Saturday, January 29, 2011

#1 V-Reds humble rival Tommies 7-1

FREDERICTON – The St. Thomas Tommies kept it reasonably close for half a game, but they had no answer Friday night for the first line of the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and then they eventually ran out of gas in losing 7-1. UNB left winger Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) scored a hat trick plus an assist, centre Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) had a goal and three assists, and their left winger on this night, Lachlan MacIntosh (Perth Andover, NB), had two assists. Defenceman Luke Gallant (Bedford, NS) also had a big night with three assists. UNB's winning streak against the Tommies now extends to 26 games; STU last beat the V-Reds on Oct. 20, 2006.

UNB had a short road trip, travelling downhill just to the foot of campus to the Lady Beaverbrook Rink, home of the Tommies. It was the annual Lou Chabot Memorial Game, so the game got off to a bit of a sombre start at the former STU player was remembered in a pregame ceremony. When the two teams got down to action, the big crowd of 1230 witnessed a scrappy first period. Goals were hard to come by, and UNB only had two goal posts clangs to excite their fans until late in the period, on their fifth power play opportunity. Luke Gallant had two booming point shots in a row, and while Charles Lavigne (Bernardin, ON) made the save on both, the second shot rebounded to captain Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) in the left circle and his snap shot at 19:20 found the top corner of the net. Shots were 13-7 for UNB in the first period.

photo courtesy Brian Smith
The second period started off better for the Tommies. UNB's Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) was called for interference with seconds to go in the first that carried over, and then Nick MacNeil (Creignish, NS) was called for tripping on the penalty kill just seven seconds in, and STU had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:44. The Tommies did a good job of controlling the puck, and at 1:28 Randy Cameron (Cornwall, PE) beat Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) to tie the game up. Less than five minutes later the Tommies had a good opportunity to extend their lead, when Jason Cassiday (Toronto, ON) drew Harty into a retaliation penalty. However Bretton Stamler (Edmonton, AB) got the puck to Chris Culligan who drove down the left side of the ice, drawing STU players to him. Once he entered the Tommies zone he made a quick cross-ice pass to Hunter Tremblay who was all alone and made short work of Lavigne for the shorthanded marker at 6:46 to retake the lead.

Four minutes later the V-Reds were creating all sorts of traffic down low, and defenceman Josh Kidd (Sundridge, ON) fired a point shot through the screen that Lavigne didn't have much chance on. A few minutes later the Tommies did have a great opportunity to get back in the game on the power play, but as Alex Labonte (St-Majorique, QC) went to shoot at a gaping UNB net Harty's reaching stick at the last second caused the puck to instead fly into the seats. At 17:20 Kenton Dulle (Craik, SK) was whistled for checking from behind against Matt Fillier (Durham, NS), which is a two minute minor penalty plus a 10-minute misconduct. The Tommies bench was not happy with the call, probably feeling the hit was more likely boarding, and talked referee Josh Hurly into a bench minor penalty. The good news for them was that STU killed off the two minute five-on-three, limiting UNB to a Gallant shot off the post, and were only down two goals going into the second intermission. Shots favoured UNB 16-9 in the period.

Photo courtesy Brian Smith
The third period was all V-Reds, as the Tommies looked to have drained the tank in the first two periods. Tremblay scored at 1:25, and then at 4:55 he worked the puck behind the STU net before passing to Culligan out front for the successful one-timer. UNB was on the power play, and the shots 40-20 in their favour, when defencemen Ben Wright ripped a shot from the top of the circle to make it 6-1 at 11:31. Less than two minutes later Harty led the rush through traffic into the Tommies zone, and following up on the play Tremblay completed his hat trick. Late in the period, what could have been UNB's 50th shot on goal was instead a Marc-Antoine Desnoyers (Hippolyte, PQ) rocket off the post, the fourth by a V-Reds defencemen in the game. UNBs outshot STU 20-8 in the period, and 49-24 in the game.

Goaltender Lavigne did his best to keep the Tommies in the game, and he was frank about what they were up against. “Kinda tough when you're playing the best team in Canada and the hardest working team in Canada. It's quite the mix they got there, deadly for everyone.” On the second period : “The hardest working team always gets the bounces.” On the third period onslaught, when Lavigne wasn't getting a lot of help from his teammates, he said, “You can't solely blame it on the guys, I've gotta make some saves once in a while. It's a team effort.” He was also generous in his respect for Tremblay. “The best player in Canada is also the hardest working player in Canada which sucks for us, and everyone else.”

As for Tremblay, after the game he said, “A lot of games we have a lot of shots and don't put them in and tonight we ended up executing on our second and third chances.” When asked about his hat trick, Tremblay replied “I'm struggling a little bit of late, so that's nice ... when I shoot a lot I seem to get more chances, so I try to concentrate on that lately.” When it comes to the inconsistent UNB power play, “Our power play has been struggling too lately. We've been working hard at it, and sometimes when you put too much pressure on yourselves it makes it even worse so we're trying to be positive and put pucks to the net like tonight.”

Photo courtesy Brian Smith
The first place V-Reds are off to Charlottetown Saturday night to play the UPEI Panthers, who are now in a four-way tie for second place. UPEI's Matt Carter, with 38 points, is now just two points ahead of Tremblay in the AUS points race.

Game Notes: The three game stars were 1. Hunter Tremblay 2. Chis Culligan 3. Luke Gallant. Matt Fillier made his return to the UNB lineup, after missing the last two weekends to be in Halifax at the bedside of his best friend who was severely injured in a snowmobile accident. A banged up Ryan Seymour was replaced by Nick Layton on the UNB energy line, and Daine Todd was also out of the lineup.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Carleton had a connvincing win over McGill this afternoon winning 4-0