Saturday, February 28, 2009

UNB vs. Acadia - A Look at Recent Playoff History

Before the rivalries with SMU, UdeM, and StFX, UNB had a pretty good thing going against Acadia. Go back to the 1996-97 year, Acadia was the defending National Champions, and UNB and Acadia were the top 2 teams in the Atlantic conference. UNB won that battle 2 games to 0, and the teams would meet again several times over the next decade:

96-97 - UNB wins series 2-0
97-98 - UNB wins series 2-1
97-98 - UNB defeats Acadia to win 1st National Championship
99-00 - UNB wins series 3-1
00-01 - UNB wins series 2-1
04-05 - Acadia wins series 2-0
05-06 - Acadia wins series 3-0

UNB had success early on, but Acadia's had the upper hand in recent years, including winning the AUS Championship on UNB ice as recently as 2005-2006. They haven't met in the playoffs since then, but looking at Acadia's young roster, it's a safe bet they're going to be a strong team for the next few years, so we could be witnessing the beginning of new chapter in this rivalry.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Quick Look at UNB vs Acadia

With game one just around the corner, here’s a few things to consider as you place your bets on the outcome of the series.

UNB won all 4 games this season. Derek Yeomans took 3 of those wins, while Travis Fullerton recorded the lone shutout for UNB. Flip a coin to decide who's starting for UNB. Michael Chiasson started 3 of 4 games for Acadia, however Kristofer Westblom started both games in Round 1 vs. StFX, so Westblom is the safe pick for starting goalies from Acadia.

UNB averaged 36 shots per game while Acadia responded with an average of 21.25 shots per game. UNB outscored Acadia 18-6, and also outscored Acadia in 5-on-5 situations by a margin of 12-3. However, this could be a relatively low scoring playoff series, as UNB and Acadia were #1 and #2 respectively in goals allowed in the AUS.

Special teams might be the difference in this series. In the 4 games they played head-to-head, UNB went 6 for 26 on the power play (23%) and killed 19 of 22 Acadia power play opportunities (86.4%). Acadia went 3 for 22 on the power play (13.6%) and killed 20 of 26 short-handed situations (76.9%). However, for the season Acadia was ranked #1 in penalty-killing % at 83.9% while UNB was 6th at 79.4%. UNB ranked 2nd on the power play at 22.6%, Acadia was 4th at 21.8%. Also, Acadia took the lowest number of penalty minutes per game, while UNB was 2nd in that category, but UNB actually took the fewest penalties while Acadia took the 3rd fewest. Either way, these are the two most disciplined teams in the playoffs.

It’s also worth noting that while home ice didn’t help Acadia in the 2 games during the regular season, Acadia’s record at home was 9-5. Their away record was 6-8. By most accounts Acadia’s larger, Olympic ice-surface worked in favor of UNB’s aggressive, skating game more than it benefited the home team.

Top point producers to keep an eye on from Acadia are Jonathan Laberge (14-18-32), Philippe Bertrand (9-21-30), Chris Bruton (15-14-29) and Ryan Graham (10-16-26).

We’re also hearing that Rob Pearce is ready to return to the V-Reds line-up, which would mean UNB could have as healthy a roster as it's had all season.

Finally, Acadia finished behind UNB for 2nd in the AUS in home attendance, so expect good crowds and a lively playoff atmosphere at every game.

Go V-REDS!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fan Bus to Acadia!!!

We have an update from the Fan Bus organizers regarding the Fan Bus to Acadia to pass along. A bus is planned for Game #3 at Acadia, next Thursday, March 5th. Here’s how it’ll work:

You can sign-up for the bus by visiting Section 3 at the Aitken Centre during Games 1 and 2 (if seats remain). Total cost for the bus will be $45, and includes your ticket to the game at Acadia. This must be paid upon registering in order to reserve your seat on the bus.

The bus will leave at 11 AM on Thursday morning from the Aitken Centre, and with the exception of a few pit stops along the way, will travel straight to Acadia Arena, likely arriving around 5 PM. This should put you within walking distance of a few places to grab a bite to eat before the doors open. Game tickets are being held at the Acadia Arena box office, so fans are asked to be at the rink by 6 PM so that tickets can be distributed. There is reserved season-ticket holder seating at Acadia, so fans will have to work around those arrangements, but there should be large pockets of open seats available. The bus should return to Fredericton around 3:30 AM.

