense to break through. Bennett scored his second goal of the night on a backhander over the shoulder of Marchand, then Chris Clapperton scored five-hole as the Reds took a 6-1 lead just under 12 minutes into the second.
Shots favoured UNB 13-8 in the middle period as they led 6-1 after 40 minutes of play.
Bennett scores his third goal of the night for the Reds just over four minutes into the third period as he banged in a loose rebound in front of the X net. UNB rounded out the third period scoring with goals from Joe Gatenby and Bennett with his fourth.
Final shots in the game were a lopsided 54-20 for UNB as this was not the game the X-Men had anticipated.
Bennett received player of the game honours for the Reds for his five-point effort. Adam Laishram was the player of the game for StFX, who now move on to the bronze medal game Sunday at 1:00 pm MST against Saskatchewan.
The Reds will battle Alberta for the gold medal and U SPORTS title in the championship game Sunday at 7:00 pm.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information