Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pirates Officially Announce Game Against UNB

Although it had been speculated, the AHL's Portland Pirates officially announced the addition of an exhibition game against the Varsity Reds to their schedule in a press release yesterday. The game is slated to be played on Thursday, October 1st at the OA Sports Center in Saco, Maine. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM and admission is free.

This is the 3rd time in 4 years, and 4th time overall, the V-Reds and Pirates will play. While UNB has more than held their own against Portland in their previous match-ups, they have never emerged victorious, losing 4-2 in 2009, 2-1 in a shootout in 2012, and 4-0 in 2013.

The Pirates are entering their first season as the top affiliate of the NHL's Florida Panthers.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

2015-2016 Ticket Info

The Varsity Reds have announced ticket information for the upcoming 2015-2016 athletics season and it is largely the same as last year.

- Seating for hockey events remains reserved, except for sections 9, 10, and 11, which is general admission only. This is a slight change from recent years in which all seats were reserved.

- The two elementary school nights will once again be reserved seating for everyone, not general seating.

- The price for a season pass, which includes all Varsity Reds exhibition/tournament/regular season home events (in all sports), the Mark Jeffrey Memorial hockey game, and AUS playoff games is $225 for an adult, $200 for a senior, $75 for a non-UNB student with a valid ID, and $50 for a K-5 hockey reserved seat.

- The price of an individual hockey ticket is $12 for an adult, $10 for a senior, $4 for non-UNB students 13+ with valid ID, and FREE for UNB students and youth 12 and under. Please note that free tickets must still be picked up at the box office prior to entrance into the event.

- Individual playoff hockey tickets will be $15 and $5.

- 2014-2015 season ticket holders must renew and select their reserved seats between August 31st and September 4th only at the AUC box office between 11AM and 5PM.

- Season tickets CANNOT be purchased online.

- Public sale of season passes will go on sale beginning September 8th at the AUC box office between 11AM and 4PM.

- First time season ticket purchasers are eligible for a $25 discount if you are also a CAA member. Show your CAA membership when purchasing. This offer is ONLY available to new season ticket purchasers and does not apply to renewals.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Varsity Reds Add Five Recruits

UPDATE: The UNB press release announcing the new recruits can be found here.

The Daily Gleaner's Bill Hunt has reported (subscription needed) that the Varsity Reds have added five recruits for the upcoming 2015-2016 season. The newcomers include goaltenders Etienne Marcoux and Alex Dubeau, forwards Stephen Anderson and Mike Thomas, and defenceman Marcus McIvor.

- As we previously speculated, Marcoux and Dubeau will replace David Shantz and Chris Carrozzi in the V-Reds crease in what head coach Gardiner MacDougall calls "a new era in UNB goaltending."

- Hunt also confirmed Mike Thomas will indeed be re-joining the team after spending a year away to pursue a firefighting career. He will red-shirt the first half of the year before joining the V-Reds after Christmas.

- The two names not previously mentioned are forward Stephen Anderson and defenceman Marcus McIvor.

Anderson is a 5'11, 194 native of Morell, PEI who played 3 seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs before splitting last year with Val d'Or, where he was an alternate captain, and Cape Breton. After missing the last half of the 2013-2014 season due to a career-threatening concussion Anderson bounced back with his best statistical season last year, accumulating a total of 26 goals and 22 assists in 60 games. Overall, he tallied 55 goals and 61 assists in 187 career QMJHL games. MacDougall describes Anderson as someone with "a lot of upside" who has "got lots of speed" and "can play multiple positions."

The 6'2", 225 pound McIvor will be "an outstanding addition" according to MacDougall. The native of Whitby, Ontario played his entire 5 year major junior career with the Battalion franchise - the first three seasons spent in Brampton and the final two in their new home of North Bay. Last season was his best as he was named team captain and contributed 5 goals and 33 assists in 68 games. He was also named the top defensive player, most underrated, and top penalty killer in the OHL's Eastern Conference Coaches Poll last year. He was also named the 2nd best shot blocker.

A 2014 scouting report of McIvor says:
McIvor is one of the top stay at home defenseman in the league and possesses all the qualities necessary to continue his defensive prowess at the NHL level. At 6'1, 235lbs, he's able to assert himself in front of the net, in the corners, and his solid skating ability allows him to be a factor on the open ice too. For as good as he is defensively, he's not terrible with the puck and makes smart decisions to avoid turnovers in his own end and was even quarterbacking the Battalion powerplay this year.

- Hunt also confirms that defenceman Adrian Roberston has moved on after graduating in three years. However, forwards Taylor MacDougall and Tyler Carroll and defenceman Alex Wall will be returning for their 5th year.

- Defenceman R.D. Chisholm, who played his 5th and final season last year, will serve as an assistant coach this year while finishing his master's degree.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Mike Thomas Returning To UNB

Former Varsity Reds and Saint John Sea Dogs forward - and captain - Mike Thomas was recently back in Saint John to participate in their alumni weekend. While giving an interview he stated that he would be returning to UNB in the fall to continue his education and to once again play hockey. You can view the interview below (he talks about his return at the 4:20 mark):

After playing his entire five year junior career with the Sea Dogs the now 25 year old native of New Maryland played a season of pro hockey in 2011-2012, shuffling between the AHL and ECHL. He was forced to sit out the 2012-2013 season to regain his CIS eligibility before joining the Varsity Reds the following season. In his lone season in the red and black Thomas contributed 6 goals, 2 assists, and 111 penalty minutes in 25 games. Thomas left the Varsity Reds prior to last season to pursue firefighting at Holland College.

The 6'1", 192 pound Thomas should prove to be a welcome (re)addition to a Varsity Reds team that may have been a bit on the smaller side last year. He will add a ton of leadership to what is still a fairly young V-Reds squad as well as add a physical presence to the bottom-6 forward group while also being capable of chipping in on offense. Needless to say, it shouldn't take him very long to regain his status as a fan favourite.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Are Dubeau And Marcoux The Newest V-Reds Goaltenders?

After Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall confirmed last week that 5th year goaltender Chris Carrozzi would not be returning this season it meant UNB would be searching for two new goaltenders for the 3rd consecutive year. However, although nothing has been officially announced yet it is likely the two newest V-Reds goaltenders will be former Moncton Wildcat Alex Dubeau and Etienne Marcoux, who briefly played in the ECHL last year following three seasons with the Blaineville-Boisbriand Armada.

The rumours had surrounded Dubeau, who has spent the last three years with the Wildcats after starting his QMJHL career with Shawinigan  (where he helped the Cataracts win a Memorial Cup in 2012), all summer long so it was not overly surprising when he made his commitment official on Thursday with the following tweet:

The 21 year old Dubeau, a 5'11", 174 pound native of Mascouche, Quebec, completed a strong 5 year junior career this past season. After posting a 2.56 GAA and .904 save percentage in 40 games with the Cataracts in 2011-2012 he strung together three very similar seasons with the Wildcats - a 2.74 GAA and .899 save percentage in 50 games in 2012-2013, a 2.89 GAA and .909 save percentage in 59 games in 2013-2014, and a 2.99 GAA and .900 save percentage in 58 games in 2014-2015.

The potential recruitment of the 6', 167 pound Marcoux, who is also 21 years old and comes from Laval, Quebec, is a little less official and more of a strong rumour at this point. A quick glance at his Twitter profile shows his current status as "Varsity Reds #93 UNB" with his current location listed as Fredericton, NB. He has also been spotted around campus over the past week so it appears that there is a very good probability that he will be suiting up for the V-Reds for the upcoming season.

Marcoux also put together a strong QMJHL career, playing sparingly his first two seasons with the Montreal Juniors before seeing the bulk of the playing time his last three years once moving on to the Armada. His best season came in 2012-2013 when he led the league in GAA (2.14) and save percentage (.913) while being named a 2nd Team All-Star.

This past season Marcoux played 9 games between two different organizations in the ECHL, posting a 3.43 GAA and .901 save percentage in 5 games with Utah and then a 2.90 GAA and .923 save percentage in 4 games with Rapid City. Despite this professional experience Marcoux should be eligible to join the Varsity Reds right away without having to sit out for any amount of time.

After a number of years in which the Varsity Reds have opted to bring in goaltenders in their final season or two of eligibility - with mixed results - it is nice to see them target two younger players who could potentially play for 4-5 seasons each. The last time they entered the season with two young goaltenders was in 2008-2009 when the tandem of Derek Yeomans (2nd year) and Travis Fullerton (1st year) began a very successful three season stretch manning the V-Reds crease.

A potential duo of Dubeau and Marcoux is arguably the strongest the Varsity Reds have had, at least on paper, since 2013 when Dan LaCosta and Fullerton backstopped UNB to a National Championship. Most importantly, after a couple of seasons in which goaltending has perhaps been their biggest weakness, the V-Reds should now be able to match-up with anyone in the AUS - or the country for that matter, between the pipes.