Monday, November 15, 2010

Special Teams and a Little Luck the Difference in Huskies Win 3-1 loss ends V-Reds win streak at 8 games

HALIFAX - The Saint Mary's Huskies took advantage of their special teams, and a little luck, to defeat the visiting UNB Varsity Reds 3-1 Saturday night at the Halifax Forum. The loss halts UNB's win streak at eight games, and more importantly for SMU, allows the Huskies to sweep their weekend games after losing twice last weekend, including a 5-2 loss to the V-Reds.

Like the game the night before against StFX, UNB came out with a physcal intensity to start the match. However early on V-Red Matt Fillier (Durham, NS) was assessed a double-minor for roughing in a skirmish in the Huskies corner with Michael Stickland (Red Deer, AB), who received a single minor. While killing the penalty, UNB defenceman Josh Hepditch (Fredericton, NB) was called for slashing while trying to stop a rushing Andrew Hotham (Barrie ON), and the Huskies had a two-man power play for 56 seconds and they took advantage when Chris MacKinnon (Richmond Hill, ON) scored from the circle at 4:44. Less than two minutes later MacKinnon took a slashing penalty, but UNB didn't score on the power play. Fillier took his second penalty of the period at 9:14, when he got called for boarding for a heavy hit on Ryan Gottschalk (Markham, ON). Less than a minute after a good penalty kill, the V-Reds had some bad luck. UNB goaltender Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) went behind the net to play the puck on a dump-in, but the puck caromed out of the corner right to the front of the net, and Brad Smith (Summerside, PE) had an empty net for an easy tap-in goal at 12:01. It was the first goal of the season for Smith, and his first since he scored the overtime winner for the Huskies at the 2010 University Cup back in March. Two minutes later UNB rookie Nick MacNeil (Creignish, NS), shorthanded, forced Huskies goalie Neil Conway (Painesville, OH) to make perhaps the save of the period. The V-Reds finally scored late in the period, at 19:13, when Lachlan MacIntosh entered the Huskies zone on the left side while his two linemates went to the net. MacIntosh continued on behind the net and out the right side and almost to the top of the right circle before letting loose a quick wrister that beat Conway.

There was no scoring in the second period, but the UNB bench was not happy when defenceman Ben Wright (Foremost, AB) was assessed a checking from behind minor (and automatic 10-minute misconduct) by referee Mark Hulshoff at 8:43 on a pretty innocuous looking shove well away from the boards. As a result Wright couldn't return to the ice until the third period. UNB did have a power play four minutes later and generated a number of shots, but couldn't put the puck past Conway. UNB took yet another penalty late in the period that carried over to the third period.

Once UNB got through the penalty kill to start the third period, they got back to work trying to score on Conway. However Jordan Clendenning (Fredericton, NB) was called for cross-checking for 4:08, and defenceman Bretton Stamler (Edmonton, AB) was assessed a hooking call while on the penalty kill, and the Huskies had another five-on-three, this time for 1:02. UNB killed off the penalty successfully, and eventually had their own power play at 13:39 when Kyle Wharton (Stittsville, ON) was called for tripping. However, just over a minute in the power play Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) was called for tripping and the man advantage disappeared. With just over three minutes to go in the game, Conway stopped a Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) shot, and Josh Hepditch jumped on the rebound and forced Conway to make a huge save. Worse news for UNB was that the referee decreed after the save that V-Reds had too many men on the ice while making the line change on the play, and they would be shorthanded yet again. After killing off the penalty, UNB pulled Fullerton with about 40 seconds to go, but they lost control of the puck in the neutral zone and Shawn O'Donnell (Halifax, NS) flipped the puck into the empty net at 19:43.

The 3-1 victory was the first for the reigning CIS Champion Huskies over the V-Reds since March 18, 2009, when SMU won the deciding game of the best-of-three AUS championship series. Interestingly in that year UNB went on to win the University Cup as the wildcard entry in Thunder Bay. Shots in Friday's game were 25-21 in favour of SMU, but the shot counters appeared stingy in light of the offensive bent of the game. SMU was 1-for-10 on the power play while UNB was unsuccessful on their five power play opportunities.

Next weekend UNB is home to the UdeM Aigles Bleus on Friday night, and then cross-campus rival St. Thomas in a rare Sunday afternoon game. Saint Mary's is at home to Acadia on Wednesday, are at StFX on Friday, and back home Saturday when they host Dalhousie.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

why is it always luck when someone beats unb.im a big fan but enough of the biasness....

UNB Bruins Fan said...

I will admit, from what I watched of the game I didn't think UNB deserved to win...in fact I thought it was one of their weaker efforts in recent memory (of course that can also partly be attributed to SMU and how they played)...but that second goal was pretty lucky. On the other hand, without that second goal (and the EN) it is still a 1-1 game and SMU may have won anyways.

David Kilfoil said...

Well, when the winning goal in a low scoring game is a puck that bizarrely bounces from the corner right to the front of the net, instead of continuing along and out of the corner to the UNB goalie who is waiting for the puck behind the net ... and so instead goes to a non-sniper from SMU who happens to be gifted with the puck in front of a now empty net ... well I think that is pretty lucky. Don't you?

This only UNB's second loss, and nobody said the first one was lucky -- UNB got outplayed by UPEI in that one (and their goalie played great).

Last season no one said that StFX was "lucky" to beat UNB. It was certainly an upset, but I don't remember anyone saying or writing that "luck" was the reason UNB lost. The phrase "bad breaks" or "no breaks" might have been used a few times.

Big Bad Jon said...

I remember saying at the end of Saturdays game...wow that was lucky after the game.

DNS said...

Holy cow David, have a fit. If your not biased then I don't know who is. Calm down spazoid.

David Kilfoil said...

Very mature contribution to the discussion there DNS.

Btw, it is "you're" as a contraction for you are, not "your".

Big Bad Jon said...

Forget DNS, we fans love the radio broadcasts Dave!

Steven C. said...

I totally agree, the raido broadcasts are great, and the extra stats and insights you guys give are great.

Keep up the good work!!

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