Saturday, November 13, 2010

UNB 6 - STFX 1

ANTIGONISH - The University of New Brunswick men's hockey team made it two wins in six days against their playoff nemesis StFX, with a decisive 6-1 win on the road Friday night in Antigonish. Led by Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) with two goals and two assists, linemate Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) with a goal and two assists, and defenceman Ben Wright (Foremost, AB) with three assists, the Varsity Reds had the edge in the physical play, dominated the puck battles and outshot the X-Men 35-23 (although the game clock had the shot tally at 46-29) before 1300 fans at the Keating Millenium Centre Arena.

Like Saturday night in Fredericton, this game was intense from the opening faceoff, and both teams made sure they finished all of their checks and took every opportunity to take the body. After trading early penalties it was UNB opening the scoring when Wright let loose a quick wrist shot just inside the blue line through the crowd in front of the net, and Lachlan MacIntosh (Perth Andover, NB) deflected it past X-Men goaltender Bryan Gillis (Lantz, NS) at 11:08. The Varsity Reds extended their lead at 13:00, shorthanded, when Tremblay and Culligan were two-on-one in the X zone. After Gillis initially stopped Tremblay, the puck eventually came back to Culligan who beat Gillis on the other side of the net with his backhand. Late in the period StFX captain Chris Hulit (Sault Ste Marie, ON) was called for cross-checking and Culligan was all alone at the side of the net to bang in the rebound from a heavy Wright point shot for the power play goal at 18:43.

There was no scoring in the second period, and one reason was the scintillating save Travis Fullerton made just over eight minutes in on Hulit and Bryce Swan (Alder Point, NS) on a two-on-one rush. Once again StFX took a penalty late in the period, this time Matthew Bragg (Newmans Cove, NF) with an elbow to Dion Campbell (Melville, SK)'s head. As a result UNB reaped their reward early in the the third period on the power play, as Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) almost skated in too far for the back door play pass from Tremblay, but recovered in time to recover the puck and put it in the far side of the net at the 33 second mark. Less than three minutes later UNB made it 5-0 when Bretton Stamler (Edmonton, AB) headmanned the puck to Tremblay in the neutral zone who then accelerated, split the X-Men defence, went in alone on Gillis and beat him glove side with a quick wrist shot. StFX finally spoiled Fullerton's shutout bid at 15:39, when Swan scored backhanded on the power play. UNB got that goal back at 17:42, also on the power play, when Jordan Clendenning (Fredericton, NB) was unmolested in the slot to make it a 6-1 final for UNB.

Immediately after the game UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall was pretty satisfied with the play of his team. "We had a good complete team effort tonight. All four lines, all six defencemen and goaltender Fullerton played well. We needed a strong penalty kill tonight and got it. The team had a lot of energy and there was some great hits."

UNB was 3-for-7 on the power play while StFX was 1-for-6 with the man advantage. The three game stars were: 1. Chris Culligan 2. Hunter Tremblay 3. Bryan Gillis. Culligan had a combined five goals in two games against StFX. Saturday night UNB will be in Halifax to play the CIS champion Saint Mary's Huskies.

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