Saturday, March 24, 2012

NATIONALS GAME #6 - WESTERN VS. UNB

Number 1 hosts number 4 – The final round robin game of the 2012 Cavendish University Cup is scheduled for 4:30 PM this afternoon at the Aitken University Centre and a trip to the CIS Gold Medal Game is on the line. It will feature the AUS Champion and CIS #1 ranked UNB Varsity Reds playing host to the OUA Runner-up and CIS #4 ranked Western Mustangs. The Varsity Reds overcame a rash of injuries to finish the season on top of the AUS for the 5th straight season with a 20 – 5 – 3 record in conference play. It also marked the 5th straight year UNB has won at least 20 games. They held the top spot in the CIS rankings 15 times, were 2nd twice, and 3rd once. The Mustangs finished in first place in the OUA West division, and second in both the OUA conference and CIS behind only McGill, with a 21 – 4 – 3 record, 7 points ahead of 2nd place Lakehead. It marks the 3rd consecutive year they have won their division. Western was ranked in the CIS top ten for all 18 polls this season, ranking 1st on one occasion and in the top three 6 other times.

In their first game on Thursday night the Varsity Reds defeated the UQTR Patriotes 6-1 and last night the Mustangs eliminated the Patriotes with a 3-2 overtime win. This means that for the second year in a row UNB and Western will be playing in a true semi-final, with the winner advancing to the championship game on Sunday night.

Last Meeting – The last meeting between these two teams was in the semi-finals at last year’s University Cup. UNB scored three 3rd period goals to pull away with a 4-0 victory. Special teams were the story as the Varsity Reds scored two power play goals, a shorthanded goal, and killed off all 11 Western power plays. UNB would go on to win their 4th National Championship the next night.

The only two other times the Varsity Reds and Mustangs have met have also been at Nationals. In UNB’s first game at the 2000 University Cup in Saskatoon UNB beat Western 3-2 thanks to an overtime goal by Colin Beardsmore. Then, in the 2009 National Championship Game in Thunder Bay the Varsity Reds received a hat-trick from tournament MVP Lachlan MacIntosh to defeat the Mustangs 4-2 as UNB claimed their 3rd CIS Gold Medal.

Head-to-Head


#1 UNB

#4 Western

OVERALL RECORD

20 – 5 – 3 (t-3rd CIS)

21 – 4 – 3 (2nd CIS)

HOME RECORD

12 – 2- 0

13 – 1 – 0

AWAY RECORD

8 – 3 – 3

8 – 3 – 3

FIRST HALF

11 – 2 – 1

11 – 1 – 2

SECOND HALF

9 – 3 – 2

10 – 3 – 1

RECORD VS. CIS TEAMS

32 – 5 – 3

27 – 7 – 3

PLAYOFF RECORD

6 – 0

6 – 2

PLAYOFF RESULT

AUS Champions

OUA Runner-up

FINAL CIS RANKING

1st

4th

BEST CIS RANKING

1st (15 times)

1st (1 time)

WEEKS IN TOP TEN

18 (out of 18)

18 (out of 18)

GOALS SCORED

120 (2nd)

114 (4th)

GOALS SCORED/GAME

4.29 (2nd)

4.07 (4th)

GOALS AGAINST

68 (4th)

69 (t-5th)

GOALS AGAINST/GAME

2.38 (4th)

2.43 (6th)

GOAL DIFFERENTIAL

+49 (1st)

+45 (2nd)

SHOTS/GAME

36.0 (3rd)

34.6 (8th)

PP GOALS SCORED

25 (17th)

30 (t-10th)

PP OPPORTUNITIES

142 (18th)

146 (17th)

OVERALL PP %

17.6 (t-18th)

20.5 (7th)

PP GOALS ALLOWED

27 (20th)

16 (1st)

TIMES SHORTHANDED

156 (t-26th)

125 (4th)

OVERALL PK %

82.7 (18th)

87.2 (4th)

SH GOALS FOR

12 (t-1st)

3 (t-19th)

SAVES

561 (1st)

785 (t-19th)

SAVE %

89.2 (t-21st)

91.9 (t-2nd)

PENALTY MINUTES/GAME

18.9 (13th)

13.5 (3rd)



