Thursday, February 10, 2011

UNB wins Mark Jeffrey Game and Raises $7240 for Cancer Research

FREDERICTON – The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds men's hockey team skated to a 3-1 win over rival St. Thomas Tommies in a game where what happened off the ice was in many respects more important than the match itself, especially since UNB clinched first place in the standings weeks ago and STU had already locked down last place. It was the 19th annual Mark Jeffrey Memorial game, and in a pregame centre ice ceremony Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) and Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) were recognized as co-winners by Mark's parents, Barb and Jim. The Mark Jeffrey Award is acknowledged as the most prestigious individual player honour within the UNB hockey program. The night was also the first ever Pink in the Rink event, with over $7000 raised towards breast cancer research. Several cancer survivors were honoured in the pre-game ceremonies, and their stories were featured at different points of the game via the new Aitken University Centre video screens that were debuted for the game.
photo courtesy Brian Smith
It was certainly a different look UNB team that took the ice in front of 1606 fans, wearing special pink jerseys and socks that had some in the rink dubbing them the V-Pinks. The Tommies got into the spirit of the occasion as well, with many players sporting pink tape on their sticks and socks. The play was relatively even in the early going, and a minute after Varsity Reds successfully killed off a penalty Jeff Lee (Calgary, AB) came down the right side and used a Tommies defenceman as a partial screen as his snap shot along the ice beat Charles Lavigne (St. Bernardin, ON) on the far side just inside the post at 6:25. That was the only goal of the period that saw UNB outshoot STU 11-4.

Moments after Lavigne was shook up stretching across the crease to make a big save off Nick MacNeil (Creignish, NS), the V-Reds attacked in an odd-man rush, and trailer Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) patiently waited until the STU netminder was down and out before flipping the puck over his prostrate body and into the net at 9:31 of the second period. The prettiest goal of the game came at 17:02 when a streaking Daine Todd (Stettler, AB) undressed multiple Tommies before deking out Lavigne at 17:02. The ensuing faceoff saw the only real physical animosity of the game, as Nick Layton (Salisbury, NB) accidently clipped STU's Randy Cameron (Cornwall, PE) with a high stick off the draw, and teammate Scott Judson (Riverview, NB) took exception when Cameron went down and got into it with UNB's Matt Fillier (Durham, NS).

photo courtesy Brian Smith
The third period did not have a lot of intensity, as the Tommies looked drained trying to keep up with the V-Reds. Bad news for UNB came midway through the period, when Todd injured his shoulder and had to leave the game after he got tied up with at STU player in the slot. Todd already missed the whole first half of this season with a shoulder injury. Derek Yeomans' (St. Albert, AB) shutout bid was foiled at 13:39 when Cameron hammered a puck past him, while Lavigne stopped 17 shots in the third period alone to try to keep his team in the game. UNB outshot STU 41-12 in the 3-1 win.

Immediately after the game finished, 19 fans holding lucky tickets came down to one end of the ice and in turn received pink jerseys literally off the UNB players' backs. Player of the game Kyle Bailey's jersey was subject to an impromptu auction which saw two keen bidders on opposite sides of the building drive the final price to $240, and bump the total funds raised to $7240.

Despite the lopsided play, UNB captain Bailey was respectful of the Tommies. "Full marks to them because I thought they played really well early. We had a hard time getting out of our zone by times. Some of that was poor execution on our part. We had a really strong second, and the third wasn't that good, but obviously we got the two points and we're going to start building toward the playoffs.”

photo courtesy Brian Smith
The 21-5-0 Varsity Reds complete the AUS regular season on the road, travelling to Wolfville on Friday night to play Acadia, and then onto Halifax on Saturday to play Dalhousie.

Game Notes: All-Canadians Hunter Tremblay and Luke Gallant did not dress for the V-Reds … Tommies d-men Andrew Andricopoulos and Bryam Main were out with injuries … This is the first time the Varsity Reds have gone undefeated at home since 1997-98. That Mike Kelly coached team went on to win UNB's first University Cup … This was UNB's 27th consecutive win over the Tommies.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This game was probably the lowest attended STU/UNB game ever in regular season history.

It means something.