Thursday, November 14, 2019

U Sports Top Ten (#7): Reds 2nd After Shake Up

As expected, after a week which saw eight top ten teams drop at least one game the latest men's hockey top ten rankings have a drastically different look.

The Alberta Golden Bears, who were the only team to go undefeated last week, moved back into the top spot with 1821.13 ELO points. This moved them past UNB and their 1780.13 points. 

The Carleton Ravens were the only team to hold steady as they come in 3rd with 1696.22 points. The Ottawa Gee Gees (1618.05) move from outside of the rankings to 4th and the Saskatchewan Huskies (1617.07) are up a spot despite enjoying a bye week. 

The big story this week are the Toronto Varsity Blues (1614.50), who are ranked for the first time since the 2012/2013 season. Their 6th place ranking is their highest since 1992/1993. 

Rounding out the top ten are the Saint Mary's Huskies (1604.96), who are up a spot after their win over UNB, Brock Badgers (1595.45), Ryerson Rams (1594.93), and Acadia Axemen (1593.79), dropping six spots after losses to Moncton and UNB last weekend. 

Here are the notable games this week:

#7 Saint Mary's at St. FX

#10 Acadia at St. FX
#4 Ottawa at #3 Carleton
Guelph at #8 Brock

Boland Is Athlete Of The Week

Reds 3rd year forward Tyler Boland has been named the UNB Reds/Papa John's Pizza male athlete of the week after his performance in a pair of games last weekend.

On Friday night Boland scored UNB's lone goal in a 3-1 setback to the Saint Mary's Huskies. The next afternoon, in a first place showdown against the Acadia Axemen, he scored twice - including the game winning goal with 47 seconds remaining - to give UNB a crucial 4-3 win.

The Newfoundland native is currently tied for 4th in AUS scoring with 17 points (8 goals, 9 assists) in 12 games. His + 12 rating is 2nd in the conference.

Boland and his teammates are on home ice tomorrow night to face the Moncton Aigles Bleus. They travel to the island to face the UPEI Panthers Saturday night.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Boland's Late Heroics Lifts Reds

The 1st place Acadia Axemen erased a two goal 3rd period deficit and looked on their way to sending their game against the University of New Brunswick Reds to overtime, but Tyler Boland's second goal of the game with 47 seconds remaining gave the home team a thrilling 4-3 win this afternoon at the AUC. The win pulls UNB into a tie atop the conference with the Axemen as both teams have identical 9-3-0 records.

- After a disappointing performance the night before against Saint Mary's, today was a much more inspiring effort from UNB, although still probably not up to their high standards.

- The Reds were rewarded for their hot start when the 4th line of Brady Gilmour, Oliver Cooper, and James McEwan combined for the game's first goal at 8:29. The puck came out front to McEwan and, after his first attempt was stopped by Axemen goaltender Logan Flodell, he stuck with the play and batted in the rebound.

- The Axemen got the equalizer on the power play at 14:53. Jordy Stallard sent a pass from the blueline to Cristiano Digiacinto, who was all alone at the side of the net for an easy re-direction past Rylan Parenteau.

- It only took 56 seconds for UNB the respond. Kris Bennett threw the puck on net from the point, which Flodell kicked out, but Boland scooped up the rebound just outside the crease and was able to get the puck just past Flodell's out-stretched left leg. Matt Murphy also picked up an assist on the marker.

- The Reds added to their lead at 15:37 of the 2nd period as Joe Gatenby patiently waited before throwing a puck from the point into traffic in front of the net. Mark Simpson was able to get a piece of it and deposit it into the net for a 3-1 lead. Tristan Pomerleau was credited with the secondary assist on the insurance goal.

- Acadia got some life early in the 3rd period as Alexandre Goulet was sent off for elbowing 11 seconds into the period and they took advantage. The Reds penalty kill, which struggled all weekend, left Maurizio Colella all alone in the right face-off circle and he blasted a slap shot that beat Parenteau clean glove side.

- The Reds power play had back to back power play opportunities at 7:51 and 9:59 that came up empty, and it looked like they would get another crack with the man advantage at 11:49 when Digiacinto was whistled for boarding. However, the penalty was wiped out when Noah Carroll gave Digiacinto a nudge on his way to the penalty box that dropped the Axemen forward like a bag of bricks. Unfortunately, the referee bought the impressive acting job and sent Carroll off as well for unsportsmanlike conduct.

- After a few minutes of tense play the game began to settle down again and Acadia was able to tie it up at 16:30 after a nice end to end rush by defenceman Garrett McFadden, who rushed down the right side, drove towards the goal, and slid the puck past Parenteau.

- This set the stage for Boland. With under a minute to play two Reds brought the puck up the ice and into the Axemen zone. Boland (Bennett, Murphy) got the puck at the right face-off dot and his wrist shot found the inside of the far post to give UNB the lead with 47 seconds remaining. The Reds forecheck did the rest as they kept the puck hemmed in the Axemen zone for the rest of the game, not giving Flodell a chance to leave for the extra attacker. 

- Shots in the game were 35-21 for UNB. Period totals were 13-6, 13-5, and 9-10.

- Benjamin Gagne was the only scratch.

- Acadia went 2 for 5 on the power play. UNB was 0 for 4 on the afternoon - and 0 for 9 on the weekend.

