Teams should know by now that putting the Saint Mary’s Huskies on the power play is committing hockey suicide.
But the Moncton Aigles Bleus paraded to the penalty box 12 times last night at the Forum and the Huskies’ conference-best power play punished them by scoring all five goals in a 5-4 win in Game 1 of the Atlantic University Sport semifinals.
The five-man unit of forwards Marc Rancourt, Cam Fergus and Cody Thornton and blue-line brothers Scott and Andrew Hotham systematically picked apart the Aigles Bleus in textbook fashion. No other Huskies recorded points.
“Our power play’s just unbelievable, it’s been clicking all year,” said Huskies forward Kyle Doucet.
“It’s nothing out of the ordinary seeing those guys move the puck around the way they do but it’s definitely a bonus for our team.
“I don’t know where we’d be without them.”
The Huskies overcame a 2-1 deficit late in the second period with three goals in a 4:01 stretch.
The final two came 37 seconds apart, the first on a 5-on-3 and the second on the remaining 5-on-4. That put them up 4-2 going into the third.
Andrew Hotham (goal, three assists) and Scott Hotham (four assists) led the way and Fergus (two goals), Rancourt (goal, two assists) and Thornton (goal, assist) took care of the rest. The unit fired 26 of the Huskies’ 38 shots.
So how do you get a team to take 12 penalties? Officiating may well have played a role, but the Huskies’ tireless effort down low in the offensive zone was crucial.
“The guys really moved their feet and forced them to take penalties,” said Andrew Hotham.
Truth be told, the Huskies almost committed hockey suicide themselves, parading to the penalty box eight times and nearly letting Moncton tie it in the third.
A crowd of 1,023 cheered on the Huskies, who may offer the most exciting hockey in town with the Mooseheads toiling in last place and struggling to make the QMJHL playoffs.
“Throughout the season, sometimes, it’s a little dull with the (smaller) crowds, but when you see a good crowd like tonight, it helps us getting our energy up,” Doucet said.
Game 2 of the best-of-five is Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Forum.