(FREDERICTON, N.B.) The UNB Varsity Reds have taken a two-game lead over the StFX X-Men in the 2015 Subway AUS best of five semi-final series, winning Friday night's game 2-1.
Cameron Brace's goal at 11:41 of the third period was the game decider as the Varsity Reds held on for the one-goal victory, opening up a 2-0 series lead.
It was no surprise that play started tight, with both sides battling hard to get an edge and minimize errors in a pressure-laden second game of the best-of-five series.
It was obvious from the first minute that this was going to be a close-checking game. The first period ended scoreless and with only around half the number of shots on goal as yesterday's match-up.
The second period started out tight as well. StFX had a great chance at 5:18 when Kristof Kontos (Penetanguishene, ON) came flying in alone at V-Reds goalie David Shantz (Hamilton, ON) who made a great save to keep the game at zero.
UNB got on the board first 8:26 into the second period, when Jordan Murray (Moncton, NB) landed one just inside the crossbar off a tic-tac-toe play from Cameron Brace (Toronto, ON) and Dylan Willick (Prince George, BC).
Taylor MacDougall nearly stretched the lead to two for the Varsity Reds with a great break-out chance at 15:24, but he couldn't corral the puck and it bounced over the net.
The pace quickened and the ice started to open up in the last four minutes of the second period, as both teams seemed intent on scoring before time ran out, and although the intensity was high, the period ended with the 1-0 UNB advantage.
The third period started with the crowd on eggshells and a chill in the air that this was still anyone's game. And indeed it was, as StFX got on the board at 5:57. Ted Stephens (Whitehorse, YT) picked up a shot through traffic to tie the game just five seconds after a UNB penalty came to an end. Assists went to Jagger Dirk (Penticton, BC) and Jarrad Struthers (Glace Bay, NS).
Michael Kirkpatrick (North Sydney, NS) had another great scoring chance for the X-Men, missing high on a backhand shot into an open Varsity Reds net off a nice passing play by Struthers.
UNB took the lead when Brace got a tricky shot and a bouncing puck past X-Men netminder Drew Owsley (Lethbridge, AB). Cam Braes (Shawnigan Lake, BC) and Tyler Carroll (Strathroy, ON) had the helpers.
The third period drew to a close with StFX pulling Owsley in a frantic last minute of scoring chances, but to no avail as the Varsity Reds held on for the 2-1 win.
Subway Player of the Game honors went to UNB's Cam Brace.
The Varsity Reds outshot the X-Men 28-19 as Shantz picked up his second win in as many nights in the UNB net.
The X-Men struggled on the power play, going 0 for 5 in the game. They were without point-man Blake Gal (Lehtbridge, AB) who was serving a one-game suspension due to an accumulation of misconduct penalties on the season.
Trey Lewis (Aldouane, NB) was also out of the X line-up due to a suspension from a major penalty received in Game 1 Thursday evening. Both are expected back in the X-Men line up for Game 3, slated for Sunday night, February 22nd in Antigonish.
Game time for Game 3 is 7:00 pm at the StFX Charles V. Keating Centre. Game 4, if necessary, will be played Monday night.
Contributions from UNB Athletics Communications