Who to Watch for on UNB – The experienced Varsity Reds feature 18 players who have won a National Championship and 8 players who will be appearing in their 3rd University Cup. The team’s strength offensively is their depth as 7 players accumulated more than 20 points this season, led by 5th year captain and AUS second team all-star Kyle Bailey (33 points) and Chris Culligan (30 points in 24 games). Culligan led all AUS players in playoff scoring with 13 points in only 6 games while Bailey was second on the team with 8 postseason points. They have also received big contributions from first year players as well, most notably AUS all-rookie team member Tyler Carroll (15 goals, 26 points), Thomas Nesbitt (21 points), and second half addition Shayne Wiebe (12 points in 11 games). On defence UNB may be the most dangerous team in the nation at generating offense from their back-end as AUS first team all-star and second team CIS all-star Jonathan Harty (27 points), 2011 Nationals MVP Luke Gallant (26), and AUS second team all-star Bretton Stamler (20) ranked 2nd-4th among all AUS defencemen in scoring. Despite battling multiple injuries mid-season goaltender Travis Fullerton finished the regular season with an 11-0-1 record, 1.67 GAA, and 0.909 save percentage in 13 games. He continued his strong play in the playoffs, going 6-0 with a 1.82 GAA and 0.917 save percentage, and notching a shutout in the series clinching game in the AUS Finals.

Who to Watch for on Western
– The Mustangs had a quartet of players score more than 30 points this season, led by CIS top scorer, CIS first team all-star, and OUA West MVP Keaton Turkiewicz (47 points). Second team all-star and veteran Kevin Baker (37 points), CIS rookie of the year Zach Harnden (17 goals, 31 points), and Steve Reese (13 goals, 31 points) will also be counted on for offense. These four players also led the Mustangs in playoff scoring, with Turkiewicz pacing the conference with 14 postseason points. Defensively, OUA West defenseman of the year Scott Aarssen only had 8 points this season but he will almost certainly be relied on to shut down the explosive UNB attack. Rookie Andrew Eastman led all Mustangs blueliners with 17 points in 25 regular season games before adding another 4 in 8 postseason contests. Fellow rookie Matt Ashman was the only other Western defenceman to reach double digits in scoring, notching 1 goal and 9 assists. In goal will be OUA West goaltender of the year and first team all-star Josh Unice. Unice started 18 games this season and registered 15 wins, a 2.10 GAA, and 4 shutouts. His 0.931 save percentage ranked 2nd in the CIS.

GAME DAY SNAPSHOT

UNB – Regular Season/Playoffs
(20-5-3/43 points, 1st AUS, 1st CIS)/(6-0 playoffs, AUS Champion)
#32-F- Kyle Bailey (16-17-33 in 27 games)/(5-3-8 in 6 games)
#57-F- Chris Culligan (8-22-30 in 24 games)/(2-11-13 in 6 games)
#40-D- Jonathan Harty (7-20-27 in 26 games)/(2-4-6 in 6 games)
#26-F- Tyler Carroll (15-11-26 in 27 games)/(2-1-3 in 5 games)
#4-D- Luke Gallant (5-21-26 in 27 games)/(2-2-4 in 3 games)
#1-G- Travis Fullerton (11-0-1, 1.67, 0.909 in 13 games)/(6-0, 1.82, 0.917 in 6 games)

Western - Regular Season/Playoffs
(21-4-3 /45 pts, 1st OUA West, 4th CIS)/(6-2 in playoffs, OUA Runner-up)
#29-F- Keaton Turkiewicz (20-27-47 in 28 games)/(5-9-14 in 8 games)
#10-F- Kevin Baker (7-30-37 in 28 games)/(6-5-11 in 8 games)
#71-F- Zach Harnden (17-14-31 in 26 games)/(3-6-9 in 8 games)
#11-F- Steve Reese (13-18-31 in 28 games)/(4-5-9 in 8 games)
#79-F- Tyler Peters (14-11-25 in 28 games)/(0-0-0 in 8 games)
#1-G- Josh Unice (15-4-0, 2.10, 0.931 in 20 games)/(6-2, 2.26, 0.923 in 8 games)

Special Teams – Regular Season/Playoffs
UNB PP– 25 for 142 (17.6%)/10 for 39 (25.6%)
Western PP – 30 for 146 (20.5%)/6 for 31 (19.4%)
UNB PK – 129 for 156 (82.7%)/28 for 34 (82.4%)
Western PK – 109 for 125 (87.2%)/27 for 32 (84.4%)