Varsity Reds down Axemen 2-1 in overtime in Bell Let's Talk event matchup

Photo by Brian Smith
Photo by Brian Smith

(FREDERICTON, N.B.) - In the battle of the top two AUS teams, Philippe Maillet scored a highlight reel goal 1:12 into overtime as the U Sports No. 1-ranked UNB Varsity Reds beat the No. 5-ranked Acadia Axemen 2-1, Saturday night. 

Maillet raced through centre ice and pushed around an Axemen defender before lifting the puck over Acadia goaltender Robert Steeves(Moncton, N.B.) on the short side. 

"There's a lot of space on the ice and I had a forward against me, so I just tried to take it to him and just finished up top shelf," said Maillet. 

The Axemen opened the scoring in the first period when Geoff Schemitsch (Thornhill, Ont.) scored at the 11:30 mark. 

That 1-0 lead held until Maillet scored at 14:58 of the second period, banging a rebound past Steeves. 

Both teams traded opportunities through the third period, but Steeves and Varsity Reds netminder Etienne Marcoux(Terrebonne, Que.) held their ground. 

Acadia went on the offensive early in the overtime, but a quick pass from defenceman Matt Petgrave (Brampton, Ont.) sent Maillet up ice to end the game in spectacular style. 

"It was a big game for us," said Maillet. "Bell Let's Talk is a big cause and when you get a big game like this, you like to show up." 

"It was a nice shot," admitted Steeves"He's had my number a bit, since junior. I'm pretty upset to give that one up to him, but I don't know what else I could've done. He put it in a perfect spot." 

Axemen head coach Darren Burns, disappointed with the loss, was happy with his team's play. 

"I thought we battled hard," said Burns. "It's a tough building to play in, but I thought our guys played outstanding, really, and it's a big point on the road." 

Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall was pleased his team found a way to win. 

"That's two nights in a row that we gave up the first goal, but I think that's good that we responded. We had to fight hard for this one," said MacDougall. 

Almost 2,700 fans were in attendance, as the Varsity Reds held a Bell Let's Talk event. 

Bell's annual day in support of mental health issues is Jan. 25. 

The Varsity Reds celebrated the awareness and fundraising day on Saturday. 

Following the game, both teams put aside their difference, donned Bell Let's Talk toques and gathered at center ice for a group photograph. 

"Sometimes things are bigger than hockey," said Maillet. "This is a big issue and if it can help some people in the community or anywhere else, I think it's our job to give a good window for that cause." 

Source: Andy Campbell, UNB Athletics

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