The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds defended their U SPORTS (formerly CIS) men's hockey championship crown on home ice by downing the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 5-3 in the title game in Fredericton, N.B.
Despite being the fifth seed in the eight-team field and heading into the national championship tournament as the runners-up in the AUS conference, the Varsity Reds reeled off three straight wins to repeat as champs.
Cam Braes proved to be the hero in the championship finale as he tallied four times to lead the offensive charge. Mark Simpson scored the other UNB goal while Philippe Maillet, the tournament MVP and Canadian university player-of-the-year, chipped in with four assists.
Connor Gay, Jordan Fransoo and Kohl Bauml replied for the Huskies.
Back-to-back U SPORTS goaltender-of-the-year Jordon Cooke was tagged with the loss despite making 31 saves in the contest. Etienne Marcoux of the Varsity Reds stopped 18 shots to pick up the win.
In the semifinals, UNB blanked the Acadia Axemen 3-0 while the Huskies thumped AUS champion and the second seeded St. FX X-Men 8-0.
The quarterfinals threw the men’s tournament into a tailspin as three higher seeds fell to lower ranked schools. No. 8 Acadia dumped top-seeded Alberta Golden Bears 4-1, No. 6 Saskatchewan got by No. 3 York Lions 1-0 and No. 5 UNB downed No. 4 Queen's Gaels 5-1. The only top seed to win was No. 2 St. FX as they beat No. 7 McGill Redmen 4-1.
In the all-AUS bronze medal match, the Axemen dropped the X-Men 7-3.
Daniel Pettersson and Michael Clarke each scored twice for Acadia with singles going to Liam Maaskant, Boston Leier and Taylor Makin. Sam Studnicka, Eric Locke and Nathan Pancel replied for St. FX.
The tournament all-star team included goaltender Etienne Marcoux of UNB, defenceman Geoff Schemitsch of Acadia, defenceman Jesse Forsberg of the Huskies, forward Philippe Maillet of the Varsity Reds, forward Cam Braes of UNB and forward Levi Cable of Saskatchewan.
The Varsity Reds will also play host to the University Cup again next season as they go for three in a row.
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