Axemen to face StFX for bronze medal on Sunday
FREDERICTON (U SPORTS) – The UNB Varsity Reds scored in the first and second periods, added an empty-net goal late in the third, and Etienne Marcoux (Terrebonne, Que.) stopped all 20 shots fired at him, en route to a 3-0 victory over the Acadia Axemen in the first semifinal of the 2017 U SPORTS Cavendish Farms University Cup. UNB will now play the winner of the second semifinal between StFX and Saskatchewan.
University Cup website: www.universitycup.ca
UNB opened the scoring on their very first shot on goal, at 4:28 of the first, when Chris Caissy (Campbellton, N.B.) drew defenders to his side of the net and slipped the puck to Stephen Anderson (Morell, P.E.I) who put it past Acadia goaltender Robert Steeves (Moncton, N.B.).
Despite trailing, the Axemen defense kept UNB’s snipers to outside shots and had a 6-5 edge in shots in the opening frame.
In the second period, Jordan Murray (Riverview, N.B.) added another for UNB on the power play off a point shot that found its way past Steeves. Up by two in the third, Chris Clapperton (Cap Espoir, Que.) got behind a defender and rolled a nice pass to Phillipe Maillet (Terrebonne, Que.), who put it into an empty net with 1:13 left. UNB outshot Acadia 30–20.
It was a feisty and spirited game between the two Atlantic University Sport rivals with plenty of hitting.
It will be the third year in a row that UNB has appeared in the gold medal game and MacDougall acknowledged it will be a momentous occasion.
Acadia coach Darren Burns was pleased with his team’s effort, despite the loss.
“In a tournament like this, you can never be flat, and we were the furthest thing from flat,” he said. “We played hard. It is a game of bounces-maybe (if) one or two go our way, and things are different. We competed every shift. UNB is a great team. We need to regroup and be ready for the bronze game tomorrow.”
When asked his thoughts of tomorrow’s bronze medal game and whether the team is interested in the 9:30 am game prior to the gold medal game, Axemen captain Geoff Schemitsch pointed out that the game has great importance.
“We are not going into it with the mindset that we are not playing for anything. It’s important to our team and our program. So we are going to do our best and refocus and try to have a short memory and forget what happened today, learn from what we did and come out hard tomorrow and win a bronze”, noted Schemitsch.
Acadia’s fifth year forward Brett Thompson pointed out that the Axemen deserve to be playing for a bronze or more despite squeezing into the U Cup seeking as the third team from the AUS. “I don’t think it is over-achievement. We came here to win a gold medal and we all believed we could win that gold medal. I think we gave them a really hard game”, said Thompson.
Adding, “They (UNB) are a hard team to play against and even harder in this rink and we left it all out there and gave them a good fight and showed we were capable of winning the gold medal. We just came up a little short. Now it is for bronze and it’s still a great accomplishment down the road when we look back.”
The Axemen will take on AUS rival StFX tomorrow in the bronze medal game, while UNB and Saskatchewan will battle for U SPORTS supremacy and the University Cup title.