Wednesday, October 28, 2020

News and Notes: Simpson, Anderson, Power Rankings

A few notes of interest:

- Centre Mark Simpson has agreed to terms with the Stockton Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Earlier in the summer Simpson had indicated that he was planning on moving on after four years at UNB, during which time he cemented himself as one of the best two-way forwards in the country and helped the Reds to a pair of national championships. Simpson departs UNB having scored 77 points in 109 regular season games and 15 points in 25 AUS playoff games. 

- Fellow forward Stephen Anderson has also joined the professional ranks. After five seasons at UNB the Morell, PEI product has inked a deal for the 2020-2021 season with the ECHL's Florida Everblades, an affiliate of the Nashville Predators. The smooth skating Anderson was a key member to the Reds top line over the previous two seasons and leaves UNB having scored 130 points in 132 career regular season games and another 23 points in 26 AUS postseason games. He was part of three University Cup-winning teams while at UNB.

- With Simpson and Anderson turning pro, it means every graduating member of last season's team have now signed professional contracts for the upcoming season. Patrick Watling (Allen, ECHL), Marcus McIvor (Fort Wayne, ECHL), and Matt Murphy (Fort Wayne, ECHL) all signed contracts earlier in the summer. 

- The excellent U Sports website 49 Sports recently published their men's hockey power rankings for the last decade. Needless to say, UNB fans will be very happy with the results. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Phelan To Join Reds

The University of New Brunswick Reds have added another important piece to their 2021-2022 recruiting class, announcing the addition of former AHL forward James Phelan to the program. The Reds had previously confirmed the commitment of goaltender Griffen Outhouse to next season's roster. 

The 6', 185 pound Phelan split his QMJHL career between the Shawinigan Cataractes, Victoriaville Tigres - where he was a teammate of current Reds Alexandre Goulet and Tristan Pomerleau - and Moncton Wildcats. Over 321 career games he recorded 86 goals and 105 assists for 191 points, including a career-high of 33 goals and 41 assists in his final season. He contributed another nine goals and five assists in 31 playoff contests.  

After his five year major junior career came to an end in 2018, the native of Laval, Quebec originally committed to UNB before signing a professional contract with the AHL's Texas Stars. He would spend the next two seasons playing in the AHL and ECHL, combining for six goals and nine assists in 83 games. 

Phelan has been practicing with the Reds this fall while he red-shirts. He will be eligible to play beginning in the fall of 2021.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Hammer Comes Down, AUS Safe (for now)

It was a bad week for U Sports fans as both the Canada West (CW) and Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conferences announced that they would be cancelling all conference regular season, postseason, and championship events scheduled for the winter semester. It was noted, however, that members can still pursue exhibition and/or regional non-conference play should public health guidelines allow. 

Additionally, U Sports has cancelled all national championships scheduled for 2020-2021. This includes the University Cup, which was to be held in Charlottetown. 

The news was slightly better for the eastern part of the country, particularly in Atlantic Canada. The Reseau du sport etudiant du Quebec (RSEQ) conference has suspended all sports-related activity until January 15th while Atlantic University Sport (AUS) is forming a five person Return-To-Play committee to explore possible options for the winter semester. A decision on that front is expected by mid-November.  

Unfortunately, this news was to be expected, especially given the surge of COVID-19 cases across the country in recent weeks. At this point we just have to cross our fingers that there is some form of competition this season, even if it looks very different than what we are accustomed to.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

Reds Land Outhouse

The University of New Brunswick Reds have already got a head start on their 2021-2022 recruiting, announcing the addition of former pro goaltender Griffen Outhouse to the program. 

Outhouse, a 6' 185 pound native of Williams Lake, British Columbia spent his entire four year junior career with the WHL's Victoria Royals, posting a record of 114-60-7 while never finishing a season with a save percentage below 0.913. His 0.937 save percentage in his rookie year was the best in the country. 

After concluding his junior career Outhouse was one of the top overage goaltenders available out of the CHL and originally committed to the Alberta Golden Bears for the 2019-2020 season. However, he would instead sign a two-way AHL/ECHL contract with the Winnipeg Jets. He split last season with the AHL's Manitoba Moose, playing five games and putting up a 3.70 GAA and 0.882 save percentage, and the ECHL's Jacksonville Icemen, where he had 4.25 GAA and .874 GAA in nine games before suffering a season-ending left knee injury. 

Due to playing professionally after his age 21 season Outhouse will be not only be docked a year of eligibility, but will also not become eligible to play until a year from his last professional game, which was in late January. Although it is technically possible he could play this season, the uncertainty surrounding the campaign due to COVID-19 combined with UNB already boasting the stellar tandem of Rylan Parenteau and Samuel Harvey between the pipes  means it is likely the Reds will opt to hold Outhouse out until next season. 

It should also be noted that Parenteau is entering his fourth season while Harvey, as Gardiner MacDougall pointed out in the press release, has fast-tracked his degree and will be graduating in the spring after only two seasons, much like former UNB goaltenders Michael Ouzas and Etienne Marcoux did, so the plan could be to have Outhouse practice with the team this season before taking over as the number one goaltender in 2021-2022. 

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Roster Questions Answered

Bruce Hallihan's recent article in the Daily Gleaner (subscription required) helped bring some clarity to the Reds 2020-2021 roster situation.

As you may recall in our post last month about the recruitment of forward Isaac Nurse, we noted that this gave the Reds 23 skaters on their roster - one above the maximum allowed cap of 22 - and speculated that there may be an unannounced departure. Hallihan confirmed that this is indeed the case as forward Ben Hawerchuk will not return for his sophomore season, instead opting to stay home in Ontario as his father - Hall of Famer Dale Hawerchuk - battles a recurrence of cancer. He joins forwards Stephen Anderson, Patrick Watling, and Mark Simpson as well as defencemen Marcus McIvor and Matt Murphy as those not returning. However, forward Oliver Cooper will be back for his 5th and final season of eligibility. 

This is how the roster looks as of today. It includes 22 skaters (15 forwards + seven defencemen) and three goaltenders:

5TH YEAR (1)
F - Oliver Cooper

4TH YEAR (6)
G - Rylan Parenteau 
F - Tyler Boland
F - Kris Bennett
F - Alexandre Goulet
D - Tristan Pomerleau
D - Olivier LeBlanc

3RD YEAR (6)
F - Mark Rassell
F - Matthew Boucher
F - Samuel Dove-McFalls
F - James McEwan
D - Joe Gatenby
D - Noah Carroll

2ND YEAR (6)
G - Samuel Harvey
G - Tanner Somers
F - Brady Gilmour
F - Dylan Seitz
D - Connor Hall
D - Benjamin Gagne

1ST YEAR (6)
F - Austen Keating
F - Nicolas Guay
F - Jason Willms
F - Macauley Carson
F - Isaac Nurse
D - Kade Landry