Saturday, February 27, 2010

StFX defeats UNB 3-2 again to take 2-0 lead in series

FREDERICTON – Friday night it was once again a 3-2 upset victory for the StFX X-Men over the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds to take a commanding 2-0 lead in their best-of-five AUS men's hockey semi-final series. It is the fourth 3-2 playoff win in a row for StFX, who continue to rely on a tight defensive game, strong goaltending, and opportunistic scoring. The X-Men got their three goals on their first five shots on the UNB net, and they did not register a shot in the third period of the game as they were content to sit back and protect their lead.

UNB came out strong to start the game, but discovered quickly that rookie StFX goalie Bryan Gillis (Lantz, NS) was not going to be beat glove side, no matter how many times their shooters tried. Just like the night before, StFX was content to play a defensive shell and force UNB to carry the play while they waited for opportunities to present themselves. At 8:38 X-Man Phil Mangan (Gananogue, ON) got that opportunity, when he was parked at the side of the net and he was able to get the puck past UNB netminder Derek Yeomans (St. Albert, AB). It was StFX's first shot of the game. The X-Men added two more shots in the period while UNB fired 16 at Gillis, but StFX ended the first period up 1-0.

UNB had a golden opportunity to tie the game at the start of the second period, as StFX was assessed a bench minor for delay of game. That became a 5-3 power play for 33 seconds, but still UNB could not get a shot through the StFX defence. Worse, the puck squirted into the neutral zone just as veteran Ryan Desrosiers (New Waterford, NS) came out of the box after serving the StFX bench minor. He won the race for the loose puck and went in on Yeomans on a breakaway. He deked the goaltender and beat him glove side for the shorthanded marker at 2:08. Less than a minute later, on the next stoppage in play, UNB coach Gardiner MacDougall opted to make a change and put Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) in nets. The V-Reds continued to press, but were having a difficult time developing good scoring chances against the StFX trap. Then at 7:30 StFX made a timely line change as Bryce Swan (Alder Point, NS) hopped off the bench to create a near breakaway in the UNB offensive zone and V-Reds defenceman Ben Wright (Foremost, AB) was forced to tie him up and take a penalty. On the power play Phil Mangan let a wrist shot go that appeared to fool Fullerton for X`s third goal at 8:26. It was the first shot that Fullertson saw, or rather appeared not to see, in the period. UNB finally solved Gillis at 16:40 when defenceman Ben Shutron (Orleans, ON) joined the rush and scored on a low backhander. When the tight defensive period ended, UNB had five shots to StFX`s three.

The third period was all about StFX collapsing back and protecting their lead. Whenever they were in trouble they either chipped the puck into the neutral zone or iced it. For their part UNB was throwing caution to the wind and trying to find a way through the StFX wall at the blueline. At 13:50 UNB drew within a goal when Daine Todd (Stettler, AB) tipped a Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) point shot past Gillis. StFX didn`t panic, and stuck to their game plan. As time ticked down UNB pulled Fullerton in the last minute, and Gillis broke the UNB fans` hearts with five seconds to go when he robbed UNB captain Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) with a huge save to preserve the win. The 1346 fans who braved the awful weather to attend the game left shaking their heads at the stultifying defensive play of the X-Men and Bryan Gillis who shut down UNB`s vaunted offence.

UNB was 0-for-6 on the power play while StFX was 1-for-3. The V-Reds outshot the X-Men 31-6 while losing 3-2. The series moves to Antigonish for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Wednesday if necessary.


Anonymous said...

did we really need another post about how much they sucked the last 2 games....

Dylan.M said...

Not shure if your aware that there is a free webcast of sundays game on SSN

Anonymous said...

Dylan, you might think of using a dictionary next time you post.