Saturday, November 6, 2010

UNB Wins Sixth In A Row

Unlike their exhibition game back on September 25, which was an embarrassing 10-3 loss for Saint Mary's, Friday night's hockey game between the Huskies and the V-Reds was a close physical affair for two periods, before UNB pulled away in the third period for the 5-2 win. The V-Reds were led by player of the game Hunter Tremblay with a goal and an assist, while linemates Jordan Clendenning and Chris Culligan each had two assists.

It was a humid night at the AUC, and the glass had to be cleaned with squeegees multiple times before the ceremonial faceoff by the Lieutenant-Governor, the Honourable Graydon Nicholas, along with Commonwealth Games bronze medalist wrestlers Eric Feunekes (4th year UNB Engineering student) and Promise Mwenga (UNB BBA grad). It was a chippy game to start, and just five seconds into UNB's third power play Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) won the faceoff and Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) got the puck back to Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) on the point, who ripped the shot past SMU goalie Neil Conway (Painesville, OH) at 11:29. SMU responded at 16:37, shorthanded, when Harty was caught flatfooted on the point and the Huskies went on a 3-on-2 the other way with Huskies defenceman Kyle Wharton (Stittsville, ON) on the rush snapping the puck over Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB)'s left shoulder, and just under the crossbar. Shots favoured UNB 13-5 in the first period.

UNB extended their lead to two goals at 3:18 of the second period, when defenceman Ben Wright (Foremost, AB), playing his first conference game for UNB after coming back from a knee injury, jumped into the play and took a nice cross ice feed from Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) right on the doorstep for the easy tap in. However, UNB's Matt Fillier (Durham, NS) got called for high sticking seconds later and SMU's power play went to work. Defenceman Andrew Hotham (Barrie, ON) pinched into the circle and one-timed a nice feed from the cycling Cam Fergus (Brantford, ON) to score at 4:20 to tie the game up again. It is the first power play goal UNB has given up in three games. UNB got their lead back at 12:29, on the power play, when Luke Gallant (Bedford, NS) blasted a high point shot that initially Tremblay looked to have tipped past Conway.  UNB took a penalty short after, and had mostly killed it off when under pressure from Tremblay the SMU goalie tripped behind the net while trying to play the puck and Tremblay was called for interference to a chorus of boos from the UNB fans. This gave a brief 5-on-3 power play to the Huskies, but UNB survived that and the Tremblay penalty in a key penalty kill. Shots were 13-6 for SMU in second period.

Seconds into the third period Tremblay was stoned by Conway close in, after a crisp pass by Jordan Clendenning (Fredericton, NB). The two connected successfully five minutes later, when Tremblay cruised into the slot and took another nice pass from Clendenning to make it 4-2. The game was delayed for several minutes after the goal, as over-exhuberant fans shook the glass behind the Saint Mary's bench, causing one panel to shatter, necessitating a hasty clean-up.  Tthe prettiest goal of the night came at 15:30 when Lachlan MacIntosh (Perth Andover, NB) and Nick Layton (Salisbury, NB) had a two-on-rush and MacIntosh deked out Conway to finally score his first goal of the season.

UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall liked how his team responded after the second period. ?The leaders in the room had to exhibit a better effort in the third period, and they did from the opening shift. We needed to simplify our game against a tough opponent, and we accomplished that.? While UNB got Ben Wright back for the game they were missing Dion Campbell (Melville, SK) who was sick. Defenceman Spencer Corcoran (Summerside, PEI) moved up to play wing on UNB's fourth line to make a spot for Wright, and Lachlan MacIntosh took Campbell's spot with Jeff Lee (Calgary, AB). UNB's second line saw Kyle Bailey centring Nick MacNeil (Creignish, NS) and Nick Layton to complete the line juggling.

The three stars of the game were 1. Hunter Tremblay 2. Jordan Clendenning 3. Bretton Stamler. Attendence was 2238. UNB was 2-for-8 on the power play while SMU was 1-for-5 with the man advantage, plus the shorthanded goal. Travis Fullerton made 23 saves in the game for the win, with 12 in the second period. Neil Conway faced 31 shots from UNB in the loss.

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