(Halifax, N.S.) The UNB Varsity Reds (22-2-3) picked up a 5-4 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies (16-9-2) Friday night at the Halifax Forum.
UNB leapfrogged StFX for first place in the AUS standings with 47-points. The Huskies stay two-points up on Acadia for third in the conference.
Christopher Clapperton (Cap d'Espoir, Que.) led the way for UNB with a hat trick. Tyler Boland (St. John's, N.L.) had their first goal and Mark Simpson (Rothesay, N.B.) scored the winner to sandwich Calpperton's three.
Alex Dubeau (Mascouche, Que.) finished with 26 saves to pick up his 14th win of the season.
Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, Que.) made 25 saves on the night.
Boland opened the scoring 14:38 into the first. Cam Brace (Etobicoke, Ont.) tapped it to Kris Bennett (Brampton, Ont.) who made a short pass at the SMU blue-line to spring Boland on a breakaway, he made a move to his forehand and slipped it home five-hole.
Clapperton made it 2-0 just 22-seconds later. Marcus McIvor (Whitby, Ont.) moved the puck to Olivier LeBlanc (Quebec City, Que.) behind the UNB net, Leblanc hit Clapperton with a stretch pass that sprung him on a break. He made a move to the backhand and lifted his shot inside the post high glove
Brooks got the Huskies on the board at 17:46 of the first. Stavert sent the puck down low and Jake Coughler (St. Catharines, Ont.) gloved it off the glass onto his stick before spotting Brooks who snapped it in low glove from the left slot hash marks.
The scoring exploded in the first 10-minutes of the second.
Clapperton got his second on the power play 1:36 into the middle period. Stephen Anderson (Morell, P.E.I.) found Bennett with some space in the left circle and Bennett put a cross ice feed on Clapperton's tape just out from the right post and he one-touched it home.
Stavert made it 3-2 with a power play goal 4:20 into the second. Bronson Beaton (Springhill, N.S.) slipped it to Taylor Burke (Halifax, N.S.) who spotted Stavert across the slot and Stavert ripped a wrister low glove.
Johnson tied things up with a shorthanded tally at the 6:30 mark of the second. Alexander Peters (Blyth, Ont.) cleared the zone off the wall and the puck bounced to Johnson for a breakaway, he kept it on his forehand made a shoulder fake and buried his shot low glove.
Garlent put Saint Mary's on top 4-3 just over two-minutes later. Beaton patiently held on to the puck to open up a passing lane to find Garlent for a one-timer crashing to the back post.
Clapperton's third goal tied things up at 4-4 at 9:51 of the second. He pulled the puck off the wall, worked out into the high slot and fired a low wrister back across the grain that pinged in off the post.
The goalies took over the show in the third. Both net-minders made several high quality stops in the final 20.
Simpson was the only shooter to break through. He jumped on a Huskies turnover atop the right circle, his shot ricochet off a stick and skipped off the ice - in low blocker.
Shots were even at 30-30.
Up next, the Varsity Reds travel to Wolfville N.S. to take on the Acadia Axemen, while the Huskies will be back at the Halifax Forum to host the UPEI Panthers. Both games are Saturday, Feb. 3 with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.
Photo Nick Pearce