Friday, February 6, 2009

UNB 4 - SMU 3 OT

February 6, 2009
UNB 4 – SMU 3

A game that started out eerily like their meeting a week ago in Halifax had a different and happier ending, as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds defeated the Saint Mary's Huskies 4-3 in overtime before a sell-out crowd of 3689 at the Aitken University Centre in Fredericton. It was District 18 Elementary School Night, with over 2000 students, teachers and staff at this battle between the first and second place teams in the AUS.

Seven seconds after killing off a penalty the Huskies scored on their first shot of the game as Colby Pridham (Alberton, PE) surprised UNB's Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) with a laser shot that beat him glove side at 4:54 on SMU's first shot of the game. A week ago it was just six seconds after successfully killing off the games first penalty, when SMU's Colin Power (Mount Pearl, NL) took a pass in the neutral zone from Pridham and let loose a wrist shot on the fly from the top of the left circle that ended up in the upper corner of the net past UNB netminder Derek Yeomans (St. Albert, AB) at 4:45. Like a playoff game this match was closely played, and closely called, with few shots on net in the first period. UNB tied the game shorthanded at 14:39 when Kevin Henderson (Toronto, ON) and defenceman Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) created an odd man rush and Harty finished with a beautiful deke for the goal. Shots were only 6 apiece in the first period.

In the second period both teams exchanged power play opportunities but couldn't cash in. Thirteen minutes in Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) had his heavy shot on the SMU net rim around the boards into the neutral zone. The puck then came right to SMU's Garret Peters (Providence, RI) as he hopped off the Huskies bench in the offensive zone all alone behind the UNB defence. Fullerton made the initial save but Peters banged in his own rebound for the go ahead goal. UNB tied the game again at 14:26 on a flukey goal when Luke Lynes (Rochester Hills, MI) fired a puck that handcuffed SMU's Brandon Verge (Fall River, NS). Verge couldn't get control of the puck and ended up bobbling it off the post and into his own net. However a minute later the Huskies had their fifth power play opportunity, and this time the AUS's best power play put on a clinic as Marc Rancourt (Gloucester, ON) patiently waited until he could make the perfect pass across the ice to Cody Thorton (Halifax, NS) at the back door who one-timed a perfect shot over the shoulder of Fullerton and under the crossbar. This was Thorton's 20th goal of the season, 15 of which have come on the power play. That was the all the scoring in the period that saw SMU outshoot UNB 16-9.

The third period saw the Varsity Reds press hard for the tying goal as the Huskies bent but didn't break. Finally at 14:50 John Scott Dickson (Barrie, ON) broke down the left side on a 2-on-1 and fired a heavy shot that Verge kicked out, right to Bailey who hammered the puck into the gaping net. Late in the period, SMU had their best scoring chances as they put a flurry of shots on Fullerton as time expired. Shots in the third period favoured UNB 16-7.

UNB was carrying the play throughout the overtime, and then Harty skated across the blue line and ripped a shot that Andrew Hotham (Barrie, ON) dove to block, but the puck changed direction off his skate and beat Verge under the crossbar at 2:33, sending the huge and nervous crowd home happy. Shots were 2-0 in the overtime for UNB, who outshot SMU 33-29 in the game. UNB was 0 for 5 on the power play in the game, and SMU was 1 for 5. The UNB player of the game was Kyle Bailey.

(Original post edited by on Feb 7 at 06:59 am)


Anonymous said...

A big win tonight for the team. The whole team - especially Fullerton. This might just solidify his position in the line-up. Good choice, Gardiner. And how about Harty - hometown hero or what? Don't get me wrong - Bailey played a great game (as always) but Harty's 2 goals, including the OT winner and a beautiful shorthanded effort should have put him on the podium. A little surprised to see Aldred starting on D instead of Hepditch - however Alex played well and landed a couple of big hits.
So - who gets the start against X?

Anonymous said...

I'll go out on a limb and say that Fullerton gets the start vs X.

I'm only basing that on the number of games remaining, MacDougall generally likes giving his "go to" goalie the bulk of the games down the stretch. But I'm not sure how much the past will come into play here since we haven't quite had a season like this one before.

If he goes back to Yeomans, what then? Yeomans has a big game and we still have the big question mark next week, and possibly into the playoffs?

Maybe that's the plan - maybe these guys need to be pushed hard in order to play to their abilities?

Anonymous said...

"Heppy" has an undisclosed day-to-day injury, and Gardiner will only say it is a "game time" decision whether he will play.

The UNB player of the game is required to be chosen no later than the 15 minute mark of the third -- so Bailey was already picked before the Harty heroics.

Anonymous said...

One would think that Fullerton is now the go-to guy for the remainder of the regular season and into the playoffs, however, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Yeomans get the call tonight.

UNB has almost but clinched 1st place in the standings and MacDougall may throw Yeomans a bone here or there just to keep him fresh in the chance that he needs to be called upon during the playoffs.

Great win last night for UNB. You just know the fact that they had lost the first 3 games to SMU was in their heads after being down a goal to start the 3rd period... they deserve a ton a credit for battling back and getting the win... way to go guys!