Seats for the Fan Bus will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with limited seating capacity of approximately 55 seats. So bring your $45 to Game #1 on Sunday night to assure yourself a spot. A minimum of 43 passengers is required for this to run. Because of this tickets are non-refundable, if you can't go, find someone who can take your place.

The Bus will have an onboard washroom, DVD, etc.

So there it is, if there's any questions send us an email and we'll make sure it gets answered.

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|_V-REDS FAN BUS__ |_|____\
|__________________|_| ____|
|_(@'@) ___________|_|(@)__|

Monday, February 23, 2009

Round 2 Schedule Released

The schedule for the second round of the playoffs has been finalized. UNB will host Games 1 and 2 on Sunday and Monday, March 1st and 2nd. The series will then shift to Acadia for game 3 on Thursday, and game 4 (if necessary) on Friday. Game 5 would be played back at the Aitken Centre on Monday, March 9 (if necessary). All games start at 7 PM.

Also, we'll pass on any details on the fanbus to Acadia as they become available.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

UNB meets Acadia in Round 2

With Moncton's 4-3 win over UPEI, the 2nd round match-ups are set. UNB will play Acadia, and SMU will play Moncton. The 2nd round will be a best-of-5 series. We're not entirely sure what the schedule is going to look like yet since the CIS Women's Volleyball Championship is being hosted by UNB at the Aitken Centre this week, running Thursday to Sunday. But expect the schedule to get finalized very soon.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

UNBHockeyfans.com 2008-09 Regular Season Team Awards

For fun, we've decided to dish out some virtual hardware to recognize the efforts of the players this season. And since we're only counting the regular season, we're not going to wait until the end of the playoffs to announce our picks.

So agree, disagree, post your own in the comments section. As selected by a panel of 5 UNB hockey fans:

Top Forward: Hunter Tremblay. A lot of people thought he'd drop off after Hennigar left. For the second year in a row he put up 50 pts. He lead the team in +/-, was on the #1 power-play unit, killed penalties, drew the attention of the other teams' top shut-down guys, and still produced. He's also not one to avoid getting his hands dirty, taking big hits to make plays and dishing them out whenever he can, too. Not bad for a 2nd year player.

Top Defenceman: Dustin Friesen. He lead UNB defencemen in points, goals, and plus/minus (8 goals, 12 assists, 20 pts, +28) and lead the team in game winning goals. He was a stabilizing presence on the blueline in every game, and set the new UNB Ironman record for games played by a skater at 137. Oh, he also took 28 ceremonial face-offs for the team.

Team MVP: Dustin Friesen. (See above) Runner-up: Hunter Tremblay

Top Goaltender: It was a split decision, but we'll give the nod to Travis Fullerton, who after a shaky start and limited action in the first half put up stellar numbers in the 2nd half of the season. He only played 13 games which might not be enough for official AUS statistic recognition, but he would have led the conference in Goals Against, Save Percentage, and Shut-outs (GAA 1.80, Save% .914, SO 3). He tied a team record for 3 complete shut-out games (3, Reg Bourcier), set a record for shut-out minutes 292 minutes and 39 seconds, and may have set some AUS and CIS records too, though those stats aren't available.

Most Improved Player: Kevin Henderson. Henderson came to UNB last season and found duty on the 3rd line in more of a checking role. He put up a respectable 15 pts, but a lot of fans thought he was capable of doing more. This season several early injuries gave him the opportunity to play on the top line with Cuddihy and Tremblay, and he certainly made the most of it, leading the team in goals scored (19) and tied for the lead in points (50) with Hunter Tremblay.

Hardest Hitter: Chris Hodgson. Ask Boston College's Nick Petricki. Honourable mention to Jonathan Harty.

Rookie of the Year: Bretton Stamler. The rookie defenceman was solid in his own end, chipped-in 13 pts, was +20, and contributed a rare AUS fight. This was a close one, there were 3 runners-up, and Stamler got 2 votes.

Top Defensive Forward: John-Scott Dickson. We give him the nod over Hunter Tremblay on account of his relentless penalty kill efforts and unmatched shot-blocking skills. There were some nights where the shot count was low and Dickson made as many saves as the UNB goaltender.

Fan Favorite Award: Chris Hodgson. It's been awhile since UNB had an overwhelming physical presence in the forward ranks. Nothing generated cheers quite so much as when Hodgson would leave opposing forward's carcasses in a crumpled mass after a big hit along the boards. Judging by the way his teammates cheered when he scored a goal, we're guessing he's a favorite in the dressing room too. He showed a lot of improvement over last season, and his energy will be needed in the playoffs.

