Battle of the Hill brings mixed emotions

The Hill rivalry has grown in recent years (Kelsey Pye/AQ)

Two quick goals and a 3-0 lead couldn’t help the Tommies as they fell 6-4 to the Varsity Reds in third instalment of the Battle of the Hill on Friday night.

Over 2000 fans piled into the Aitken Centre Friday to watch Fredericton’s biggest rivalry. Both teams came out strong, but the Tommies were on the board first with a goal from recent addition Matt Bissonette only two minutes in. Bissonette also scored the second goal on the powerplay less than two minutes later.

The Tommies also started the second period in style, with Stephen Sanza scoring STU’s third goal 59 seconds into the period. After forty, the score stood 4-2 STU.

Things started to fall apart for the Tommies in the third period. STU only got two shots in the entire period, letting UNB finalize their 6-4 win.

“You’re not going to win games with two shots in the third period…it puts way too much stress on our goaltender and our defense,” said Tommies head coach Pat Powers.

The game was chippy and that was a major problem for STU. A combined 56 minutes of penalties meant the nationally-ranked UNB had lots of one-man advantages.

“We can’t continue to let them get powerplays,” Powers said. “We didn’t get powerplays. I thought there were some chintzy calls tonight.”

Matt Bissonette and Stephen Sanza each recorded two goals, with five players picking up assists.

For Bissonette, who joined the men’s hockey team this semester, this was his first taste of the Battle of the Hill. He enjoyed the game despite the loss because he likes the fast-paced competitiveness of the rivalry.

“They’re always going to be a tough hockey team and I think we’re going to build and be a lot better in the years to come…we want to beat these guys every time we play them,” he said. “It was fun hockey.”

The Tommies played a strong first period, and with Bissonette’s two rapid goals the team looked to be playing a smart game. But the systems started lacking, and Bissonette said the team wasn’t playing good offense.

“We knew if we could jump on early we could surprise them and I think we did, but in the back of our minds I think we were sitting back a lot. We had to keep attacking them and we didn’t.”

Powers took no comfort in how the team played earlier in the game.

“The only consolation was we got four goals,” he said.

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