Monday, November 22, 2010

10th win keeps UNB in 1st place

The Varsity Reds might not have played a great 60 minutes, but they played well enough Sunday afternoon to blank the St. Thomas Tommies 4-0, thanks in no small part to the hat trick of Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON). While Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) got the shutout for UNB, at the other end of the ice STU netminder Charles Lavigne (St. Bernardin, ON) did his best to keep his team in the game, making 36 saves and putting on a show for the 2302 fans at the Aitken University Centre in the losing effort.

While the early play favoured the V-Reds, at 6:25 power forward Jeff Lee (Calgary, AB) had to leave the game with a leg injury, and didn't return from the locker room. 15 seconds later Jordan Clendenning (Fredericton, NB) rang a shot off the crossbar behind Lavigne, the first of four times that UNB would clang the iron in the game. At 8:11, after several saves, Lavigne was finally beat by Tremblay, who had been held pointless his last two games. Seven minutes later Tremblay got past STU captain Erick Tremblay on a two-on-one rush, but Lavigne anticipated the pass well and made a great save coming across on Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS). UNB kept the pressure on, with Nick Layton (Salisbury, NB) hitting the crossbar about a minute later, and then, in the last minute of the period, Lavigne made saves on both Tremblay and Clendenning in close. Shot in the first period were 16-4 for UNB.

The second period started off with a bang when Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) drilled a puck from the slot that hit Lavigne square in the face mask, but the STU netminder shook it off. However as the period rolled along the Tommies were playing a close-checking road game for the most part and the V-Reds started to get away from their normal high tempo attack, and at times were fortunate that the STU forwards weren't converting their opportunities. UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall used his timeout at 5:10 which he later acknowledged was to renew his team's focus and get them to stop "playing shinny". UNB was on the power play at 8:34 when STU's Scott Judson (Riverview, NB) was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB). UNB did not produce many scoring chances on the 1:23 of five-on-three play, nor for the remainder of the Judson penalty for that matter.

The excitement came in the last minute of the period. Two Tommies tried to stand up Bailey in the neutral zone and that created an opening for Nick MacNeil (Creignish, NS) to break in alone on Lavigne who was forced to make a big save. Seconds later MacNeil had the puck back and rang a shot off the post. UNB managed to get a line change in during this attack and it was Luke Lynes (Rochester Hills, MI) scoring what seemed like an inevitable goal at 19:38.

Just 25 seconds into the third period Lynes was charging the STU net again, but this time he was called for goaltender interference. After UNB killed off the penalty, coach MacDougall made some adjustments to his lines to change things up, including moving Tremblay to a new line with Lachlan MacIntosh (Perth Andover, NB) and Ryan Seymour (Fredericton, NB). It was an interesting combination, and paid off at 8:33 when Tremblay scored backhanded. The prettiest goal of the game came at 14:57 when Harty, who passed up a good scoring chance earlier in the period when he passed off the puck to Tremblay, this time was in the middle of some tic-tac-toe passing with Seymour that found Tremblay all alone at the open side of the net. Not only was it a hat-trick goal, but the third game point tied Tremblay with Rob Hennigar for UNB's career record, at 177 points. Interestingly, Tremblay's rookie year he played on Hennigar's line and helped him set the record that he has now tied, and will surely pass.

Less than a minute later UNB's Bailey got into a heated neutral ice skirmish with STU's Judson that drew a crowd of V-Reds players. Bailey was called for four minutes for head butting in the fracas, and STU would essentially finish the game on the power play. Well their power play was about as effective as UNB's, and worse, Lavigne was forced to make two big saves on penalty killing Culligan. Travis Fullerton earned his second shutout of the season in the 4-0 win, and he wasn't near as busy in nets as Lavigne as the V-Reds outshot the Tommies 40-14 in the game.

Despite the loss, STU head coach Mike Eagles felt that his team was improving and at least laying the foundation to win hockey games, whereas he didn't feel they competed hard enough in the first seven games of the season. While not making excuses, he offered that "I've never had so many man-games lost as we have had this term" due to all the player injuries and suspensions.

As for UNB, while Gardiner MacDougall wasn't happy with the V-Reds' power play (now goalless in three straight games), he was pleased for Hunter Tremblay's big night, as he said his passion for the game and caring for his teammates is unmatched in the locker room.

Game Stars: 1. Hunter Tremblay 2. Charles Lavigne 3. Nick MacNeil


Anonymous said...

pretty gutsy for eagles to complain about injuries after a game vs UNB

UNB was missing last night- Gallant, Shutron, Todd, Lee, Procyshn and campbell

that doesn;t even count the fact that wright missed most of the year until now with an injury

Anonymous said...

No write up about Friday's game??

David Kilfoil said...

It is posted on the UNB site. I guess I forgot to e-mail it over to this site.

Well I think Mike has a point. No one has talked much about their injuries - Bryan Main hasn't played yet this season after getting hurt against Quinnipiac ... Morin has only played a few games. Those guys were expected to play a lot of minutes. Andricopolous wasn't healthy to start the season. They don't have UNB's depth, ESPECIALLY at defence, and those are key guys to them.

Cassidy is out. Melanson isn't 100%.

And then you have Lavigne shooting himself in the foot with suspensions ...