Friday, December 13, 2019

U Sports, Team Canada Split Series

The U Sports all-stars - coached by Gardiner MacDougall - and Team Canada junior prospects played a two game series on Wednesday and Thursday in Oakville, Ontario and each side emerged with a one goal victory.

On Wednesday afternoon it was Team Canada picking up a 4-3 win, despite being out-shot 27-21 by the U Sports team. Mount Royal's Ryley Lindgren opened the scoring 48 seconds into the contest - with Tristan Pomerleau picking up an assist on the goal - but that would be the only lead of the night for U Sports. Kris Bennett tied the game 2-2 with a power play goal 3:16 into the 2nd and Saint Mary's Huskies forward Stephen Johnson, from Bennett and Tyler Boland, equalized the game at 5:53 of the 3rd period. However, Bowen Bryam responded just under a minute later for Team Canada with what would prove to be the game winning goal. Team Canada hopefuls Hunter Jones and Olivier Rodrigue shared the crease for U Sports. After the 60 minute regulation game the two teams played a five minute 4-on-4 overtime period, which saw Team Canada score the only goal, and then held a five round shootout that U Sports won 2-1.

In the rematch on Thursday it was the U Sports all-stars stifling Team Canada for a 2-1 win in which the shots in the game favoured the university stars 22-12. All of the scoring game in the first 11 minutes of the game with Ryerson Rams forward Matthew Santos connecting for a power play goal from Boland and McGill's Nikolas Brouillard at 6:45 and Alberta's Trevor Cox making it 2-0 at 10:34. Alex Newhook of the Boston College Eagles replied for Team Canada at 11:15 to cut the lead in half, but there would be no scoring over the final 48+ minutes. The two teams switched goalies for the game with Canada's Nico Daws and Joel Hofer playing for U Sports. Once again there was a five minute overtime period - 3-on-3 this time - and shootout held afterwards and the U Sports team swept both.

Overall, it was another strong showing for the U Sports all-stars against some of the best junior players in the world. This event continues to be an outstanding showcase for U Sports hockey and shows just how strong university hockey is in this country.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Boland Nabs Monthly Honour

Reds forward Tyler Boland has been named the UNB Reds/Valley Graphics male Athlete of the Month for November.

In eight games the 3rd year forward collected six goals - including a dramatic, last minute game winning goal against Acadia - and seven assists, helping the Reds to a 6-2 record.

Coming off of 27 and 38 point seasons, Boland is well on his way to setting a new career high this year. He currently ranks 3rd in the conference with 10 goals and 16 assists in 17 games. He is also 2nd in the league with a +14 rating.

It's been a good couple of days for the Newfoundland native. In addition to being named the athlete of the month, Boland has also been selected to the U Sports all-star team that will face Hockey Canada's National Junior Team prospects in a pair of games next week in Oakville, Ontario.

MacDougall To Coach All-Stars, Including 5 Reds

Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall will serve as the head coach of the U Sports all-stars when they face Hockey Canada's National Junior Team prospects in a two game series next week in Oakville, Ontario.

Five Reds players will be joining MacDougall with defencemen Tristan Pomerleau and Matt Murphy, and forwards Mark Simpson, Kris Bennett, and Tyler Boland being named to the 22 player roster. This will be Pomerleau and Boland's first appearance at the event.

The Alberta Golden Bears lead the way with six selections while three other AUS players have been invited - Saint Mary's defenceman Nick Welsh and forward Stephen Johnson, and St. FX forward Bryson Cianfrone.

Joining MacDougall on the coaching staff are Brett Gibson (Queen's), Todd Johnson (Regina), and Clarke Singer (Western).

The games are scheduled for 6PM AST on Wednesday, December 11th and 3PM AST Thursday, December 12th.

The U Sports all-stars have gone 5-3-1 in the previous four incarnations of the series, which helps prepare the Canadian team for the IIHF World Junior Championship. This year's tournament will be held in the Czech Republic later this month.

Harvey Named Athlete of the Week

Goaltender Samuel Harvey has been named the UNB Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week after guiding the Reds to an 8-1 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies on Saturday night.

The rookie netminder turned aside 14 out of 15 shots to pick up his 7th win of the season.

After a tough AUS debut in which he allowed six goals, the former Memorial Cup champion has been lights out. He currently ranks 3rd in the league in wins, 2nd in winning percentage (0.777), 1st in goals against average (2.00), and 3rd in save percentage (0.902).

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Reds Handle Huskies

The University of New Brunswick Reds were once again up against a team that was missing numerous key players but, unlike last night, they left no doubt this evening as they earned an 8-1 victory over the Saint Mary's Huskies in Halifax.

