Sunday, December 6, 2009

UNB 2 – SMU 1 (OT)

FREDERICTON – The last game of the first half of the AUS men's hockey season went into bonus time before the UNB Varsity Reds won their fifteenth straight victory 2-1 over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies. It is not only a record start for the V-Reds, but their longest winning streak during an AUS (or AUAA) regular season.

This was the first visit by the Huskies to the Aitken University Centre since they won the AUS championship back in March. They had to wait a bit for the game to start, as UNB debuted their newly painted and branded bus at centre ice. The vehicle, which just squeaked through the Zamboni entrance, is owned and operated by Can-Am Charters, the Varsity Reds' travel partner. When the puck did drop, SMU came out flying and set a tone for the night, as they did a good job clogging up then netural zone, blocking the lanes, and counterattacking the V-Reds. The game was originally supposed to be held Hallowe'en night and was postponed due to H1N1 concerns with SMU, and it became a bit of a horror story on the first Huskies power play at 5:37 when Colby Pridham's (Alberton, PE) wrist shot from the top of the circle appeared to fool Travis Fullerton (Riverivew, NB) as it beat him under the arm for the goal. UNB had a difficult time getting uncorked for most of the period, and worse, at 18:23 Lachlan MacIntosh (Perth-Andover, NB) was called for checking for behind and tossed from the game. With five seconds to go in the period Hunter Tremblay nearly won a race for a loose puck but rookie Huskies netminder Neil Conway (Concord, ON) beat him with a desperate but effective poke check. SMU outshot UNB 8-5 in the first 20 minutes.

The second period wasn't an easy one for the UNB fans, as Saint Mary's kept the game close like it was a playoff game. Tight checking led to only nine shots for each team in the period, but no scoring.

With MacIntosh gone, Dion Campbell (Melville, SK) took his place on the Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) line, and he appeared to click well with his new linemates. Just 60 seconds into the third period, Campbell outskated his SMU opponent to a loose puck at the UNB blue line, raced down the right side of the ice and then passed over to a rushing Jeff Lee (Calgary, AB) who snapped the puck into the open left side of the net. This was Lee's first goal as a Varsity Red, in only his fourth game on the ice with the team. What could have been a turning point in the game came at 13:33 of the third, when SMU's Cam Fergus (Brantford, ON) received a double-minor for spearing Luke Gallant (Bedford, NS) at the UNB crease. The Huskies did a good job on the penalty kill, limiting the V-Reds to only a couple of scoring chances. The final minutes of regulation time saw the Huskies just hanging on as the V-Reds pressed for the game winner. UNB outshot SMU 12-8 in the third period.

The four-on-four overtime period didn't last long as 54 second into extra time Hunter Tremblay feathered a pass to rookie Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) who one-timed the puck across the slot and just inside the far post for the winning goal. The final shots in the game were even at 27 apiece. SMU was 1-for-3 on the power play while UNB was 0-for-3. It is UNB's fourth win in overtime this season. The Varsity Reds will now break for the exam period and their next game will on December 29 when they host the University of Toronto Blues in the annual UNB Pete Kelly Cup tournament.


Bill Hunt said...

I checked Drummie's data base...83-84 team apparently won 15 straight (including a pair of forfeits against Saint Mary's). Have a look, but my story reflects it ties the mark of 15 straight...

Eric said...

I don't know if we should accept the 83/84 record as they did lose those games (they were not forefeit until the end of the season). Who's to say that the outcome would have been different if 'that' player had not played.

Interesting to note that SMU had UNB's number that year, but ended up 4th (last place after the protest).

Eric said...

You could also say the streak is 18 games going back to last year's nationals.

Also, UNB's magic number versus UdeM is 1.5 and versus DAL is 4.
- a win (UNB at 32) combined with a UdeM loss (6) will leave a margin of 26 with 26pts available for UdeM.
- 2 wins (UNB at 34)combined with two DAL losses (9) will leave a margin of 25 with 24pts available.

It is quite possible that UNB will clinch a playoff spot in the first weekend back after Christmas

David Kilfoil said...

Well to me those SMU forfeits are "asterisks". I see where Bill is coming from, if you are just counting W's. I'm not going to change my original game capsule, but I don't see a problem with the Gleaner having a different spin to the longest winning streak record (which is different from the indisputable record start for this team, as the Red Devils lost the first game of the season in 83-84, before the first SMU forfeit to start what became a 15 game winning streak after the fact ...)

Hey it gives UNB another reason to now go out and win game number 16!

Bill Hunt said...

I went with ties the record of 15 wins by the 83-84 team, sets a new record for consecutive wins from the start of the season, breaking the mark of the 97-98 team.
I think the way I worded it was they joined the 83-84 team in the record books...which they did if you accept the records that are kept on the books.

Anonymous said...

Please, would you guys get a life.