The UNB Varsity Reds men's hockey team showed why Goliath is Goliath after crushing the UPEI Panthers 4-0 on Monday in Charlottetown and eliminating the Island squad from the post-season.
UNB swept the best-of-five Atlantic University Sport semifinal 3-0 and moves on to the final versus the winner of the St. F.X.-Saint Mary's semi.
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Over the opening 15 minutes, Philippe Halley stabbed the Panthers with two goals, including the power-play score that proved the game-winner, while Morell native Stephen Anderson twisted the knife with a second power-play score for a 3-0 lead the Panthers couldn't parry. That goal chased starting goalie Marvic Parks in favour of backup Matt Mahalak.
For Halley, the contest went according to script especially after last year when UNB had St. F.X. down 2-0 in the semi and allowed the X-Men off the ground to eventually force the series to a Game 5.
"(Winning Monday) was the game plan. We learned from last year up two games against St. F.X. in their rink," said Halley. "We needed to get a good start and that's what we got. We're playing with a lot of confidence right now."
Tyler Carroll slipped in a unassisted goal in the second frame and rounded off the UNB scoresheet. Carroll added an assist on Halley's second goal for a two-point night.
UNB goalie Etienne Marcoux stopped 25 shots in the win.
Panthers captain Mason Wilgosh said Marcoux and a few unlucky breaks, like misfiring on six power plays and missing a open net in the second frame, stunted UPEI's chances. And maybe the hockey gods were absent from MacLauchlan Arena.
"Hard to say. It's the way it is sometimes. We hit on some of those (chances) and it's a different game," said Wilgosh, who finished with three shots and a minus-three plus-minus ratio. "We got off to a slow start. We got a penalty and they capitalized. We got another penalty and they capitalized. They came out hard and it took a little bit of time for us to recover."
Parks and Mahalak combined to stop 28-of-32 shots.
Saint Mary's, the men's nationals host, defeated St. F.X. 4-0 on Monday to close that semi to 2-1 for St. F.X. Game 4 is Wednesday in Halifax.