(FREDERICTON, NB) Patrick Watling (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) scored a goal and two assists as the UNB Reds beat the Saint Mary's Huskies 4-1, on Saturday afternoon.
Watling's efforts earned him the Subway Player of the Game nod.
Watling's linemates, Tyler Boland (St. John's, NL) and Stephen Anderson (Morell, PEI) each added two points in the win as well.
"We [Watling's line] push each other day in and day out," said Watling. "We hold each other accountable and trust each other to make the right plays."
The Reds improved to 20-and-4 with the win, and have now clinched a first-round bye in the Atlantic University Sport playoffs for the 14th consecutive season.
"It's key. The guys knew we had these five games and that it was important to try and make some progress. The group sold out, had good energy and details are getting better," said Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
The Huskies drop to 13-and-11 with the loss.
Just 1:26 into the first period, Anderson finished off a tic-tac-toe play in front of the Huskies net to put Reds up 1-0 early. The goal was the 50th regular season goal of Anderson's AUS career.
UNB would continue to apply pressure throughout the period, but Huskies goaltender Eric Brassard (St. Hubert, QC) stood tall, making 17 saves in the period to keep the deficit to one.
The Reds would extend their lead with another early period goal as Boland fed a great pass from the corner to Watling who fired a slap shot home, just 1:03 into the second.
The Huskies would play the Reds more evenly in the second, coming close on three power-plays, but goaltender Sam Harvey (Alma, QC) and UNB's penalty killers kept them off the board into second intermission.
"Harvey was great," said Reds defenceman Matt Murphy (Fredericton, NB). "He can play in the big games, he made a lot of good saves tonight and just as many yesterday."
The Huskies would finally break the shut-out early in the third period, on the power-play, as Connor McGlynn (Oakville, ON) stole the puck from the Reds' Connor Hall (Cambridge, ON) and tucked it past Harvey to cut the lead to 2-1.
UNB would respond just three minutes later, with Alex Goulet (Disraeli, QC) finishing off a three-on-one break to restore the two-goal lead.
Samuel Dove-McFalls (Montreal, QC) would add one more to seal the 4-1 win.
Shots on goal were 43-24 for the Reds.
Harvey made 23 saves to get the win, while Brassard made 39 in the Huskies net.
Next up for the Reds, a date with the Dalhousie Tigers, Friday, at UNB's Aitken Centre. Game time is 7:00pm. The Huskies head home to host Acadia on Wednesday night.
RECAP BY: Jonathon James/for UNB Athletics
PHOTOS BY: James West/for UNB Athletics