The Reds raced out to a 3-1 lead after the opening twenty minutes. Samuel Dove-McFalls (Cooper, McIvor) got the scoring started 2:48 into the game when he skated across the blue line and released what looked to be a harmless wrist shot that eluded Xavier Potvin. Brady Gilmour doubled the lead 11:13 after a Joe Gatenby point shot found its way through traffic and to Gilmour, who was all alone in front. The freshman forward made a deke to get the puck around Potvin. The Huskies took just over a minute to get that one back, however. Jacob Friend found Mitchell Balmas on a 2-on-1 break and the rookie sensation beat Samuel Harvey with a shot short side to cut the lead to 2-1. Matthew Boucher (McIvor, Gilmour) restored the two goal cushion at 16:24 when he was camped out in the crease to Potvin's right and was able to get a stick on McIvor's shot, redirecting it into the net. Shots were 9-7 for UNB in the period.

The 2nd period was the Reds best of the night as they added three more goals and held a 15-3 shot advantage. At 7:56 Tyler Boland (Boucher, Watling), who moments earlier hit the far post, got the puck back in a similar spot in the right face-off circle and beat Potvin short side. Gatenby (Boland) then got his second of the season at 14:27 when he drifted a wrist shot in from the blue line to push the lead to 5-1. Kris Bennett (Watling) got UNB's 6th of the night at 18:05 after he circled out of the corner with the puck, skated untouched through the slot, and beat Potvin with a backhander.

The Reds struck for two more goals in the opening half of the 3rd period with Alexandre Goulet (Rassell, Simpson) and Dove-McFalls (Cooper, Murphy, with his second of the night while on the power play, finding the back of the net against Marc Terriault, who had replaced Potvin in the Huskies net to begin the period. Shots in the period were 7-5 for UNB, who played almost the entire final five minutes shorthanded, including being down two men for 116 seconds.

- Noah Carroll was the lone scratch.

- Shots in the game were 31-15 for UNB.

- The Reds were 1 for 5 on the power play. The Huskies were 0 for 6.

- UNB held a slight 42-39 advantage in the face-off circle. Tyler Boland had the best night, winning 12 out of 19 draws.

- Gilmour, Boucher, and Balmas were the game's three stars.

-  Attendance was 684.

- The Huskies were playing without their top defenceman - and the league's second leading scorer - Nick Welsh and another top-4 defenceman in Dylan DiPerna due to suspensions stemming from Friday night's game against Moncton. They were also without #1 goalie Erick Brassard, point per game forward Dawson Theede, and another top pairing defender in Alex Peters due to injury.

- To make matters worse, the Huskies also lost defenceman Jacob Friend for the game late in the 2nd period after Friend was assessed his second 'contact to the head' penalty and 10 minute misconduct of the contest. This resulted in a game misconduct. Friend racked up a healthy 36 minutes in penalties on the evening.

- Samuel Harvey (14 saves) continued his strong play of late, turning in his 6th straight game allowing two goals or fewer. Since surrendering 6 goals in his first start of the year, Harvey has only given up 12 goals in 8 games.

- UNB has outscored the Huskies 17-4 in two games at the Dauphinee Centre this season.

- In other action around the league on the final night of action before the Christmas break, the Moncton Aigles Bleus scored two goals in the final two minutes to force overtime against Acadia, but Owen MacDonald's overtime goal allowed the Axemen to escape with a 4-3 win on home ice. Meanwhile, in Charlottetown the Dalhousie Tigers held on for an important 3-2 victory over the UPEI Panthers.

- UNB enters the holiday break in 2nd place for the first time in a number of years. The Acadia Axemen (14-4-0) lead the pack while the Reds (13-4-0) are two points behind, albeit with a game in hand. The Saint Mary's Huskies (10-8-0) Moncton Aigls Bleus (8-6-4) are tied for 3rd place, both with 20 points. The St. FX X-Men (7-9-2) are in 5th place while the UPEI Panthers (6-8-3) are only a point behind and, along with UNB, have played one fewer game than everyone else. The Dalhousie Tigers (4-12-2) are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, five points behind the Panthers.

- The next game for UNB will be an exhibition tilt against the OUA's Windsor Lancers in the annual Pete Kelly Cup. It is schedule for 4PM on Sunday, December 29th. 

- While the players now turn their focus to exams, us fans will be following the rumour mill. UNB still has three roster spots open and will no doubt be looking to add reinforcements to bolster their line-up for the second semester.

- The Reds also have another exhibition game available should they choose to use it. They originally had a full complement of six games, but the cancelled pre-season game against Acadia means they now only have five exhibition games on the schedule.