Unsung Hero Award: We're giving this one to Josh Hepditch. It must be hard as a veteran player to fight for ice-time on a team loaded with good players. It's probably even harder when you don't know what position you're playing some nights. Hepditch saw time as both a forward and defenceman this season, doing whatever he was asked to do. He's good enough to be starter every night on any other team in this league, but had no problem doing what was best for the team, even if that came at the expense of his own ice-time. Thanks Josh! Runner-up: Kyle Bailey.

Pts Leader (tie) Hunter Tremblay/Kevin Henderson (50 pts)

Goal Leader: Kevin Henderson (19 goals)

Best Plus Minus: Hunter Tremblay (+33)

Wins: Derek Yeomans (13 wins)

GAA: Travis Fullerton (1.80 GAA)

Save%: Travis Fullerton (.914)

Shut-outs: Travis Fullerton (3 so)

Hat Tricks: Kyle Bailey (2)

(stats courtesy of AUS stats webpage)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Top 10 - Greatest V-Reds Tunes of All Time

Since there's been a dozen or so e-mails asking us about certain songs that play or used to play during segments of V-Reds hockey games (not to mention the fact we've been able to get them all no matter how abstract the clues provided), we came up with an idea for some "filler" to help pass the time as we wait for round 2 of the playoffs. A list of the top 10 greatest songs played at UNB hockey games. The idea's not terribly original, but the prerequesites for qualification make up for it. The song has to rock, it had to enjoy significant play-time at the Aitken Centre, and it had to work in the context of a hockey game. That immediately eliminates songs performed by current or former members of the band *NSYNC, any songs inquiring as to who let the dogs out, and of course "Cotton-Eyed Joe".

With that, we present our Top 10 Greatest V-Reds Tunes of All Time:

10. Jump - Van Halen - The last good song before the Van Hagar era? Maybe, but nothing rocks like those 1980's synthesizers.

9. The Hockey Song - Stompin' Tom Connors - What would a hockey game be without Stompin' Tom? It is pretty amazing how 4 generations of Canadians all seem to know the words to this.

8. Thunderstruck - AC/DC - This one must have been difficult for the sound guys to work in. Because of its awesome guitar intro and slow build up to the verse, before finally arriving at the high-energy chorus, Thunderstruck was usually played during extended work stoppages. Fixing the nets, the ice, sorting out penalties, etc. That sort of thing. But it rocks just as hard any tune on this list.

7. O Fortuna - Carl Orff - From Orff's masterpiece "Carmina Burana", O Fortuna is the lead-off song, and one of the most recognizable Classical Music pieces in history. You might recall the familiar choral sections of this piece that used to play whenever UNB scored a goal. It's the only classical music tune on this list, but it still rocks!

6. Come On Feel The Noize - Quiet Riot - during the 2000-2004 years, this song was played quite a bit. It must have been popular as several players could be found mouthing the words.

5. Celebration - Kool & The Gang - Listen to this classic from the early 1980's at the end of any UNB win on home ice.It may have been Kool's only #1 hit, but it's fan favourite at UNB because it was synonymous with "victory".

4. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns N' Roses - I'm sure the AUC isn't the only building that had Slash's legendary guitar riffs become a staple of production. For you kids out there, this is the real GNR, not that stuff you probably aren't hearing on the radio anywhere today.

3. Billie Jean - Michael Jackson - Say what you want, but.when the bass line hits, everyone's feet start tapping.

2. TNT- AC/DC - Oi oi oi. There's some night at the Aitken Centre when the Tommies are visiting where it must seem like this song is stuck on repeat. That's just because it's the new tune that gets played whenever the V-Reds score a goal. Who doesn't know the words to this one by heart now?

1. Live is Life - Opus - A lot of UNB fans keep wanting to know what this song is called, well, now they know. It's played at sporting events around the world and is common "jock rock". Everyone knows the simple lyrics."Nanananana, Nanananana".Opus was a one-hit-wonder band from Austria back in the 1980's. Why does it get #1 on this list? In addition to having a hilarious video (youTube it), throughout 2006-2007 this was the song that was played in the warm-ups and before every period at home. But an interesting tidbit of information - it was played a few times in the CIS championship game vs Moncton, including the overtime period. Don't believe us? Watch the DVD and listen closely. Not to be superstitious, but UNB did earn home ice for that game, and the familiar sounds probably didn't hurt. Give the song at least some credit for the eventual outcome, that's why it comes in at #1.