- The Reds were definitely much more engaged today as they forced Flodell into making a number of big saves - including a point blank glove save off Bennett after a cross-ice pass - and were able to create a lot more chaos and chances around the net. For his part, Rylan Parenteau was solid as well with his best stop coming on a desperation stick save on a shot that looked like a sure game-tying goal midway through the contest.

- A hard hit on Bennett in the 2nd period caused the UNB bench - and head coach Gardiner MacDougall in particular - to give the officials an ear full. It was about as animated as you will ever see the Reds bench boss as he gave the referees his opinion on the play. After going down the tunnel for a few moments Bennett was back on the ice and didn't look the worse for wear. 

- UNB won 40 out of 69 face-offs. Samuel Dove-McFalls (15 out of 26), Tyler Boland (10 out of 18), and Mark Simpson (9 out of 15) all had good showings in the face-off circle.

- Tyler Boland was the game's first star followed by Bennett and McFadden.

- Attendance was 2174, a respectable showing for the uncommon start time.

- Acadia's struggles at the AUC continue. They are now 0-33-3 against UNB at the Aitken Centre since the beginning of the 2006-2007 season. However, they have won a game in regulation at the AUC since then - a 4-1 win over Alberta at the 2017 University Cup.

- The other two AUS games go tonight. Saint Mary's looks to match Acadia and UNB at the top of the standings when they travel to Moncton to face the Aigles Bleus and UPEI is in Halifax for a match-up against Dalhousie.

- UNB is back on home-ice next Friday night when they host Moncton on Home Depot night at the AUC. Game time is 7PM.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Reds Lackluster In Loss

The Saint Mary's Huskies were blown out by the University of New Brunswick Reds in the season opener. Tonight they turned the tables, stunning the top ranked and defending champions 3-1 at the Aitken Centre to hand UNB their first regulation loss on home ice in 22 months.

- The game never saw its first goal until the latter stages of the 2nd period. A hard point shot ricocheted off the end boards and came out the other side, right to Mitchell Balmas who backhanded it past Samuel Harvey. The power play marker was the only one through 40 minutes.

- Trailing 1-0 heading into the 3rd period the Reds came out with a lack of urgency as they didn't generate their first shot on goal until just under seven minutes into the frame. They then had a power play opportunity snuffed out only 14 seconds in when Patrick Watling took an offensive zone penalty.

- The Huskies power play struck again at 13:13 to extend their lead when Connor McGlynn put in the puck from a sharp angle from the goal line.

- Tyler Boland got that one right back and gave UNB some life 25 seconds later when he weaved through the slot and wired a wrist shot past Erik Brassard.

- The Reds pulled Harvey with two minutes remaining, but didn't get a shot on goal. An empty net goal from Fredericton native Noah Zilbert at 19:52 salted the win away for the Huskies.

- Shots in the game were 30-26 for UNB with period totals of 10-5, 12-13, and 8-8.

- Although they had 30 shots on goal, the Reds didn't force Brassard to make nearly enough tough saves. Outside of hitting a couple posts and a few scrambles in front of the net, the high-powered UNB offense was stifled.

- Special teams were the difference. UNB entered the game with the league's top ranked penalty kill and power play, but SMU went 2 for 5 on the power play while the Reds were 0 for 5, which included a 65 second two man advantage midway through the game.

- Benjamin Gagne was the lone scratch.

- The Huskies were without three of their top players in Dawson Theede, Logan DeNoble, and Alex Peters.

- Attendance was reported as a generous 1972. Fredericton was hit with their first storm of the season, which no doubt kept many away. As a result, the atmosphere in the rink was almost non-existent.

- Samuel Dove-McFalls won 14 out of 19 face-offs, helping UNB to a 37 for 64 night in the dot.

- Zilbert's goal was the first empty net goal UNB has allowed in conference play since January 24th, 2015 against Acadia.

- UNB's last regulation loss on home ice came on January 6th, 2018 in a 5-2 setback against St. FX.

- Before tonight they had gone 33-0-3 at the AUC since that loss.

- Interestingly, Saint Mary's have now won three of their last four games at the AUC. They won 2-1 in OT and 4-3 in OT in their first two trips to Fredericton last season. UNB took the third meeting by a 3-1 count.

- The Huskies have done as good a job as any team at stifling UNB's attack at the AUC. The Reds have only scored 15 goals in their last seven home games versus SMU.

- In three of those games UNB have been held to one goal. By comparison, in the 41 home games they have played against non-SMU teams since the beginning of the 2017-2018 season the Reds have averaged 5.51 goals per game and never scored fewer than two goals.

- If there is a silver-lining to the evening it is that the 1st place Acadia Axmen saw their nine game winning streak end with a 4-2 loss in Moncton to the Aigles Bleus. The UPEI Panthers doubled up St. FX 6-3 in Charlottetown in the other contest on the schedule.

- The Reds will need a much better effort tomorrow when they face Acadia with first place on the line. A reminder that the game is scheduled for a 4PM start.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

UNB Holds Ring Ceremony

The 2018-2019 University Cup champion Reds were celebrated one last time last evening. During a special ceremony at Kingswood Lodge, members of the team were presented with their championship rings. This capped off arguably the finest season in school history, in which UNB posted a 37-4-3 record - including a perfect 8-0 mark in postseason play - en route to their 8th national championship.

Here are a few pictures from the night (courtesy @UNBMHockey):