The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will compete for the U Sports men’s hockey title following a 3-0 win over the Acadia Axemen.

About 3,500 fans came out to watch the game at the Fredericton Aitken Centre Saturday afternoon for the first of two semifinal matchups.

Atlantic University Sport teams have been well represented in the national hockey championship, much like last year when UNB came in first, followed by the St. FX and Saint Mary’s University.

“Obviously if you play a good tough opponent from your own league it’s even that more special because you certainly have pride on the line,” said UNB head coach Gardinet MacDougall.

Pride is one thing, but supporters of UNB and Acadia could agree on one thing – the Atlantic league is on roll.

“They seem to recruit well,” said UNB fan Gary Morton. “It always seems your better players from Ontario and even out west are recruited to X and SMU and Acadaia, and of course UNB.”

“They challenge each other and it raises their standards and we have good coaching and a lot of fan support for hockey in the region,” said Acadia fan Debbie Graves.

Acadia already surprised a few Thursday evening by beating top-ranked Alberta.

“A lot of people called it an upset, but I think we were ranked too low,” said Acadia fan Jordyn McKnight. “They didn't respect the AUS enough.”

The final game in the University Cup will go down Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Acadia will compete for bronze at 9:30 a.m.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Nick Moore.