Also, while it didn't make our list, several people have e-mailed wanting know what the celtic-rock song that plays as the players come out of the dressing room to start each period. The answer: "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" by Dropkick Murphys.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

V-Reds move up to No. 1 in final CIS poll

V-Reds move up to No. 1 in final poll

OTTAWA (CIS) - The UNB Varsity Reds took advantage of a late-season mini-slump by reigning University Cup champion Alberta to steal the No. 1 position from the Golden Bears in the final CIS men's hockey media poll of the 2008-09 campaign.

UNB (21-4-3), which had spent the last three polls at No. 2, received six of eight first-place votes for 78 points from the media panel this week to move ahead of Alberta (20-4-2) - 2 first-place votes, 73 points -, which had topped the first 13 national rankings of the season.

The V-Reds, who had led all 15 national polls a year ago before dropping a 3-2 decision to the Bears in the 2008 University Cup final, ended the 2008-09 regular season winning nine of their last 11 duels, including a 5-2 victory over UPEI and a 6-2 defeat of No. 7 Moncton this past week, to finish atop the Atlantic conference standings for the second straight year, four points ahead of the No. 4 Saint Mary's Huskies (20-7-1).

UNB and Saint Mary's will both enjoy a bye in the opening round of the AUS playoffs that get under way on Wednesday.

You can read the rest of the CIS release here: http://www.universitysport.ca/e/m_icehockey/story_detail.cfm?id=13765

Monday, February 16, 2009

And Now We Wait...

The playoffs officially start this Wednesday night, but UNB fans will have to wait another week until at least the 25th of February for their first post-season action. Hopefully that gives the team time to recover after a brutal stretch that saw them play 17 games in 6 weeks. Great for hockey fans, bad for hockey teams.


Speaking of hockey fans, it’s funny how much hockey fans love statistics. If they incorporated AUS sports into university statistics classes, or used Pro-Line situations as examples, class marks would soar. Here’s a few odd bits of statistical information on the V-Reds’ 2008-09 season people probably wouldn’t have expected back in September:

- Only 1 player was -minus on the season (Alex Aldred, -5)
- UNB had the top 5 players in the plus/minus category, and 8 of the top 10
- UNB led the AUS in plus/minus at +67, SMU came 2nd at + 45
- UNB led the AUS in shots and shots per game at 1107 shots and 39.54 shots/game.
- UNB was out-shot only once this season (vs. SMU Nov. 8)
- UNB scored 2 goals less this year (134) than it did last year, and allowed 8 goals more against (67)
- Only 1 skater failed to record a goal in regular season play (Rob Pearce, who was injured most of the 2nd half, though he scored several in exhibition games)
- Statistically, the biggest point gainers this season were Kevin Henderson (5g, 10a, 15pts, -1 in 2008 vs. 19g, 31a, 50pts, +31 in 2009) and Luke Gallant (4g, 7a, 11pts, +12 in 2008 vs 2g, 16a, 18 ts, +26 in 2009)
- UNB ranked a surprising 6th in the AUS in Penalty-Kill percentage at .794
- UNB took the fewest number of penalties in the AUS this season (though had slightly more PIM’s than Acadia).

The penalty kill is probably the one area we'd like to see the team tighten up on. Thankfully they seemed to find their power-play again vs. Moncton the other night after a stretch of a few games where they couldn't buy a goal. As they say, it's better to get those out of the way with in the regular season before the games really start to matter.

Any other glaring statistics that stand out to you? Let us know by posting a comment.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

UNB Finishes Regular Season With A Win, AUS Playoff Brackets Set

UNB finished up with a 6-2 win in Moncton Saturday night, ending the regular season on a high note. Travis Fullerton made the start and was steady when called upon. Luke Lynes and Jim Cuddihy had 3 points each for the V-Reds, who will now wait for the 1st round of the playoffs to finish to discover who they will face.

The first round match-ups will be StFX vs. Acadia with StFX having home ice advantage, and a sure-bet intense series between Moncton and UPEI.

Good luck picking UNB's 2nd round opponent. We know it can't be SMU (who has the other bye) or Moncton.

Who would you rather face?

Friday, February 13, 2009

UNB Secures Home Ice Advantage For Playoffs With Win Over UPEI

UNB scored 3 times in the 1st period and Derek Yeomans played a solid game in goal as the V-Reds secured 1st place in the AUS Conference, and home ice advantage in the playoffs with a 5-2 win over the UPEI Panthers.

