Monday, January 3, 2011

UNB loses close game but retains Pete Kelly Cup

Providence wins 1-0 but loses tourney on goal differential

FREDERICTON The host University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds lost a close 1-0 game to the Providence Friars on Sunday night, but UNB managed to retain the Pete Kelly Cup at the sixth annual holiday tournament based on goal differential and their 3-1 victory the night before.

Both backup goalies got the start in nets in the second game of the Pete Kelly Cup; Derek Yeomans (St. Albert, AB) for UNB and Justin Gates (Cranston, RI) for Providence. Neither goalie faced a lot of shots in the early going, as the fast paced game saw tight checking from both teams right from the opening whistle. The Friars didn't show any rust to start the game, unlike the game the night before, and took away time and space from the V-Reds all game. The first period ended with the game scoreless, both teams 0-for-1 on the power play, and the low shot total favouring the Friars 8-6.

The second period continued much like the first, with few real good scoring chances and both goalies up to the task when they had to be. At 14:54 the Friars had a strong rush and Yeomans made consecutive saves on Matt Germain (Rockland, MA) and Derek Army (North Kingstown, RI), but couldn't get across in time to stop the shot from senior Jordan Kremyr (Cloverdale, BC). That would end up being the only goal of the game. The shots on goal favoured UNB 9-8, with most of them coming in the latter half of the period as the V-Reds tried to up the tempo.

The third period saw the customary push from the V-Reds, but the speedy Friars were up to the task. Time and time again they were able to neutralize odd man rushes with their speed, and get into shooting lanes to foil UNB scoring opportunities. They were also a physical match for UNB, winning their share of puck battles. The V-Reds were only able to pull Yeomans from the nets in the dying seconds of the period, and barely got another skater on the ice before time expired. UNB outshot Providence 10-7 in the third period, and 25-23 in the game, but still lost 1-0.

Friars head coach Tim Army was pleased with the play of his team. "Other than the first eight or nine minutes of the first game, I thought we played well this weekend. We got to our spots and didn't let them through." He noted that UNB is a good opponent and a big, physical team, and the two games in Fredericton will prepare them well for when they return to Hockey East conference play next weekend with a home-and-home series against Boston College.

UNB coach Gardiner MacDougall pointed out that "there are not a lot of 1-0 games at this level", and fans got to see a tight game between similar teams. It turns out the last time UNB lost a game 1-0 was February 18, 1996 against UPEI, and the last time the V-Reds were shutout at home was October 1, 2005 when the lost 4-0 to StFX at the UNB Fall Classic tournament. As for the loss, MacDougall stated "we have to find ways to score and we didn't put enough pucks in the blue paint tonight." He would have like to see his team "a little more blue collar" and "win more of the 50/50 battles" but MacDougall conceded that the third game in four nights for UNB after the long exam and Christmas break may have been a factor.

The players of the game were Matt Germain for Providence and Lachlan MacIntosh for UNB. Immediately after the game, both teams lined up at their respective blue lines and the members of the all-tournament team were formally recognized: forwards Nick MacNeil (Creignish, NS) and Lachlan MacIntosh from UNB and Kyle MacKinnon (Walnut, CA) from Providence; defencmen Bretton Stamler from UNB and Eric Baier (North Kingstown, RI) from Providence; goalie Justin Gates from Providence. The tournament MVP honours went to UNB's Dion Campbell (Melville, SK).

After the game Campbell noted that "both teams played well and it was a good test for us. They are gritty with speed. They boxed us out, prevented shots and pushed us to the outside. These two games will make us a better team." The Varsity Reds get back to AUS conference play this upcoming weekend, hosting the Dalhousie Tigers on Friday and the Acadia Axemen on Saturday.

Game Notes: Taylor Procyshen (Emerald Park, SK) continued his progress from missing the whole first term, playing his scheduled two periods, plus some bonus time in the third period. MacDougall noted that if he has a good week in practice he will probably play the whole game Friday against Dalhousie. Injured power forward Jeff Lee (Calgary, AB) and all-star defenceman Luke Gallant (Bedford, NS) are still out of the lineup, but may be back soon. The paid attendance was 1457 and about 500 short of what MacDougall was hoping for at the Pete Kelly Cup.

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