(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Reds began the second half of the 2018-19 Atlantic University Sport season with a 3-1 win over the Saint Mary's Huskies on Friday.
Matt Murphy (Woodstock, NB) had a goal and an assist, Mark Rassell (Calgary, AB) had two assists, and Alex Dubeau (Mascouche, QC) made 29 saves to lead the Reds.
"We knew it was a big game. I think we all showed up," said Dubeau, named the Subway Player of the Game. "We knew we weren't going to dominate for 60 minutes, because the other team is pretty good, but we battled hard, guys battled through, especially in that 5-on-3 at the end of the game."
The visitors opened the scoring, at 15:06 of the first period, when Calder Brooks (Emerald Park, SK) slid a puck past Dubeau.
Despite being outshot 11-7, Saint Mary's took that 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
About seven minutes into the second period, UNB had a glorious chance to tie the score.
Tyler Boland (St. John's, NL) took a cross-crease pass, but couldn't settle a bouncing puck and Huskies netminder Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, QC) was able to get across and deny Boland.
But, at the 9:16 mark, Randy Gazzola (Thorold, ON) sent a shot past Brassard from the point, tying the game 1-1.
At 6:28 of the third period, Kris Bennett (Brampton, ON) pounced on a loose puck in the crease and pushed it into the Huskies net, giving the home side a 2-1 lead.
Just past the midway point of the third, the Huskies had a 5-on-3 power-play for more than a minute, but the Reds penalty kill held the lead.
"We've got to be better on that. We take responsibility for that, that's on us," said Brooks. "They did a good job doing what they're supposed to do on the penalty kill, but ultimately when you have a 5-on-3, it's up to us to make something happen that late in the game."
"Those are moments that you don't want, but at least you go through it and I thought our killers did a great job there," said Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
The Huskies pulled Brassard, in favour of an extra skater, with 1:20 to play, but Murphy found the empty net just 11 seconds later to make it a 3-1 game.
The game was the final of five regular season meetings between the Reds and Huskies. It marked the first time the home team had won in the series and carried a playoff-like intensity.
"It's the second half of the season," said Dubeau. "We want to prepare for the playoffs and we knew that was the last time we have them before the playoffs. They're a potential playoff opponent, so we made sure that we came to play."
With the win, the Reds are now 16-0-3 and 12 points clear of the Huskies atop the AUS standings. UNB hosts the Acadia Axemen on Saturday. Game time is 7:00pm.
Saint Mary's is 11-7-1. They visit the UPEI Panthers on Saturday. Game time there is also 7:00pm.
RECAP BY: Andy Campbell/UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics