Wednesday, July 5, 2017

V-Reds Announce Addition Of Pomerleau, LeBlanc

The defending University Cup champion University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds have officially announced their first two recruits of what should be a busy summer - defencemen Tristan Pomerleau and Olivier LeBlanc.

While the addition of Pomerleau has been assumed for a number of weeks now, it is now official. Meanwhile, the recruitment of LeBlanc has been kept quiet up until now, which is more in line with what we have become accustomed to from this coaching staff.

The 6 foot, 172 pound LeBlanc is a former 7th round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and 1st round pick of the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL). He split his junior career almost evenly between the Sea Dogs and Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, serving as team captain for both squads. Overall, the native of Quebec City accumulated 164 points (33 goals, 131 assists) in 291 career QMJHL contests, including a career high of 43 points (10 goals, 33 assists) in 58 games this past season.

With Pomerleau and LeBlanc now in the fold the V-Reds have 7 natural defencemen on the roster for the first time in three seasons. While I am sure they wouldn't hesitate to add another if the right player comes along, one would think that the focus will now turn to trying to replace some of the offense they have lost since last season as well as finding a starting-calibre goaltender to team with Alex Dubeau.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Defenceman Pomerleau Commits

According to the L'Avantage Votre Journal, Victoriaville Tigres defenseman and team captain Tristan Pomerleau has committed to the Varsity Reds for the upcoming season.

The 5'10", 190 pound rearguard from Riviere-du-Loup, Quebec played with former V-Reds Philippe Maillet and Philippe Halley during his rookie season with the Tigres. It isn't a stretch to think that this played a large part in Pomerleau eventually choosing UNB over both the McGill Redmen and UQTR Patriotes, as reported. Interestingly, it has also been suggested that Pomerleau and his Tigres teammate Alexandre Goulet may reunite with UNB, provided Goulet does not receive a professional contract. It certainly appears there is a strong connection building between the two programs.

Pomerleau, who has been the captain in Victoriaville for each of the last three seasons, is coming off of a year in which he put up 24 points (5 goals, 19 assists) and was a +21 in 44 games. During his QMJHL career he posted 85 points (12 goals, 73 assists) in 249 games.

The addition of Pomerleau, to go along with Trey Lewis (who red-shirted last season) and the returning quartet of Randy Gazzola, Colin Suellentrop, Marcus McIvor, and Matt Murphy, helps solidify UNB's blue line heading into the upcoming season.

However, it will be interesting to see if another defenceman is added to the fold. The V-Reds have gotten away with carrying the minimum of six natural d-men on their roster in each of the last two seasons without missing a beat, thanks to a combination of relatively good health as well as having forward Matt Boudens slide back to help out when needed. Relying on yet another season of good fortune with regards to injuries may prove to be too risky, though. According to Findlay, they have been strongly connected to Flint Firebirds defender Mathieu Henderson, although it now appears he may be on his way to Guelph.

As always, we will do our best to keep you updated on the latest off-season news concerning the V-Reds.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2017-2018 Schedule Released

The AUS has announced the 2017-2018 men's hockey schedule and all eyes will be on Fredericton opening night. In the only game scheduled, the reigning U Sports champion University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will raise their 7th championship banner to the AUC rafters on Wednesday, October 4th before their contest against the Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus. The other five teams will begin their season on Friday, October 6th.

The V-Reds full schedule looks like this (home games in bold):
*All games are tentatively scheduled for 7PM*

Wednesday, October 4th vs. Moncton
Friday, October 6th at UPEI
Wednesday, October 11th at Moncton
Saturday, October 14th vs. UPEI
Friday, October 20th at Acadia
Saturday, October 21st at Saint Mary's
Friday, October 27th vs. Acadia
Saturday, October 28th vs. Saint Mary's
Friday, November 3rd vs. Moncton
Saturday, November 4th at UPEI
Friday, November 10th vs. St. FX
Saturday, November 11th vs. Dalhousie
Friday, November 17th at St. FX
Saturday, November 18th at Dalhousie
Friday, November 24th vs. UPEI
Saturday, November 25th at Moncton
Friday, December 1st at Saint Mary's
Saturday, December 2nd at Acadia

Friday, January 5th vs. Dalhousie
Saturday, January 6th vs. St. FX
Friday, January 12th at Dalhousie
Saturday, January 13th at St. FX
Friday, January 19th vs. Saint Mary's
Saturday, January 20th vs. Acadia
Wednesday, January 24th at UPEI
Saturday, January 27th vs. Moncton
Friday, February 2nd at Saint Mary's
Saturday, February 3rd at Acadia
Friday, February 9th vs. St. FX
Friday, February 10th vs. Dalhousie

A few notes of interest:

- UNB will play 18 games (8 home/10 away) before Christmas and 12 games (7 home/5 away) after the break.

- The V-Reds will play a 3 home/2 away split against Moncton, Dalhousie, and St. FX this season. They play an extra road game against Acadia, Saint Mary's, and UPEI.

- There are four instances where UNB will play the same two opponents on consecutive weekends.

- Interestingly, four out of the five games against both Moncton and UPEI will come before the Christmas break. Furthermore, UNB will play those two teams three times each before they face either Dalhousie or St, FX.

- 10 out of the 12 games after the break will be against Nova Scotia based schools.

- For the first time since the 2013-2014 campaign, there are no home stands or road trips longer than three games.

- For the 3rd straight year - and 6th time in 7 seasons - the V-Reds will open the season at home. UNB has won 6 straight season openers and 28 straight home openers.

- This will be the first time in four years the season will wrap up against a team other than UPEI.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Maillet Wins BLG Award

Former University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds forward Philippe Maillet added yet another accolade to collection this past week when he was named the recipient of the BLG Award as the U Sports male athlete of the year for the 2016-2017 season. He was presented with a trophy as well as a $10 000 scholarship to attend a Canadian University graduate school.

Maillet beat out Laval football player Mathieu Betts, York soccer player Jonathan Lao, and Trinity Western volleyball player Ryan Sclater to become only the second AUS male athlete to capture this prestigious award, joining former V-Reds forward, and current assistant coach, Rob Hennigar, who earned the honour in 2008.

At this point there is nothing left to say about Philippe Maillet's 2016-2017 season - it is simply the greatest individual season in UNB hockey history.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

News And Notes: Halley, Gazzola, Marcoux, Thomas, Willick, Maillet

Some roster news as the V-Reds now turn their attention to the 2017-2018 season:

- Earlier this week forward Philippe Halley became the latest in a long list of departures as he has signed with Amiens in France for next season.

After putting up 65 points (29 goals, 36 assists) in 69 games in his first three seasons at UNB, Halley saw his numbers slip a bit this year (18 points in 30 games) as he took on a more defensive role, frequently teaming up with Dylan Willick to form one of the most dangerous penalty killing duos in the league.

A native of Quebec City, the speedy forward will perhaps best be remembered for his clutch performances on the biggest stage. In 9 University Cup games over the last three years Halley found the back of the net a school-record 11 times, including firing three hat-tricks.

- In today's Daily Gleaner (subscription required), Bruce Hallihan talks to Randy Gazzola and the defenceman confirms that he will be returning for his 4th season in the fall despite receiving interest from a number of pro teams. He will be joined on the blue line next year by returnees Colin Suellentrop, Marcus McIvor, and Matt Murphy as well as former St. FX X-Men Trey Lewis, who redshirted this year after transferring to UNB.

Gazzola also discussed the future of a number of his teammates. He says goaltender Etienne Marcoux, who came to UNB with two years of university credits already under his belt, will move on with the hopes of getting an AHL tryout. Also, forward Mike Thomas is expected to be back for his 5th and final season while graduating forward Dylan Willick, who recently landed a job in Fredericton with a software company, is "questionable" to return for his final season of eligibility.

- The recognition keeps coming for former V-Reds forward Philippe Maillet as he has been named one of four finalists - and the AUS representative - for the BLG Award/Doug Mitchell Trophy, which is given annually to the U Sports male athlete of the year.

The 25th annual BLG Awards honouring the U Sports male and female athlete of the year will be presented on Monday, May 1st and will air on Sportsnet later in May. Each winner will receive a $10 000 post-graduate scholarship.