Saturday, January 21, 2017

Maillet Comes Through In OT

Philippe Maillet showed why he is arguably the top player in the country tonight as he scored the game tying goal and then netted the game winning goal in overtime as the #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds snuck past the #5 ranked Acadia Axemen 2-1 at the AUC. UNB is now 19-2-3 on the season and have clinched a first round playoff bye. Meanwhile, the 2nd place Axemen fell to 15-7-2.

After a slow start that saw only one shot on goal in the first 7 minutes of the game, the Axemen were the first team on the board at 11:30. Remy Giftopoulos' shot missed wide to the far side, but when the puck bounced hard off the end boards back out to the side of the net Geoff Schemitsch was there to bang it past Etienne Marcoux. The V-Reds would pick up their play as the period went along, however Acadia would take a 1-0 lead into the intermission despite being out-shot 11-3.

The Varsity Reds found themselves in all kinds of penalty trouble in the first half of the second period. First, Mike Thomas took a four minute double minor at 6:53 and then, just 14 seconds before the man advantage was set to expire, Mark Simpson was called for slashing giving the Axemen almost 6 straight minutes of continuous power play time. The UNB penalty kill, like they have done time and time again this year, stepped up in a big way to keep the deficit at a goal. Only 30 seconds later it was the V-Reds top ranked power play that got a chance of their own and they made it count as Maillet (Murray, Braes) corralled a deflected puck at the left face-off circle and fired it into a wide open net for his 13th power play marker of the season. The score would remain tied 1-1 after 40 minutes as each team had 9 shots apiece in the period.   

Each team had a number of high quality scoring chances in the 3rd period - including a power play each - but both goalies stood their ground to send the game into overtime. The Axemen would hold the puck in the UNB zone for the first minute of the extra session before the V-Reds were able to gain control. Fortunately for the home team, it only took one opportunity to end the game. Maillet (Petgrave) gathered the puck in his own zone and picked up speed as he cut across the neutral zone and down the left side of the Axemen zone. The AUS' scoring leader went wide to shake a defender before cutting in towards the goal, lifting a forehand shot over goaltender Robert Steeves and into the top of the net just before he went tumbling into the end boards to give the V-Reds a dramatic victory. UNB held a 14-9 advantage on the shot clock in the 3rd period and had the only shot on goal in overtime.

- UNB went with the same line-up as last night as Cameron Brace, Colin Suellentrop, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were all out.

- Francis Beauvillier left the game in the 2nd period and never returned. He appeared to go into the boards awkwardly, injuring his left leg. He needed to be helped off the ice by his teammates and carried into the dressing room as he wasn't putting any pressure on his leg.

- Shots in the game were 35-21 for UNB.

- UNB was 1 for 4 on the power play. Acadia was 0 for 5.

- The V-Reds won 47 out of the 73 face-offs. Cam Braes (16 out of 20) and Mark Simpson (11 out of 14) were the standouts.

- Etienne Marcoux got his second start of the weekend. It was the first time all season UNB went with the same goalie in both weekend games. Marcoux has now allowed only five goals in his last four games.

- Maillet, Marcoux, and Steeves were named the three stars of the game.

- The Axemen almost made it 2-0 late in the first period, but had a potential goal waved off after it was determined the referee blew his whistle before the puck went in.

- Attendance was 2691.

- UNB has surrendered the first goal in nine of their last ten regular season games.

- Jordan Murray's 2nd period assist gives him 125 career points (Conference + Playoffs + Nationals), passing Luke Gallant and Mike Cavanagh for the most by a defenceman in school history.

- With his two goals tonight Maillet has a career-high 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) on the season. According to @VRedsHckyStats, he is only the 7th player in team history to have multiple 40+ point seasons. He now has 153 career regular season points, tying Kyle Bailey for 6th all-time.

- Maillet's 13 power play goals are 6 more than anyone else in the league. He only had 8 power play goals in his first three seasons.  

- Elsewhere around the conference tonight, St. FX scored a pair of 3rd period goal to pick up a 3-2 road win in Moncton and UPEI shut-out Saint Mary's 2-0 at home. 

- UNB is back on home ice next Friday night when they host the UPEI Panthers on Military Appreciation Night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

UNB Handles Huskies

The U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds avenged last week's loss to the Saint Mary's Huskies with a 5-2 victory tonight before a boisterous crowd on Northside Elementary School Night at the AUC. UNB improves to 18-2-3 on the season and still hold an 8 point lead over the 2nd place Acadia Axemen.

