(Halifax N.S.) With their backs up against the wall and facing elimination the Saint Mary's Huskies edged the UNB Varsity Reds 3-2 on Monday night in game 3 of their semi-final series vs UNB at the Halifax Forum.
It was a short bench for the Huskies with only 14 skaters dressed.
"It was a pretty tall order for us to achieve," said Huskies head coach Trevor Stienburg. "The guys did it. For the amount of energy and the amount of guys we had I thought we had a pretty consistent effort."
"Any time you can play that short staffed and get that much effort out of your guys it shows they care a lot and that's what we're going to hang our hat on right now."
Cole Cheveldave (Calgary AB) was stellar between the pipes for the Huskies making 48 saves in his first start of the playoffs.
"[Cheveldave] came up with some unbelievable stops," said Stienburg.
Cam Braes (Shawinigan, Lake BC) and Francis Beauvillier (St Hyacinthe, QC) responded for the Varsity Reds.
Etienne Marcoux (Terrebone, QC) made 13 saves in the loss.
Braes opened the scoring 7:43 into the game. Marcus McIvor (Whitby, ON) kept the puck in the Huskies zone on the right wall and sent it down low to Philippe Maillet (Terrebone QC).
Maillet turned with the puck toward the half wall and from the bottom of the circle fed Braes in the high right-slot on the edge of the circle. Braes ripped a quick wrister low glow.
Repaci tied it up at 1-1 just 44-seconds later. Pereira made a lead pass up ice from the Huskies zone that Repaci tipped to Hunter Garlent (Thorold, ON).
Garlent took it into the Varsity Reds zone on the right wing. He worked towards the corner and dropped it back to Repaci just to the left of the dot. Repaci fired a snap shot that rattled its way into the back of the net.
Pereira made it 2-1 Huskies exactly a minute later on the power-play. Stephen Gillard (St John's NL) got the puck on the right point and sent it to Pereira on the line in the centre of the ice.
Pereira passed to Garlent on the left half wall. Garlent worked down the wall and slipped a feed back to Pereira. He clapped a one-timer rocket from just above the left circle that went top shelf glove side.
Beaton gave the Huskies a two-goal cushion 7:06 into the third. Michael Curtis (Georgetown, ON) forced a turnover at the Varsity Reds blue line and flew in on a partial break.
Curtis tried to slip it five-hole and Marcoux closed the wickets but lost track of the puck. Beaton crashed hard to the net and buried the loose puck.
Beauvillier got the Varsity Reds back within one with 1:53 left to go in the third. Christopher Caissy (Campbellton, NB) made a quick backhand pass in the neutral zone to Stephen Anderson (Morell, PE).
Anderson carried into the Huskies zone and flipped a backhand from the slot that hit a shin-pad and ricocheted to Beauvillier. He buried the chance blocker side.
The Varsity Reds got the extra attacker out and applied some pressure late but could not beat Cheveldave.
The Huskies were one for eight on the power-play, while the Varsity Reds were zero for four.
The Varsity Reds outshot the Huskies 50-16.
The teams are back on the ice at the Halifax Forum for game four on Tuesday.
By Cam Honey-Webb
Photo Nick Pearce