Kyle Bailey recorded his second hat trick of the season, while Kevin Henderson, and Justin Dacosta also scored for the V-Reds. Derek Yeomans made 19 saves for the win. Shots were 36-21 in favor of UNB.

With this game, Dustin Friesen ties Calvin Watson's record for most games played by a UNB skater at 136. The captain can set the team record tomorrow night in Moncton.

V-Reds Visit Panthers, UdeM

UNB takes on the UPEI Panthers tonight at 7 PM before wrapping up the season in Moncton tomorrow night. Of course, they are looking for that last point to clinch 1st place, so make no mistake, these games are big and there's still a lot on the line.

Unfortunately the game vs UPEI tonight will not be broadcast on CHSR, but you can catch the game on UPEI's Panthers TV, which will carry a live video feed of the game.

CHSR will air the final game vs Moncton tomorrow night.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Playoff Fan Bus?

We've been contacted by some UNB hockey fans who are going to try and organize a fan bus to UNB's first playoff game. Of course they don't know where or when that is yet, but these guys pulled it off last year sending 50 happy V-Reds fans to Halifax to watch Kyle Bailey score on a penalty shot to win the AUS Championship!

All that is known at this point is that it'll probably be similar to how it worked last year, leave mid-day, and return later that night. They're hoping to setup a table at the next home game, and seats would have to be secured on a first-come, first-served basis.

Nothing's confirmed yet, but keep that in mind. We'll pass on more info as it becomes available...
_______________________
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|_V-REDS FAN BUS__ |_|____\
|__________________|_| ____|
|_(@'@) ___________|_|(@)__|

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

SMU Applying The Pressure

With their 6-3 win over Acadia on Wednesday night, SMU sits at 39 pts, just 2 back of UNB for top spot the in AUS. SMU has one game remaining against last place Dalhousie. UNB on the other hand has a pair of tough games on the road this weekend vs. UPEI on Friday, and Moncton on Saturday.

If things go as expected and SMU wins their game, UNB will need put together 1 point this weekend in order to finish with 42 on the season. If UNB were to tie SMU at 41 pts each, first place will be decided by the season series which went in favor of SMU, three games to one.

First place is critical, not just for the first round bye, but also because it secures home ice advantage throughout the playoffs, and guarantees a match-up against the lowest standing team remaining in round 2.

Just as important, every team wants to head into the playoffs on a high note, and losing a pair of games to possible playoff opponents would leave the team carrying some baggage into the post season. This weekend should provide the V-Reds with a taste of playoff-style pressure and intensity before their first round bye.

Go Reds Go!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CIS Top 10 Rankings - UNB #2 For Third Consecutive Week

For the third week in a row, the UNB Varsity Reds were ranked #2 in the CIS Top 10 Rankings, after a week in which they defeated #4 Saint Mary’s and lost to StFX. Alberta once again comes in at #1. Wilfrid Laurier moves up to #3, which is fair, because conference champs get the top 3 seeds at Nationals, and Laurier is this week’s best bet to come out of the OUA as champion. Saskatchewan falls to #8, which is the lowest they’ve been in about two and a half seasons.

UNB received 1 first place vote, and some guy actually voted for Laurier as the top team in the country. In case anyone is wondering, the last time Laurier played UNB, they lost 10-2 (Fall 2007), and the last time they played Alberta they lost 8-2 (Nationals 2006). Not that it matters, we're just sayin'. Alberta. Laurier. You decide.

Other AUS teams to crack the top 10 were SMU who moved up to #4, and Moncton who moved up to #7, keeping the total at 3 teams. Noticeably absent was StFX who probably deserves to be in the top 10, and CIS Nationals host team, Lakehead.

Feb. 10, 2009

1. Alberta 19-3-2
2. UNB 19-4-3
3. Wilfrid Laurier 21-4-1
4. SMU 18-7-1
5. UQTR 21-4-2
6. Western 19-6-1
7. Moncton 16-7-3
8. Saskatchewan 15-9-2
9. Waterloo 17-5-3
10. McGill 17-7-2

The official CIS release can be viewed here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

UNB Hockey History @ www.VREDSHOCKEY.com

For those of you who don't know, UNB fans are very fortunate to have access to a huge online repository of UNB V-Reds hockey history courtesy of:

www.VREDSHOCKEY.com

You won't find many other CIS hockey teams with as complete a catalog of information. You can search for players by name or year, check out the all-time UNB stat leaders in a number of categories through to the 2007-2008 season, and even learn the history behind the name "Varsity Reds". There's more info than we have time to tell you about, but every real UNB V-Reds fan will add this to their bookmarks.

