Saturday, February 13, 2010

UNB 3 StFX 4

FREDERICTON – The University of New Brunswick's men's hockey team's record perfect run came to an end Friday night, as the StFX X-Men got opportunistic goalscoring, steady penalty killing and solid goaltending in defeating the Varsity Reds 4-3. The V-Reds outshot the X-Men 39-21 in front of 2739 fans at the Aitken University Centre, but it was the X-Men coming back from a three goal deficit to halt the UNB winning streak at 26 games from the beginning of the season.

Before the puck dropped, UNB defenceman Jonathan Harty and Bretton Stamler were acknowledged as the co-winners of the twelfth annual Mike Cavanagh Memorial Award in a brief pre-game ceremony. When the real action started StFX had two penalties in the first five minutes of the game, but not only could UNB not beat StFX goalie Bryan Gillis (Lantz, NS), when defenceman Nick Pageau (Stoney Creek, ON) came out of the penalty box he managed to get the puck from UNB's Ben Shutron (Orleans, ON), go in on the UNB net with Shutron hard on his heels, and then had his shot on net ring off the post. Just over ten minutes into the period UNB star Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) got into position in the low slot, and he one-timed a John Scott Dickson (Barrie, ON) shot past Gillis. UNB was back on the power play a few minutes later when Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) didn't get good wood on the shot, but his wobbly puck still hit Gillis' shoulder and popped up and over and into the net at 12:51. Tremblay was involved in the play and recorded his 100th career regular season assist. UNB outshot StFX12-2 in the first period.

It was a much improved X-Men squad that came out to start the second period, yet they were stunned at 1:07 when Chis Culligan was pushed into Gillis and the net, and UNB defenceman Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) arrived on the scene to collect the garbage goal as he banged the puck into the net. However the X-Men kept working, and they caused the V-Reds to take some penalties, and were rewarded on the five-on-three man advantage when Murdock MacLellan (Mabou, NS) jumped on a rebound off the post to put the puck past Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) at 7:16. Four minutes later the X-Men took advantage of a fortuitous puck bounce and a bad UNB line change to rush into the UNB zone three-on-two and Kevin Undershute scored on Fullerton. The X-Men stuck to their hard-working, counterattack game, letting UNB carry the play, and tied the game at 15:10 when after UNB's Bretton Stamler (Edmonton, AB) couldn't successfully bring the puck to his backhand in close on the StFX net, the X-Men went the other way and sniper Bryce Swan (Alder Point, NS) was in tight when he brought the puck to his backhand and went top corner on Fullerton. In what is usually UNB's best period this season, the shots were even at 12.

UNB had a golden opportunity to get the lead back early in the third period when they had a five-on-three power play for just over a minute, but they couldn't beat Gillis with the pucks that managed to get by the X-Men shot blockers. The X-Men continued their text book road team play in the period, and frustrated the V-Reds looking for open ice to wheel the puck. Everywhere there was a stick or a body in the way. At 12:03 Brett Morrison (Howie Center, NS) got half a step on the UNB defence at the blue line and he beat Fullerton with a wrister on the rush to give the X-Men their first lead of the game. They held on for the win despite a furious UNB charge – the first time the V-Reds have been behind late in the third period and the first time this season they were forced to pull the goalie in the last minute, all to no avail. When the final horn sounded the X-Men mobbed Gillis in the nets as if they'd just won the AUS championship. Well they did end UNB's winning streak, as well as their own three-game losing streak. To no one's surprise X goaltender Bryan Gillis was the player of the game. UNB closes out the regular season Saturday night when they host the Dalhousie Tigers.


Anonymous said...

It's funny, as UNB fans we've grown so accustomed to winning, especially over the past 3 seasons or so. I know myself that I go to the AUC expecting the team to win, that's where I think most of our expectations lie. I was disappointed after last night's loss but as a few others have said, better now than in the playoffs, or even worse, at Nationals. Congrats V-Reds on an outstanding season to date. We as fans are all proud of you. Now let's just end off the regular season with a kick-ass win over Dal and set a new standard for wins in a 28-game AUS season.

PK said...

Can't play D like they did in 2nd and 3rd and expect to win - lesson learned hopefully.