Monday, December 15, 2014

CIS News And Notes: World Juniors, University Games, UPEI

Some news from around the CIS as we await the beginning of the 2nd half of the season:

- Team Canada World Junior hopefuls played a pair of games against the CIS Toronto Selects - made up of players from the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, York Lions, and Ryerson Rams - over the weekend and came away with a pair of convincing results, posting 10-3 and 6-0 wins. These games have become an annual occurrence in recent years, with the CIS usually enjoying much better success. Alberta defeated Team Canada 4-1 in 2012 and a team made up of players from Saskatchewan and Regina won 4-2 in 2009. The last time the AUS had players participate was in 2002 when they lost by 5-2 and 3-2 scores.

- The Canada West conference will represent Canada at the upcoming Winter Universiade Games to be held from February 3rd to 14th in Granada, Spain. The team will be coached by Saskatchewan Huskies bench boss Dave Adolph and will feature players from all 8 of the conference's teams. Not surprisingly, Alberta leads the way with 6 members followed by Calgary (5), Saskatchewan (4), Mount Royal (3), Manitoba (2), and Regina, Lethrbidge, and British Columbia (1 each). Canada West teams have medaled in each of their previous three appearances representing Canada at the games, winning a bronze in 1997 and 2003 and a silver in 2009. Of course, a team made up of AUS players took home a gold medal at last year's event in Trentino, Italy.

- The UPEI Panthers have announced the addition of former Barrie Colt (OHL) forward Mitchell Theoret to their team for the 2nd half of the season.

With most teams having unused roster spots - including two for UNB - it will be interesting to see what transpires over the next couple of weeks before the season restarts as everyone gears up for the stretch run.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

AUS Wraps Up 1st Half

The AUS finished up the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule tonight with a pair of games. In Charlottetown UPEI easily handled St. Thomas 5-1 and St. FX traveled to Halifax and came away with a 4-2 win over Dalhousie. So heading into the break standings look like this:

1) UNB: 12-2-2 = 26 points
2) Saint Mary's: 12-3-1 = 25 points
3) Acadia: 12-3-1 = 25 points
4) St. FX: 10-5-1 = 21 points
5) UPEI: 7-7-2 = 16 points
6) Moncton: 6-8-2 = 14 points
7) Dalhousie: 4-11-1 = 9 points
8) St. Thomas:1-12-3 = 5 points

Looking ahead, it appears that UNB has a little bit of an easier schedule than Saint Mary's and Acadia moving forward. The Varsity Reds play every team twice except for 2nd place Saint Mary's and 4th place St. FX, who they both play once and at home. They have 7 out of their final 12 games at the AUC.

On the other hand, the Huskies play 7 out of their first 8 games of the 2nd half on the road and play every team twice except for 1st place UNB and 6th place Moncton. The Axemen , like UNB, also play 7 out of their 12 2nd half games at home, but have already played 5th place UPEI and 8th place St. Thomas 3 times.

Looking at it another way, over each team's final 12 games the Varsity Reds opponents have a combined record of 82-90-20, good for a 0.479 winning percentage. Meanwhile, the Huskies face teams with a combined 86-86-20 record (0.500 winning percentage) and the Axemen face teams with a combined 96-77-19 record (0.549 winning percentage).

Friday, November 28, 2014

UNB Heads To Break On High Note

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds concluded the first half of their season with a convincing 9-2 victory over the visiting Moncton Aigles Bleus tonight at the AUC. The victory improves the V-Reds record to 12-2-2 on the season and moves them into sole possession of first place in the conference.

- For the 2nd time in 3 days UNB was able to put together a 5 goal period and tonight it occurred in the 1st period as the V-Reds had perhaps their most dominant period of the season. Philippe Maillet got things started with yet another highlight-reel assist when he gathered the puck on the side-boards to the right of the goal, curled out to the blue line, stickhandled around a couple of defenders through the slot on his way to net, and found Tyler Carroll all alone at the side of the net for an easy tap-in. Colin Suellentrop received the secondary assist on the goal that came just 1:45 into the game. Maillet was at it again just 39 seconds later when he took a pass from Adrian Robertson and circled behind the Moncton goal before finding Philippe Halley all alone in the slot for a quick one-timer goal. The V-Reds continued to dominate play but weren't able to find the score-sheet again until 11:33, which opened the flood gates. Cam Braes broke in on a 2-on-1 and was able to out-wait the sliding Moncton defender before passing across the slot to Cam Brace, who one-timed the puck past Aigles Bleu goalie Brabdon Thibeau. Just 1:22 later a scrambly play at the Moncton blue-line led to a 3-on-2 for UNB in the slot. A few quick, short passes later and Taylor MacDougall (Mignardi, Beauvillier) was able to fire it home. Dylan Willick (Trainor, Critchlow) made it 5-0 57 seconds later with a shot along the ice from the slot, one that Thibeau probably wishes he had back. The shots in the period were 17-4 for UNB.