Kyle Bailey's Career vs. STU

Kyle Bailey vs. STU


Regular Season GamesGoalsAssistsPoints+/-ShotsPIMPlayoff GamesGoalsAssistsPoints+/-ShotsPIM
2013 (5PP, 1SH)1326+1271183112+2 80

Sunday, February 8, 2009

UNB Home Attendance Up, Players Graduating

Congratulations to the UNB V-Reds who once again led the conference in home attendance. According to the the AUS website's stats page, after last night the average home attendance per game this season came in at 2495. That up from 2300 last year, 2398 back in 2006-2007, and is the highest we could find this decade. Who knows, maybe a record? This doesn't include pre-season exhibition, or the grand-slam games against the Islanders Rookies, UMaine, or Boston College.

One has to think if not for a few bad weather days, and rescheduled game vs Acadia the 2500 barrier would have been broken.

So how good is 2495? We found 7 QMJHL teams that average fewer fans per game. Granted, they play more games, but they're also backed by private ownership, and fully marketed like you'd expect from a revenue-generating spectator sport franchise, not public, non-profit entities.

Also, if you read the handouts at Saturday night's game you probably saw the list of players who are eligible to graduate this year. What we know for sure is Jimmy Cuddihy, Robert Pearce, and Dustin Friesen are all 5th year and won't be back. Justin Dacosta (year 3) still has 2 years of eligibility remaining if he chooses to return. David Bowman joined the V-Reds in 2006-07, and is in his 3rd year with the team. He played a year in the ECHL, which put his eligibilty at year 4, so he has 1 year of eligibility left, but whether he's finished school or ready to move on is up to him. Justin McCutcheon is listed as a 4th year player on the CIS site and is also a question mark. Our best guess - some will play out their eligibility, some won't. But that drama can wait until the summer, 2008-09 is just getting interesting.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

StFX 3 - UNB 2

StFX 3 – UNB 2
February 7, 2009
It was a frustrating night for the home fans in Fredericton, as the visiting StFX X-Men scored three goals on their first four shots and then relied on goaltender Danny Battochio (Lively, ON) the rest of the way as they held on for the 3-2 win over the first-place University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. UNB was coming off a hard fought come-from-behind overtime win over the St. Mary's Huskies before a record crowd the night before, while StFX didn't play Friday night, although they were missing some key players in their line-up.

The X-Men scored early, on their first shot of the game, as a UNB turnover in their own zone gave veteran Chris Hulit (Sault Ste Marie, ON) a golden opportunity that he didn't miss at 1:26. UNB tied the game just over two minutes later when Kevin Henderson (Toronto, ON) threaded a pass through the slot to Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) parked at the back door, who had then had the easy redirect for the goal. However, StFX regained the lead at 7:13 on a fluke goal when a hard Hulit pass bounced off the midsection of a hard charging Jeff Caron (Moncton, NB) and past a surprised Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB). The X-Men stretched their lead at 10:22 on another unusual goal when Kurt Jerrett's (Sackville, NS) shot tumbled end over end, much like a knuckle ball, and fooled Fullerton on the short side. The X-Men had yet another opportunity two minutes later to extend their lead when a turnover in the neutral zone led to a two man X-Men breakaway, but UNB got lucky when Brett Robertson (Strathmore, AB) had the puck hop over his stick on what could have been an easy tap in. There was no more scoring in the period that saw UNB outshoot the X-Men 19-9.

UNB looked to draw within a goal at 8:39 of the second period when Luke Lynes (Rochester Hills, MI) walked out of the corner and beat Battochio with a wrist shot from the circle after some good pressure. However the referee took the goal off the scoreboard due to what was announced as an illegible player on the play, which usually refers to a player equipment violation. There was no other goals or non-goals in the period that saw each team puts seven shots on net.

The third period saw the Varsity Reds carrying the play as they tried to solve Battochio, with the X-Men constantly collapsing back in front of their goaltender, and content to ice the puck whenever they got in trouble. It wasn't until 11:34 before UNB got back on the scoresheet as they were rewarded for hard work around the net when Lachlan MacIntosh (Perth-Andover, NB) was able to outreach everyone and push the puck inside the far post. However, that was as close as UNB could come as Battochio stoned them the rest of the game. UNB pulled Fullerton in the last minute, but Battochio continued to make big saves until time expired. StFX held on for the 3-2 win, despite being outshot 17-3 in the final period and 43-19 in the game. UNB was 0 for 5 on the power play, and 0 for the weekend with the man advantage. StFX was 0 for 2 on the
power play.

