(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds have drawn first blood in their AUS semi-final series.
Francis Beauvillier scored twice, including an empty-net goal, to lead UNB in a 4-1 win over the UPEI Panthers.
Philippe Maillet's second period power-play goal proved to be the winner.
Cameron Brace also scored for UNB.
Sam Aulie had the Panthers' lone goal.
Brace opened the scoring, six minutes into the first period.
He took a Matt Petgrave pass in front of the net and lifted it past Panthers' netminder Mavric Parks.
UPEI was quick to respond, just three and a half minutes later. Beni Berisha found Aulie in front and he beat UNB's Etienne Marcoux to even the score.
Beauvillier would add his third period goals, sealing the win for UNB.
"It's hard to play that first game, after 14 days off," said Beauvillier. "I think, after the first period, we came out stronger and I think we deserved that win."
The Varsity Reds hadn't played a game since their regular season finale, almost two weeks ago.
"I thought we got better as the game went on," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "We were a little sluggish in the first, our zip and intensity."
MacDougall feels Etienne Marcoux, who faced just 21 shots, was a factor.
"ET didn't get a lot, but he had to make some big saves, especially in the third. Some quality chances and those are not easy saves to make."
While the Varsity Reds enjoyed a first round bye, the Panthers upset Acadia two-games-to-none, in their AUS quarter-final series.
They're playing "David" again, to UNB's "Goliath."
"We've done alright here," said Sam Aulie. "We know we can hang with them, we just have to keep building on every game."
"They work hard," said Beauvillier. "Every game we've played against them this year, they work hard. The team that wins this series will be the team that works the hardest."
Game two of the series goes Friday.
Sam Aulie feels the Panthers have to put game one behind them, quickly.
"You can't get too down, when it's a five game series. You've just got to forget about it and keep going."
Game time is 7:00PM, at UNB's Aitken University Centre.
The series shifts to UPEI for game three, Monday, and four, if necessary, on Tuesday.