Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shorthanded V-Reds Top X-Men

Despite playing with a short bench for the 2nd consecutive night the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds improved to 3-0-0 on the season after defeating the St. FX X-Men 5-2 tonight at the AUC.

- The V-Reds got off to a slow start, surrendering the first four shots of the game, but they made their first shot count as Matt Boudens (Gazzola, Willick) continued his strong start to the season by deflecting a Randy Gazzola shot from the point past X-Men goalie Drew Owsley. UNB carried the play the rest of the period, out-shooting St. FX 17-9, but were unable to extend their lead.

- UNB continued to pour it on in the middle frame and were finally rewarded at 12:33 when former X-Men defenceman R.D. Chisholm (Critchlow, Boudens) sent what looked to be an innocent looking shot on to the net from the blue-line, but it managed to get through a number of bodies in front and found the back of the net. Peter Trainor (Gazzola, Petgrave) extended the lead to three at 15:20 when he ripped a wrist shot from the left circle that sneaked under Owsley's arm, notching his first as a V-Red. UNB looked to be in control, but they got into penalty trouble late in the period and the X-Men took full advantage, scoring power-play goals at 16:33 and 17:31 to get right back into it. That would be all of the scoring in the period as UNB held a 16-6 advantage in shots.

- Francis Beauvillier (Murray, Boudens) was able to give the V-Reds some breathing room just 3:07 into the 3rd period with his first career CIS goal. He was parked at the top of the crease when he received a pass from behind the net and fired it between Owsley's legs before the X-Men goalie could react. Taylor MacDougall (Boudens) sealed the game with an empty net marker at 18:56. Shots favoured UNB 9-1 in the period and 42-16 in the game.

- UNB was playing two men short on the night as Tyler Carroll, Alex Wall, Rob Mignardi, and Adrian Robertson were all out of the line-up.

- David Shantz once again got the start in goal for UNB.

- It was another physical game as there were a number of big hits and after the whistle scrums. X-Men Zackary MacQueen received a 5 minute major penalty for charging and game misconduct late in the 1st period for a hit on Philippe Mailliet. Chris Caissy was also slow to get up after taking a hit in the 3rd period, although he was able to stay in the game.

- There were 91 minutes of penalties handed out in the game, including three 10-minute misconducts and the aforementioned game misconduct.

- Owsley, Gazzola, and Chisholm were named the game's three stars.

- UNB won 44 out of 82 face-offs with Dylan Willick (13 out of 20) and Cam Critchlow (11 out of 18) leading the way.

- Attendance was 2049.

- After the game frustrated St. FX coach Brad Peddle once again made a fool out of himself at the AUC by refusing to shake hands with the UNB coaching staff and then attempted to follow them down the tunnel leading to UNB's dressing room. He was eventually restrained. I don't think he is a big fan of the V-Reds.

- Maybe some of his frustration is attributed to the fact that UNB has now won 8 straight home games against his X-Men, dating back to game 2 of that epic AUS Final in 2011. Or that the X-Men are now 0-3-0 on the season.

- In other AUS action tonight Moncton rallied past Dalhousie 4-2 at home, UPEI picked up their first win of the year with a 2-1 overtime win in Halifax over Saint Mary's, and Acadia survived an embarrassing home loss by defeating St. Thomas 7-6 in overtime in a wild game that they led 5-1 after the first period and 6-4 with just over two minutes remaining.

- The Varsity Reds are back on the ice on Wednesday when they welcome the St. Thomas Tommies to the AUC for the first installment of the season of the Battle of the Hill. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rookies Lead V-Reds In Chippy Affair

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds received 4 goals from freshmen en route to a 6-3 victory over the visiting Dalhousie Tigers tonight at the Aitken Centre in a game that featured plenty of physical play and extra-curricular activity after the whistles. The win marks UNB's 26th straight in home openers dating back to 1989. 

- UNB took two different leads in the first period only to see Dalhousie answer each time. Cameron Brace (at 4:39 from Braes, Beauvillier) and Matt Boudens (at 9:39 assisted by Gazzola) scored for the V-Reds while Pierre Vandall (at 5:05) and Mike Evelyn (15:34) responded for the Tigers. Shots in the period favoured UNB 16-6.

- The V-Reds blew the game open in the 2nd period, outshooting the Tigers 16-4 and outscoring them 4-0. Dylan Willick (Murray, Halley) at 3:37, Boudens (Petgrave) with his 2nd of the game at 4:23, Randy Gazzola (Murray, Trainor) on the power play at 5:18, and Cameron Critchlow (Braes, Brace) at 8:54 were all able to beat Wendall Vye to give UNB a 6-2 lead after 40 minutes. The period also featured 13 penalties totaling 42 minutes as tempers seemed to flare up after every whistle.

- UNB held a 10-4 adavantage in shots in the 3rd period, but it was Dalhousie who would get the only goal courtesy of J.P. Harvey at 4:13. Shots in the game where 42-14 for the V-Reds.

