(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds clinched their 10th straight Atlantic University Sport regular season pennant by downing the UPEI Panthers 7-1 Friday night.
The VReds have also earned their 11th consecutive first-round playoff bye.
With the win, UNB improved to 20-3-2. UPEI fell to 9-13-4 with the loss.
"Preparation is such a key thing in February in this league," said UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall. "The parity in this league is so tight."
Mark Simpson(Fredericton, NB) opened the scoring at 6:38 of the first period. He knocked a rebound past UPEI goalie Michael Giugovaz(Brampton, ON) after Giugovaz stopped the initial shot from UNB captain Cam Critchlow(Summerside, PE).
Panthers forward Cody Payne(Davie, FL) made it 1-1 a short time later. He beat UNB goalie Etienne Marcoux(Terrebonne, QC) on the Panthers third shot on net.
Rob Mignardi(Richmond Hill, ON) put the VReds back in control a minute later, scoring on a power play.
Two minutes into the third, with UNB working a 5-on-3 power-play, Cam Braes(Shawinigan Lake, BC) took a pass from Chris Caissy(Campbellton, NB) from behind the neat and beat Giugovaz to make it 4-1.
"Sometimes when the calls are against you, you feel like you're getting the raw end of the deal," said UPEI head coach Forbes MacPherson. "But that's hockey, and you've just got to move on."
About two minutes later, Dylan Willick(Prince George, BC) scored to give the Varsity Reds a four-goal lead.
UNB's other goals came from Jordan Murray(Riverview, NB) and Braes, with his second.
Braes added two assists for a four-point night.
"I was on a bit of a slump where I hadn't scored in the second half of the year," he said. "But with two great passes from my teammates, it wasn't hard for me to put it in."
As the Subway Player of the Game, Braes also won the Fallen Soldier Award for the second straight year, as Friday's game was Military Appreciation Night for the VReds.
"The soldiers do a great job for our country and allow us to play this game we love," he said. "It was a great showing tonight with lots of soldiers and good energy in the crowd."
Marcoux made 17 saves on 18 UPEI shots for the win, while Giugovaz blocked 37 of UNB's 44 shots in the losing effort.
UNB hits the road Saturday, taking on the Aigles Bleus, in Moncton, at 7:00pm.
UPEI's next action is Friday, against Dalhousie.
RECAP AND PHOTOS BY: Nathan DeLong/for UNB Athletics