Panthers fall in regular season finale

Panthers fall in regular season finale

(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds ended the Atlantic University Sport regular season with their 25th win.

Mark Simpson (Fredericton, NB) scored the winning goal mid-way through the second period as UNB beat UPEI 3-1.

Simpson collected a rebound in front of the Panthers net and beat Connor Wilkinson(Ajax, ON).

Philippe Maillet(Terrebonne, QC) and Randy Gazzola(Thorold, ON) also scored for the Varsity Reds.

Sam Aulie(Lumsden, SK) scored the Panthers' lone goal, mid-way through the third period, ending the shut-out bid by Varsity Reds' netminder Etienne Marcoux(Terrebonne, QC).

Marcoux stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced and was named first star and the Subway Player of the Game.

"I think we had a good test tonight," said Marcoux. "It was good to get some shots, because we usually don't get too much and we're going to the break, so it was good to see some action."

Wilkinson stopped 22 of the 24 he faced before suffering a groin injury and leaving the game in the third period.

Michael Gioguvaz(Brampton, ON) played the final 18 minutes in the UPEI net, giving up one goal on 15 shots.

"It looks pretty bad," said Panthers head coach Forbes MacPherson of Wilkinson's injury. "He pulled his groin pretty bad… back to back. I think it's a pretty significant injury."

"That was a tough game to play," said MacPherson. "The seeds are already set, heading into the playoffs. Nobody wants anybody to get injured. From a coach's perspective, you want to make sure you're playing the right way, you're engaged and all your habits remain at the best they can be."

The Varsity Reds finish the regular season with a 25-2-3 record, good for first place in the AUS standings and a first round playoff bye.

UNB goes into the playoffs riding a nine-game winning streak.

"We'll have to be sharp for our first game of the playoffs," said second year Varsity Reds forward Chris Clapperton(Cap Espoir, QC). "It's nice to be on the streak right now, everyone has confidence."

The Panthers finish in fifth place, with a record of 11-15-4.

UPEI will face the Saint Mary's Huskies in the first round of the playoffs. That series is scheduled to begin Wednesday night, in Halifax.

The Varsity Reds next action will come on February 23rd, when they host the first game of a second round series against a still-to-be determined opponent.