AUS roundup: Tigers, Aigles Bleus post key wins to tighten playoff race
HALIFAX, NS - The Dalhousie Tigers and Moncton Aigles Bleus each picked up a crucial two points Wednesday night in their quest to secure a playoff position entering the final weeks of the regular season.
The Tigers defeated the visiting StFX X-Men 5-4 in Halifax to overtake the St. Thomas Tommies for sixth place as the Tommies fell by a score of 6-4 in Moncton. With the victory over St. Thomas, Moncton moved a little closer in the battle for the sixth and final AUS playoff berth.
Dalhousie currently has a record of 6-10-3 for 15 points, one point ahead of the Tommies (6-11-2 for 14 points) and four points clear of the Aigles Bleus who are currently 5-13-1 for 11 points.
All three teams have nine games left in the 28-game regular season.
StFX 4 at Dalhousie 5 - Boxscore
In Halifax, the Tigers jumped out to a 4-1 lead and held on for a close 5-4 win. Dalhousie's Patrick Sweeney, Brendon MacDonald and Benjamin Breault each had a goal and an assist with singles going to Ronald Kelly and defenseman Devrin Stonehouse. Sweeney currently leads the team in scoring with 16 points in 19 games this season.
Replying for the X-Men were Stephen Simms, Phil Mangan, Rob Warner and Brennan Wray. StFX's Bryce Swan, the team's top scorer this year, picked up an assist on Mangan's third period goal and is now tied for sixth in league scoring with 25 points in 20 games.
StFX outshot Dalhousie by a 39-28 margin.
Josh Disher picked up his second win of the season after a 35-save night while Bryan Gillis, who was pulled after the first period, took the loss. The Tigers finished the night 1-of-2 on the power-play while the X-Men were 1-of-5 with the man advantage.
St. Thomas 4 at Moncton 6 - Boxscore
In Moncton, Mathieu Bétournay led the UdeM attack with his team-leading 10th and 11th goals of the season in a second period that saw the Aigles Bleus score five times. The others came following efforts by Pierre-André Bureau, in the first period and Dean Ouellet, Marc-André Côté and Mathieu Bolduc in the second.
Brad Gallant in the first, Maxim Chamberland and Devan Praught in the second and Scott Judson with two seconds to play replied for the Tommies.
The teams exchanged markers to even the score at 1-1 after 20 minutes of play with the Tommies leading 15-10 in shots on goal.
Seven goals were registered in the exciting second frame as the Aigles took a commanding 6-3 lead and outshot STU 17-9.
Tommies goaltender Charles Lavigne left the game after the sixth goal in favor of Ben MacFarlane at 14:56 of the second. MacFarlane kept Moncton off the scoreboard for the remainder of the night, turning aside all 11 shots he faced.
The Tommies dominated the third with a 14-7 advantage on shots with Judson scoring the period's only goal.
Pierre-Alexandre Marion registered his second win of the season in the Moncton net, making 34 saves on 38 shots, while Lavigne took the loss. UdeM was 2-of-5 on the power-play, while St. Thomas finished 2-of-8.
"This is a big victory for us as we edge closer to 6th position," said coach Serge Bourgeois following the game. "We found a way to score goals and get the puck past (Charles) Lavigne. This is funny because for once, we were out-shot 38-34 and we won. I am happy with the work of the special units as we scored two shorthanded goals and two on power plays. Some players, not showing on the score sheet, did a great job checking the opponents because their big line did not score. We did move the puck well during the man advantage situations and we were aggressive on the ice. We will have to do the same thing on the weekend. We do not have an easy job, but we will be ready."
Mathieu Bétournay scored two goals and said he didn't do anything in particular. "We knew the importance of this four point game," he said. "We still have hopes of playing in the playoffs. We were more than ready tonight because we got robbed of a victory the last time we played them in Fredericton. I found we were more alert in front of the opposing net tonight and our special units played well. We have two big games on the weekend and we are going to be ready like we were tonight."