(WOLFVILLE, N.S.) - The UNB Varsity Reds have won the 2015 Subway AUS hockey championship after besting Acadia 4-2 in front of a standing-room only crowd in Wolfville.
After an 8-2 loss to the Varsity Reds in game one in Fredericton, Acadia had hoped to pull off a home rink win to tie the best-of-three series at one game apiece.
In front of an enthusiastic home crowd at the Andrew H. McCain arena, the CIS No. 3 ranked Axemen struck first on an even-strength goal at 3:53 by second-year Axeman Taylor Makin (Lethbridge, Alta.). Makin capitalized on an awkward bounce in front of V-Reds goalie David Shantz (Hamilton, Ont.), and the Axemen were on the board.
The Varsity Reds tied the game at one just under seven minutes later when Rob Mignardi (Richmond Hill, Ont.) pushed in the puck on a scramble in front of Acadia's Brandon Glover (Victoria, B.C.).
With under two minutes remaining in the opening period, first-year AUS All-Rookie Remy Giftopoulos (Ancaster, Ont.) scored on the power play to give Acadia a 2-1 lead. It's Giftopoulos' fifth goal of the playoffs. After a neat pass from Brett Thompson (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.), Giftopolous cut to the net to beat Shantz high on the glove hand side.
V-Red Chris Caissy (Campbellton, N.B.) tied the game for a second time at the 10:16 mark of the second period when he grabbed a Glover rebound that found its home in the top corner of the net. The tie would hold at two for the remainder of the second frame.
Philippe Halley (Quebec, Que.) would make it three for UNB with 1:48 remaining in the contest.
Dylan Willick (Prince George, B.C.) sealed the deal with an empty netter with 16 seconds remaining in the game to guarantee the win and the two game sweep of the best-of-three AUS championship series.
Acadia's Brandon Glover stopped 38 of UNB's 41 shots, while David Shantz stood tall and made 28 saves.
UNB head coach and AUS Coach of the Year Gardiner MacDougall says taking home the championship is a huge victory for the program - especially in this ultra-competitive conference.
"We had a great opponent. The secret to success in the AUS is winning one-goal games and we were fortunate enough to get a good bounce at the end there," MacDougall said. "We know how hard it is to win in this rink against a top quality opponent so it's a huge confidence booster for our group. We'll enjoy it for a day and then the next pursuit will be CIS nationals and game number one."
Subway Player of the Game was awarded to UNB's Halley.
The Varsity Reds and the Axemen both head to Halifax next week to take part in the CIS University Cup. Six other teams from across Canada will also join them, including the host St.FX X-Men.
All teams now await CIS Championship seeding to see when they will play next.
With files from Acadia Sports Information.
Photo by Eric Cederberg.