Despite the loss UNB clinched a first round bye over the weekend, and need one just point out of their final two games next weekend against UPEI and UdeM to clinch first place and home ice throughout the playoffs.

By David Kilfoil for the UNB Varsity Reds.

(Reposted with permission)

Win Some, Lose Some...

Luck. When you it's working for you, you never admit it. When it works against you, you're quick to point fingers.

Such was the case tonight as UNB fell 3-2 to StFX in the last home game of the regular season. StFX will probably credit their 2nd goal to hard work, not a flukey deflection off a forward moving player. V-Reds fans will probably blame the refs for the disallowed Luke Lynes goal that was called back for "ineligibility". The truth is UNB had its chances, but couldn't overcome an early 3-1 deficit, and will now look to clinch 1st place next week vs the UPEI Panthers.

More to come...

Differential Equations... (X),{UNB}

We were never comfortable with differential equations and calculus as students at UNB. Lucky for us, AUS mathematics isn't as hard.

UNB needs a single point to clinch first place in the AUS, and that ever-so-important top seed in the 2nd round of the playoffs. It's still early, but with the OT loss last night, SMU has 37 pts, 4 back of the Reds, and 4 up on Moncton. It's looking more and more like SMU will finish #2 and Moncton #3, meaning UNB will face the lowest-placed team in the 2nd round of the AUS playoffs (and likely avoid both SMU and UdeM).

To accomplish this magnificent feat, UNB needs to win, or lose in OT, against StFX tonight...

Speaking of X, they've been looking like the feisty teams of old the last few games. Remember the dramatics at the end of the game vs UNB last week? That had nothing on the sparks that were flying in Halifax earlier this week when 45 minutes in penalties were given out in the 3rd period. X was inactive last night, which is probably good for them considering they had 5 forwards missing from the lineup vs SMU on Wednesday. They'll be ready tonight, and it looks like they're already playing "playoff hockey".

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 UNBhockeyfans.com on Feb 7 at 06:59 am)

Fullerton Leads UNB to Thriller OT Win

In a game that came down to making the most out of scoring chances, UNB goaltender Travis Fullerton held strong in front of a sell-out crowd as UNB topped SMU 4-3 in overtime. Another District 18 Night resulted in a packed house watching Oromocto's Jonathan Harty scoring 2 goals, including the OT winner.

More to come...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Who Starts?

There was a time in October when UNB fans were wondering which goalie would get the start. The team had played a lengthy exhibition schedule where Derek Yeomans and Travis Fullerton both had a few games they probably want back. Coach MacDougall went with Fullerton to open the season in PEI. He let 4 goals in on 21 shots and the V-Reds lost in OT.

MacDougall turned to Yeomans the week after vs Dalhousie. He allowed 2 goals on 14 shots, including a late PP goal when the game was effectively over. Not great, but not terrible. Yeomans got the start the next night and looked good vs Acadia, stopping 23 shots as UNB won 4-3 in OT. That was the kind of stability MacDougall thought his injury-bugged team needed. A few days later Yeomans looked shaky vs STU, allowing 4 goals on 13 shots. It happens, but...

Back to Fullerton. In a game where UNB outshot the opponent 38-16, they found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-2 game...

Back to Yeomans vs SMU. The team loses, but Yeomans keeps them in it and is possibly his team's best player that night. He gets the nod the following week and plays good, but not great, and keeps the starting job for a few weeks.

Then something happens in November. UNB is down 2-0 and outshot badly in the first 2 periods in Moncton, but Yeomans finally makes some big saves to keep his team in it. The V-Reds score 2 goals in the final seconds of the game to tie it. Then Yeomans goes perfect in the shootout to win it for his team. UNB finally has the stability they need in goal, and Yeomans plays great in the next few games, once again shutting down Moncton, and going 0-for again in the shootout vs STU along the way.

Both goalies look strong vs Boston College. Yeomans starts the 2nd half off with a win. Fullerton follows up with a win. Yeomans has been giving the team solid (not spectacular) goaltending for several games now. So back to Yeomans, right?

For some reason, MacDougall goes back to Fullerton, probably just to keep Yeomans rested for the weekend starts. Fullerton responds with a shut-out vs Dalhousie en route to a UNB shutout streak record, and gives the team 6 strong games in January.

Now Saint Mary's is coming to town on Friday, UNB is 0-3 so far in the season series. Who gets the start?

