UNB Downs X

UNB's Mark Simpson(Rothesay, NB) pushes into St FX territory during Friday's 5-2 win. Simpson scored the game winner. (Kyle Lamkin/for UNB Athletics)
UNB's Mark Simpson(Rothesay, NB) pushes into St FX territory during Friday's 5-2 win. Simpson scored the game winner. (Kyle Lamkin/for UNB Athletics)

(FREDERICTON, NB) Tyler Boland(St.John's, NL), Oliver Leblanc(Quebec City, QC) and Kris Bennett (Brampton, ON) each had two points as the UNB Varsity Reds defeated the St FX X-Men 5-2, clinching first place in the Atlantic University Sport standings.

UNB also won the season series three games to two.

The game was the Varsity Reds' Soldier Appreciation Night, which saw 3372 in attendance.

Prior to puck-drop, four soldiers from nearby Canadian Forces Base Gagetown were presented with UNB camo jerseys, which UNB wore during the game, and took part in the ceremonial face-off.

Mark Tremaine(Dartmouth, NS) put the X-Men on the board at 5:19 of the first period. Both teams combined for just 11 shots in a period full of playoff atmosphere.

"We need these types of games," said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall

The Varsity Reds turned on the offence in the second, outshooting the X-Men 15-5.

Stephen Anderson(Morell, PE) tied the game with a power-play goal at 6:01 in the second. Mark Simpson(Rothesay, NB) followed suit, scoring to give the Varsity Reds a 2-1 lead, and , Alexandre Goulet(Disraeli, QC) kept the momentum going with a goal just 1:44 later.

Jagger Dirk(Penticton, BC) pulled the X-Men within one early in the third period, but Boland responded just 2:21 later.

"It's my first time with that kind of atmosphere in this building, you can't take the smile off my face right now," said Boland when asked about the goal.

Leblanc capped off the game with a power-play goal to put the game out of reach for the X-Men.

"They did what they wanted to do, and we didn't react how we should have," said Tremaine.

The Varsity Reds shut down and out-scored the X-Men's top-ranked power-play, going 3-for-7 with the man advantage and holding X to 0-for-5.

"Our penalty kill does a great job, especially with Willy(Dylan Willick (Prince George, BC)) leading the charge… he's a great leader and a great captain, you can't ask for a better guy than that," said Boland

After a close first, the Varsity Reds overwhelmed the X-Men, outshooting them 31-14 in the final 40 minutes and 37-19 overall. Chase Marchand(Halifax, NS) managed to make 32 saves despite the loss, while Alex Dubeau(Mascouche, QC) needed just 17 saves to pick up the win in the Varsity Reds' net.

"We just have to learn from it, we know how to beat this team… 5-2 game, they have three on the power-play and we don't have any, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out" said St FX head coach Brad Peddle.

Randy Gazzola(Thorold, ON), who also had an assist in the game, was named Subway Player of the Game, and received the Fallen Soldier Award, given to the game's first star on Soldier Appreciation Night.

UNB improves to 24-2-4 while the X-Men fall to 22-4-4.

Both teams play their last games of the season on Saturday night.

The Varsity Reds are at home to the Dalhousie Tigers while the X-Men conclude their season on the road against the UPEI Panthers. Both games start at 7:00pm.

RECAP BY: Jonathon James/for UNB Athletics

PHOTOS BY: Kyle Lamkin/for UNB Athletics