V-Reds roll into Subway AUS playoffs on eight-game win streak with 2-0 win over Aigles Bleus

V-Reds roll into Subway AUS playoffs on eight-game win streak with 2-0 win over Aigles Bleus
The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men's hockey team closed out their 2012-2013 Atlantic University Sport regular season campaign on a high note, beating l'Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus 2-0 Friday night, before 2,428 fans at the Aitken Centre.

V-Reds goaltender Dan LaCosta stopped 28 shots for his second shutout of the season, and with the shutout his goals against average dropped to an AUS-best 1.92GAA, third best in the country. He also improved to 15-1 on the season, with a CIS-best .938 win percentage.

UNB now have a 13-day break before their first game of the Subway AUS semi-finals, and LaCosta said he's not worried about the layoff.

"I've went through longer stretches without playing before," said LaCosta. "You just have to try and stay sharp in practice and keep your fitness up and try not to lose your focus. I've gone through stretches where I haven't played for two weeks and you just have to do what you can to stay ready."

LaCosta also picked up his first point in the win, assisting on the opening goal of the game. In the second period the Aigles Bleus had a power play, but after Guillaume Paranteau rang a shot off the crossbar, LaCosta tipped the puck to Nick MacNeil who started up ice. MacNeil fed Taylor MacDougall cross-ice, who took two strides across the UdeM blue line and wristed a shot on goal, beating Moncton goalie André-Michel Guay five-hole.

Late in the period UNB added another with Thomas Nesbitt sending a wrist shot through Guay's five-hole for his ninth goal of the year. Nesbitt has now scored five points in the last three games.

UNB has struggled on the power play lately and is scoreless in its last 16 attempts dating back to the second period against Saint Mary's on Jan. 25th. But what they've been lacking on the power play, they've made up on the penalty kill scoring a shorthanded goal in each of their last four games.

V-Reds head coach Gardiner said the penalty kill is quickly becoming a key part of their game plan, but stressed the importance of being well-rounded in all aspects of special teams.

"First of all you want to be able to kill a penalty, but if we can get some bonuses then we'll take them," said MacDougall. "In the playoffs you have to find ways to shut them down on the penalty kill and find ways to contribute on the power play."

Defenseman Adrian Robertson was back in the V-Reds lineup after missing seven games with an upper-body injury, and put up a game-high five shots in his return, while UNB was still without leading goal-scorer Tyler Carroll who's recovering from an eye injury, and Antoine Houde-Caron who's serving the first of a two-game suspension.

With the loss, the Aigles Bleus are set to play Acadia University in the first round of the Subway AUS playoffs, and head coach Serge Bourgeois said he's confident going into that series, as UdeM have taken five of a possible eight points from Acadia this season with two wins and a shootout loss.

"I think we match up well against them," said Bourgeois. "They're a tough team and if we don't play well, we're going to lose. It's a different barn over there with the Olympic-size ice, but we have some speed and we're able to skate with them."

The V-Reds will enter the semi-finals of the Subway AUS playoffs on an eight-game winning streak, and will take the ice again on Feb. 21st for game one of the Subway AUS semi-finals.

Tickets for games one and two of the AUS Subway semi-finals are available at the Aitken Centre box office. Box office hours are Monday to Friday from noon to 4 p.m.