1 Travis Fullerton: 6 Wins, 2 Losses, GAA 1.49, Save pct .925, 3 shutouts
31 Derek Yeomans: 12 Wins, 4 Losses, GAA 2.64, Save pct .879

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

UNB Hockey Record Pursuits

Kevin Henderson’s team leading 46 points so far this season already has him tied for 14th place with Derek Cormier and Bill Wright in the rankings of best seasons all-time at UNB. With four games to go Henderson needs three more points get into the Top Ten at UNB. Robbie Forbes holds the hockey program’s all-time record for best season with his 66 points in 1984-85.

Hunter Tremblay’s 44 points thus far has him in 16th place all-time for best seasons, just one point back of Gary Agnew in 1980-81. With four games to go Tremblay needs five more points to get into the Top Ten for best seasons.

Kevin Henderson has scored 18 goals this season, just out of UNB’s Top 20 in the record book. He needs one more goal to land in a 19th place tie with Gary Agnew, Ryan Lindsay and Peter MacKellar. The UNB record for most goals in one season is held by John LeBlanc, who scored 38 goals in 24 games in 1985-86.

Hunter Tremblay’s 31 assists this season has him already in tenth place all-time for most assists in one season by a UNB player. With four games remaining, Tremblay needs four more assists to surpass his total of 34 assists last season and move into fourth place all-time. The current Varsity Reds record is 43 assists in one season set by Rob Hennigar in 2007-08.

Kevin Henderson has totalled 28 assists this season, putting him in a 16th place tie for the all-time UNB record with Kelly Reed and Sid Veysey. Henderson needs three more assists to get into the UNB all-time Top Ten for most assists in one season.

UNB’s rookie goaltender Travis Fullerton has set the UNB (and it may be an AUS and CIS record) for the longest streak of shutout goaltending at 292 minutes and 39 seconds. In the process Fullerton had three complete shutout games, matching the UNB season record set by Reg Bourcier in 2003-04. Before this past weekend, the last goal Fullerton gave up was at 5:22 of the second period (to Shawn Frank) during UNB’s 8-2 win over Dalhousie on January 10. Fullerton next earned an 8-0 win over St. Thomas on January 14th and then played the final two scoreless periods of UNB’s 4-2 win over UPEI on January 17. Fullerton blanked Acadia 5-0 on January 23rd, followed by his 9-0 shutout of St. Thomas on January 28. Travis kept his streak going against StFX on January 31 when he made a stick save at 4:33 on a Kevin Undershute penalty shot at 4:33 of the second period. However, late in the same period, at 18:01, StFX defenceman Will Colbert finally beat Fullerton on the power play with a point shot through a screen. UNB won the game 6-2.

The only UNB career record at risk this season for skaters is for most games played. Going into this weekend, Dustin Friesen has played 133 regular season games with the V-Reds. This puts him currently in fourth play all-time, one game played back of Denny Johnston. If Friesen plays all four remaining regular season games he would finish with 137 games played, one more than all-time leader Calvin Watson. In his career at UNB Dustin Friesen has been a true Ironman; the only three regular season UNB games he missed were while he was in Torino, Italy with three UNB teammates in February, 2007 playing for Team Canada in their winning of the gold medal at the FISU World University Games.

Prepared February 3, 2009 by David Kilfoil for the UNB Varsity Reds. Statistics courtesy of VRedsHockey.com and AtlanticUniversitySport.com. Reposted with permission.

CIS Top 10 Rankings: UNB holds at #2

The CIS released its weekly Top 10 Rankings. UNB stays at #2 following the loss at SMU and win at StFX this past weekend. They were probably helped by the fact that both Alberta and UQTR lost a game this weekend as well. Alberta lost to Regina, and UQTR was upset by McGill.

Interestingly, 1 voter had UNB ranked #1, the other 8 voters went with Alberta.

The biggest gainers of the week were Saint Mary's, moving up to #5 after their big win over UNB. StFX was bumped out of the top 10 after losing to UNB, so only 3 AUS teams made the cut this week.

Feb. 3, 2009

1. Alberta 18-2-2
2. UNB 18-3-3
3. UQTR 20-2-2
4. Wilfrid Laurier 19-4-1
5. Saint Mary's 17-7-0
6. Lakehead 16-6-2
7. Saskatchewan 14-8-2
8. Moncton 14-6-3
9. Western 17-6-1
10. Waterloo 15-5-2


The official CIS release can be viewed here