Monday, March 29, 2004

Wild University thriller gives ST. F X the title

The game featured everything you could want, double overtime, end to end rushing, punishing checks and some spectacular goaltending. Sundays CIS Championship game had it all.

With the hometown UNB Reds taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the first period, many in the Aitken Centre Stands were getting ready to celebrate. That is until the St. F X, X-men finally got their wheels going, tying the game up early in the third period. After that it was firewagon style hockey from end to end, through the third, into a fourth and half way through the fifth.

St. F X dodged a big bullet when Blake Robson took a penalty at about the 6 minute mark of the 2nd overtime, St. F X held off the attack with goaltender Mike Mole doing his best to keep the Reds off the board and from claiming the title.

As is usually the case in these nail biting epics, it was the penalized Robson who would become the hero of the game. At 10:13 of the second OT, he blasted down the left wing, putting the puck over the shoulder of UNB's Reg Bourcier to claim the title, 3-2 X Men.

For UNB a disappointing finish to the game and the tournament. Controlling most of the play in the game they let St. F X back in and paid the price for it. The Reds can take some consolation from the tournament though, they came into the week ranked as the sixth seed, but defeated the mighty Alberta Golden Bears to get to the final, the first defeat for the Bears this year. By the end of the tournament the usually formidable Bears would have their second defeat losing to Dalhousie 4-1 in the consolation round.

That gave all three medals to Atlantic Schools in the tournament, a pretty good testimony to the quality of Hockey being played down east. For Canadian University hockey it was just a super exhibition of the quality of the game and a decent recruitment vehicle for those kids looking for a hockey alternative to the Junior game, or the US college scene.

TSN carried the weekend eliminations and the final on Sunday. Judging by the excitement generated, one wonders if a game of the week in CIS hockey isn't too far down the line.

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