- Moncton finally got on the board with a power play goal at 9:21 only to have Willick (Trainor, Critchlow) restore the 5 goal lead at 16:26 with his 2nd of the game after Trainor was somehow able to make a fantastic pass to Willick in front while being hauled down behind the Moncton net. The Aigles Bleus got that one back just 20 seconds later, but that was the only other goal of a period in which UNB held a 16-7 shot advantage.

- The V-Reds were able to add 3 more goals in the final period. Brace (Carroll, Murray) got his 2nd of the game with a power play goal at 5:17 on a play that confirmed it was just "one of those games" for Moncton. Brace took the puck at the bottom of the face-off circle to Thibeau's right and took a shot that deflected off of an Aigles Bleus defenders stick and fluttered up and over Thibeau and into the net. UNB made it 8-2 on a weird play at 15:31 when Jordan Murray (Gazzola, Trainor) sped toward the net and took a sharp angle shot that hit off the post, appeared to cross the goal line, and popped out of the opposite side of the net. The goal light went on but play continued as the nearest referee made no signal. After play stopped moments later the refs got together and quickly signaled that Murray had indeed scored. Taylor MacDougall (Beauvillier, Suellentrop) rounded out the scoring with his 2nd of the night with a power play goal at 18:01. The V-Reds almost had yet another goal but Cam Critchlow tipped shot was ruled to have been deflected in with a high-stick. Shots in the period were 8-6 for UNB in the game and 41-17 in the game.

- Alex Wall, R.D. Chisholm, and Chris Caissy all remained out of the line-up for UNB. Moncton, for their part, were missing their starting goaltender as well as a number of other significant players.

- UNB was 2 for 4 on the power play. Moncton was 1 for 3.

- Maillet, Willick, and Robertson were the game's three stars.

- The V-Reds went 28 and 27 on face-offs.

- David Shantz picked up his 11th win of the season in net. He has started all but 1 of UNB's first 16 games thus far.

- Attendance was 2979 on Home Depot/South side elementary school night.

- Matt Petgrave received a 10 minute misconduct and then a game misconduct at 8:14 of the 2nd period after arguing with a referee when a slash on his wrist went uncalled. This meant UNB had to play the remainder of the game with only 4 defencemen, something they have unfortunately become quite accustomed over the last week.

- Every forward with the exception of Matt Boudens had at least one point by the end of the 1st period. Boudens and Petgrave were the only two players not to record a point in the game.

- Gazzola was +5 on the night. Murray was +4.

- UNB has now outscored Moncton 16-4 in their two meetings this year.

- The V-Reds have won 10 straight against the Aigles Bleus.

- After a relatively slow start to his season by his standards (3 goals, 1 assist in 7 games), Philippe Maillet now has points in 9 consecutive games (5 goals, 9 assists). Maillet and Halley (points in 7 out of the last 8 games) have definitely benefited from the return of Tyler Carroll (points in 8 out of the 10 games he has played). 

- Remarkably, the first icing of the game didn't occur until there were just under 6 minutes left in the 2nd period. There were only a handful in the entire game.

- Due to the 41 shots UNB fired on the Moncton net tonight, the Papa John's online discount on Tuesday morning will be 41% as part of their 'Shots and Saves' promotion. Since there are no more games for the year, the Tuesday morning discount during December will be 44%, which is the jersey number of Colin Suellentrop, the highest number worn on the team.

- In the only other game tonight the Saint Mary's Huskies came back to defeat the Acadia Axemen 2-1 in overtime in Halifax. Tomorrow night UPEI hosts St. Thomas and Dalhousie welcomes St. FX to close out the pre-Christmas break schedule.

- The Varsity Reds won't be back on the ice until Saturday, January 3rd and Sunday, January 5th when they host the OUA's Windsor Lancers in the Peterbilt Pete Kelly Cup. Game times are 7PM for Saturday and 2PM for Sunday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

UNB Prevails In Battle Of The Hill

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds used a 5 goal 2nd period to top the St. Thomas Tommies 6-4 tonight at the Grant*Harvey Centre. The V-Reds are now 11-2-2 on the season and tied for 1st place in the AUS with the 12-3-0 Acadia Axemen.

- The Varsity Reds struck early in the 1st period thanks to some nice passing between the line of Cameron Critchlow, Peter Trainor, and Dylan Willick. Critchlow fed the puck to Trainor behind the net who quickly found Willick all alone in the slot for a quick one-timer past Tommies goalie Tyson Teichmann just 2:35 in to the game. UNB had the first 6 shots of the contest and were well in control until the Tommies received a power play just past the mid-point of the period. St. Thomas didn't score but used the man advantage to take back some momentum. The score would remain 1-0 after 20 minutes with UNB holding a slight 10-9 advantage in shots.