After a back and forth start that saw both teams exchange quality scoring chances it was the visitors getting on the board first when Anthony Repaci had some time and space coming down the left wing and beat Etienne Marcoux with a snap shot between the legs at 16:15. The large crowd was not disappointed for long, however, as Philippe Maillet (McIvor, Clapperton) crashed the net and banged in a rebound past Cole Cheveldave just 43 seconds later. The score would remain tied through the first twenty minutes with UNB holding a 17-6 shots on goal advantage.

The Huskies were able to regain the lead 2:54 into the 2nd period with the teams skating four-on-four. It was Repaci once again doing the honours with his second goal of the game into a wide open net. The V-Reds tied the game just under 9 minutes later with a goal that was a bit of a role reversal. Forward Mike Thomas navigated a pass from the blueline that found defenseman Matt Murphy at the far side of the net. Murphy's first shot was stopped but he followed up his own rebound and was able to lift it up and over Cheveldave on his second try. UNB took their first lead of the night with a power play goal at 16:42 after some nice passing on a rush up the ice. Chris Caissy found Philippe Halley and then Halley quickly fed Francis Beauvillier with a cross-crease pass that Beauvillier was able to tap in from the doorstep. The Varsity Reds would maintain the 3-2 advantage for the remainder of the period as they out-shot the Huskies 15-6 in the frame.

UNB added some insurance at 4:05 of the 3rd period. Matt Petgrave (Halley, Murphy) carried the puck up the ice and negotiated through a trio of defenders just inside the Huskies zone to go in all alone on Cheveldave, finishing the highlight-reel goal with a backhanded shot just under the crossbar. Christopher Clapperton put the finishing touches on the victory at 15:15 when he picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated down the left side, and blasted a slap shot from the face-off circle for an unassisted goal. Shots in the period were 10-8 for UNB.

- The V-Reds played with only 5 defenceman as Colin Suellentrop was out of the line-up. Forwards Cameron Brace, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were also scratched.

- Shots in the game were 42-20 for UNB.

- Although he only faced 20 shots, Etienne Marcoux was forced to make a number of tough saves, especially early in the game. He is now 11-1-1 on the season.

- Murphy, Clapperton, and Repaci were named the game's three stars.

- Once again UNB's special teams were great. They went 1 for 4 on the power play and also killed off all 7 shorthanded situations.

- Attendance was 3374.

- The V-Reds dominated in the face-off circle, winning 52 out of 87 draws. Dylan Willick had a big night (15 out of 19) while Cam Braes wasn't far behind (12 out of 17).

- UNB has now won six straight home games against Saint Mary's, including all three this year.

- In other AUS action tonight the Dalhousie Tigers upset St. FX 3-1 in Antigonish and Acadia eked out a 2-1 road win over UPEI despite mustering a mere 13 shots on goal.

- With the X-Men's loss, UNB is on the verge of clinching a first round playoff bye. They are 13 points ahead of St. FX with 7 games remaining.

- The V-Reds are back on home ice tomorrow night when they welcome the second place Acadia Axemen into town. Game time is 7PM.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

U Sports Top Ten: V-Reds Hang On To Top Spot

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds' hold as the number one hockey team in the country became more tenuous this week as the Saskatchewan Huskies gained ground on the defending champions in the latest U Sports rankings.

The V-Reds received 8 first place votes and 134 points overall to barely edge the Huskies, who gained the 6 first place votes and 130 points after posting an impressive two game weekend sweep of the Calgary Dinos. UNB, for their part, picked up 3 out of a possible 4 points on the road against two perennial contenders in Acadia and Saint Mary's.

The Queen's Golden Gaels moved up two spots to 3rd, their highest ranking in school history. As a result, McGill and Acadia both drop a spot to 4th and 5th, respectively.

Alberta, Ryerson, Mount Royal, Concordia, and Carleton - breaking into the top ten for the first time this year - make up the rest of the rankings.

Calgary, St. FX, UQTR, and Saint Mary's also received votes.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

V-Reds Bounce Back In Big Way

The Acadia Axemen scored on their first shot of the game, but the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds responded by rattling off six unanswered goals to pick up a big 6-1 victory in a battle between the AUS' top two squads. UNB is now 17-2-3 on the season and push their lead over the Axemen to 8 points with 8 games remaining.