- Forwards Tyler Carroll, Rob Mignardi, and defenceman Alex Wall were out of the line-up for UNB. They once again played one man short as only 17 skaters were dressed.

- David Shantz got the nod in goal for the V-Reds.

- UNB was 1 for 3 on the power play. Dalhousie was 0 for 4.

- There were a total of 70 minutes of penalties handed out in the game.

- Critchlow, Boudens, and Murray were the game's three stars.

- The V-Reds had another rough night in the face-off circle, winning only 31 out of 65 draws.

- Despite not joining the team until this week Francis Beauvillier looked good in his debut. His speed and size should be a tough match-up for opposing defenses all season.

- UNB hit the post three times in the first 21 minutes of the game.

- Attendance was 2117.

- UNB has now won 15 straight home games against Dalhousie and 9 straight overall.

- UNB has also won 15 straight regular season games dating back to a loss to St. FX in the first game of the 2nd half last year as well as 9 straight regular season homes games since a 3-2 loss to St. Thomas last November.

- In other AUS action tonight St. Mary's beat St. Thomas 8-2 in Halifax, Moncton defeated St. FX 3-2 at home, and Acadia picked up a 3-1 home win over UPEI.

- The V-Reds are back in action tomorrow night when they host the St. FX X-Men at 7PM.

With information from the RedSea Database

News and Notes: Beauvillier Officially Announced, Critchlow Named Captain

The Varsity Reds made a couple of important announcements today, just before the team hits the ice for their first home game of the season.

- UNB officially announced the addition of former 6th round NHL draft pick Francis Beauvillier. He is expected to be in the line-up tonight against Dalhousie.

- Meanwhile, UNB has named Cameron Critchlow as the team's new team captain. He will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Chris Culligan, Kyle Bailey, and Dustin Friesen in leading the V-Reds to a National Championship. Tyler Carroll, Taylor MacDougall, Adrian Robertson, and Cam Braes will serve as alternate captains.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

UQTR Accuses UNB Of Cheating

Marc-Etienne Hubert is not happy. (NOTE: Original article in French, see English translation here) The head coach of the Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres (UQTR) Patriotes had a few choice things to say about the AUS in general - and the V-Reds in particular - after it became clear recently recruited forward Francis Beauvillier was going to be attending UNB, and not UQTR like Hubert had thought. Hubert believes UNB offers players money and gifts to entice them to come to Fredericton to play for the V-Reds. He states:

I was privileged information, evidence.In some discussions with the players, the message has changed and we understand UNB has bent the rules. This is not the same rules for everybody and it's frustrating. We realize that this is David against Goliath.
When reached for comment Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall did not hold back, saying:
This is a great lack of professionalism on his part. We have the most beautiful arena and large crowds. All profits are returned to the team. This is so that we have the best program and the players are joining us.
Although Hubert singles out UNB he seems suspicious of the AUS in general, seemingly shocked that players from outside of the Maritimes would want to come here to play hockey unless they are being offered extra financial incentives that bend the rules. Hubert says:

When I met with the coaches of the conference of Ontario University Athletics, they were all, especially those in the Toronto area, really outraged by the situation and by the amount of players who, for the same quality of program and education will choose a university in the Maritimes. If these universities follow the rules and do not give money to these players, it will cost them dearly in the Maritimes to go rather than stay at home.
The article even interviews former Varsity Red Antoine Houde-Caron and when asked about any potential wrongdoing Houde-Caron says "personally, I've never seen and I have no evidence to that effect."

Personally, it sounds like a case of sour grapes, and maybe a hint of jealousy, to me. Hubert is probably just upset that an increasing number of French players have made their way to UNB in recent years, including Marc-Antoine Desnoyers, another player who UQTR thought they had recruited only to have him change his mind at the last minute and attend UNB. Also, perhaps these high quality players are deciding to play hockey in the Maritimes because they realize that the AUS is the best and most competitive conference in the CIS, having produced 5 out of the last 8 National Champions as well as a number of players moving on to professional leagues after graduation.

News And Notes: Hennigar, LaCosta, Analytics In Hockey, Previews

Here are a few stories of interest from the last few weeks:

- Sarah Rouse of the Brunswickan catches up with former Varsity Red stars Rob Hennigar and Dan LaCosta to talk about their new roles as members of the team's coaching staff.

- Meanwhile, fellow Brunswickan writer Jamie Tozer discusses the rise of advanced statistics and analytics in hockey, noting that UNB may be the first CIS team to make use of these valuable tools.

- A number of season previews have popped up over the past week or so, including those from Tozer and the AUS.

- Of course, the "bible" of all previews is still written by Bruce Hallihan at the Daily Gleaner (subscription required), who expects the V-Reds to hold off Acadia for 1st place and be in the mix for another National Championship.