- The 2nd period proved to be the difference maker on this night as UNB scored 5 goals to the Tommies 2 goals. The V-Reds extended the lead to 2-0 at 6:31 after Matt Petgrave took a pass from Jordan Murray and fired an off-balance wrist shot from the blue-line that Philippe Maillet, who was skating through the slot, was somehow able to get his stick on for a redirection into the top corner. After St. Tomas got back within a goal thanks to a power play marker at 9:56, the V-Reds scored twice in a 17 second span. First, Francis Beavillier (Willick, Critchlow) took a pass in the neutral zone, streaked down the right side, beat a defender, and cut in front of the net to jam the puck in at 12:26. Then, at 12:43, Beauvillier took a hard hit into the half boards, but was able to find Rob Mignardi all alone in front of the net. Mignardi made a couple nice dekes to slide the puck in. Matt Petgrave picked up the secondary assist on the goal. The Tommies made it 4-2 at 16:04, but once again UNB struck for two goals in quick succession. Taylor MacDougall (Gazzola, Mignardi) used Dylan Willick as a decoy on a 2-on-1 break before firing the puck off the post and in just 25 seconds after the Tommies tally. The Varsity Reds made it 6-2 only 53 seconds later when Maillet undressed a Tommies defenceman with some nifty stickhandling before finding Philippe Halley for the easy tap-in. Petgrave was credited with his 3rd assist of the period on the goal. Shots in the period were 15-7 for the V-Reds.

- St. Thomas, to their credit, wouldn't go down without a fight. They scored two goals and hit a post within the first 3:07 of the 3rd period. Unfortunately for them, that was as close as they would get. They did out-shoot UNB 9-6 in the game, although the V-Reds held 31-25 advantage in the game.

- The Varsity Reds got two of their injured players back tonight as Jordan Murray and Francis Beauvillier both played. The good times didn't last too long though as Peter Trainor took a puck to the side of his face in the 1st period. He missed the rest of the period but came back to the bench after the first stoppage of play in the 2nd period. Right on cue though, Randy Gazzola took a puck to the mouth less than a minute later and was forced to exit. This caused a bit of a delay as the referees had to clean up a fair amount of blood off the ice. He was also able to return later in the game.

- Defencemen R.D. Chisholm and Alex Wall and forward Chris Caissy all remained out.

- David Shantz picked up his 10th win in net.

- UNB was 0 for 2 on the power play. St. Thomas was 1 for 4.

- Mignardi, Petgrave, and Tommie Colin Martin were named the game's three stars.

- UNB won 38 out of 63 face-offs in the game. Willick was an exceptional 14 and 3 in the dot.

- The attendance was 766, pretty decent considering Fredericton is currently being hammered with its first major snowstorm of the year.

- In other action around the AUS tonight St. FX defeated Saint Mary's 5-4 in Halifax, UPEI picked up a big 3-2 home victory over Moncton, and Acadia rolled to a 5-1 decision at home over Dalhousie.

- The V-Reds wrap up the 1st half of the season on Friday night when they welcome the Moncton Aigles Bleus to the AUC. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

CIS Top Ten (#9): V-Reds Ranked 3rd

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds remained the 3rd ranked team in the country according to the latest CIS men's hockey rankings released earlier today.

The V-Reds picked up a pair of quality wins on the weekend - 5-2 over the #2 ranked Saint Mary's Huskies and 3-2 against St. FX - but it wasn't enough to overtake Alberta or Saint Mary's, who remained #1 and #2, respectively.

Acadia was the only other AUS team ranked, coming in at #5 this week. The Axemen and Huskies close out the first half of the season with a crucial game against one another on Friday night.

CIS MEN’S HOCKEY TOP 10 (#9)

Voting is based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, with a 1st place vote worth 10 points. The CIS Men’s Ice Hockey Top Ten Committee is made up of media members from across Canada.

(regular season record) / votes (first-place votes) / (previous ranking)
1. Alberta (13-3-0) / 145 points (9) / (1)
2. Saint Mary’s (11-2-1) / 133 (3) / (2)
3. UNB (10-2-2) / 122 / (3)
4. Calgary (12-4-0) / 109 (3) / (7) *
5. Acadia (11-3-0) / 109 / (4)
6. Windsor (13-1-0) / 96 (1) / (5)
7. UQTR (11-2-1) / 59 / (6)
8. Carleton (11-3-0) / 36 / (8)
9. McGill (11-3-0) / 33 / (9)
10. Western (10-3-0) / 22 / (NR)

* Calgary is ranked ahead of Acadia based on number of higher-placed votes

Other teams receiving votes: Mount Royal (10), Manitoba (6).