After the Varsity Reds generated a few good scoring chances in the game's opening minutes, it was Acadia's Boston Leier who would open the scoring at 2:45 after an end to end rush that saw him split three defenders and beat goaltender Etienne Marcoux with a backhanded shot high on the glove side. Unfortunately for Acadia, that was about as good as things would get on this night. Just 89 seconds later Mike Thomas (Critchlow, Simpson) swatted the puck out of the air after Mark Simpson's shot hit high off the glass behind the net and bounced back out front to tie the game. UNB would finally grab their first lead of the weekend at 11:42 when Randy Gazzola (Simpson, Maillet) snapped a wrist shot from the high slot that eluded traffic in front and beat Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves. The 2-1 advantage would hold up until the end of the period despite UNB having a number of high quality chances to extend the lead and out-shooting Acadia 16-4.

The Varsity Reds took control of the game during a 1:47 stretch in the early part of the 2nd period. At 5:49 Axemen defenceman Matthew Pufahl was sent off for holding and just 49 seconds later Rob Mignardi (Murray, Clapperton) picked up a rebound in front and put it between Steeve's legs for a 3-1 lead. Then at 7:21 UNB went back to the power play and this time it only took 15 seconds to convert as Jordan Murray (Braes, Clapperton) skated the puck from the blue line down to the left face-off circle before beating Steeve's five-hole with a wrist shot. The goal gave UNB a 4-1 lead and spelled the end of the night for Steeve's as he was replaced with Devin Williams. The three goal advantage would stand for the remainder of the period as the V-Reds out-shot Acadia 9-7 in the middle stanza.

After having to kill off two penalties early in the 3rd period, UNB received three consecutive power plays. The third one was the charm as Jordan Murray (Mailet, Thomas) scored his second power play goal of the night at 13:56 with a backhander from the lip of the crease. Matt Boudens (Willick, McIvor) put the finishing touches on this one at 18:46 when he redirected a point shot from just outside the crease. Shots in the period were 11-8 in favour of Acadia.

- UNB was without Cameron Brace and Stephen Anderson. Peter Trainor and Oliver Cooper were also out.

- Etienne Marcoux improves to 10-1-1 on the season. He ranks 1st in the AUS in wins, 1st in GAA (1.68) and 4th in save percentage (0.907).

- The V-Reds were 3 for 8 on the power play while Acadia was 0 for 7. UNB is 7 for 19 with the man advantage in their last two games against the Axemen.

- Christopher Clapperton (2 assists) was named the player of the game. Murray (2 PPG, 1 assist) was the 3rd star.

- Acadia won 40 out of the 74 face-offs in the game.

- Attendance was 2015.

- With his three point night, Jordan Murray now has 124 career points (Regular Season + Playoffs + Nationals). This ties Luke Gallant and Mike Cavanagh for the most by a defenceman in school history.

- Philippe Maillet now has 169 career points, pulling him into a tie for 7th on the career scoring list.

- While UNB has had their hands full with Acadia in the first half in recent years, they are 18-1-0 in post-Christmas games against the Axemen since the 2008/09 season.

- Having said that, this was only UNB's 5th win in their last 14 trips to Wolfville. They are 5-6-3 during that span.

- The 6 goals scored tonight were the V-Reds most in Wolfville since a 7-3 win on February 9th, 2008.

- In other action around the conference tonight, Moncton blew a two goal lead in the 3rd period before recovering for a 6-5 overtime win over St. FX in Antigonish. In Halifax, Saint Mary's pulled out a 3-2 overtime win over UPEI. The Huskies tied the game with only 11 seconds remaining and then won it 58 seconds into overtime.

- Next weekend the Varsity Reds return home to face the same two teams they just played. On Friday night Saint Mary's is in town and on Saturday night it is Acadia's turn. Game time is scheduled for 7PM.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Huskies Claim OT Victory

Newly acquired Aaron Berisha scored the overtime winner moments after an unsuccessful power play as the Saint Mary's came up with a 4-3 victory over the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds tonight in Halifax. UNB falls to 16-2-3 on the season, 6 points ahead of the 2nd place Acadia Axemen.

- The V-Reds never led in this one as they fell behind 2-0 in the 1st period before Christopher Caissy (Brace) pulled UNB back within a goal at 17:44 of the opening period. An early 2nd period goal by Anthony Repaci pushed the lead back to two goals, only to be answered once again by Caissy (Halley, Braes), his second of the night coming on the power play at 18:29. Matt Boudens (Beauvillier) tied the game 3-3 at 13:15 of the 3rd period.

- Shots in the game were 39-22 for UNB with period totals of 9-7. 13-3, 17-6, and 0-6.

- Alex Dubeau suffered the loss in goal.

- Stephen Anderson, Cameron Critchlow, Peter Trainor, and Oliver Cooper were all scratches tonight.

- UNB will look to salvage a win on their weekend road trip when they travel to Wolfville for a crucial contest against the Acadia Axemen. Game time is 7PM.