Sunday, February 6, 2011

V-Reds lose close one to Huskies

HALIFAX – The No. 1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds lost a close game 3-1 Friday night to the No. 6 Saint Mary's Huskies, the second time this season the V-Reds have lost by that score at the Halifax Forum. The loss halts first place UNB's winning streak at 10 games, and evens their season series against the second place Huskies, with each team winning their two home games.

From the opening whistle this was very much a playoff style game played at high speed, with close checking and few true scoring chances, what you would expect from rivals who have won the last two University Cups. One pattern that developed early was that almost every time UNB's leading scorers Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) and Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) were on the ice they found the line of Cam Fergus (Brantford, ON), Lucas Bloodoff (Castlegar, BC) and Cory Tanaka (Stouffville, ON) were matched against them. The shutdown trio did their job all night, keeping Tremblay and Culligan off the score sheet.

The first penalties of the game came at 16:59 when UNB defencemen Ben Wright (Foremost, AB) got into an incident with Chris MacKinnon (Richmond Hill, ON) along the boards near the V-Reds bench. A scrum ensued, including 6'7” SMU defencemen Justin Wallingford (Hamilton, ON) roaring in late  knocking over players like bowling pins. Wright was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for high sticking, MacKinnon a double-minor penalty for the spearing retaliation, and Wallingford a minor for roughing. UNB ended up with a 4-on-3 power play, and although they didn't score during the two minutes, seconds after Wallingford came out of the box to make it 4-on-4 play V-Reds forward Daine Todd (Stettler, AB) was still at the back door order to tap in the puck behind Neil Conway (Painesville, OH) at 19:03.

The second period was fairly even until 10:22 when MacKinnon came flying into the UNB zone on the right side of the ice with a step on the versatile Spencer Corcoran (Summerside, PEI), who had just that shift had been moved from the energy line to defence. MacKinnon snapped a shot on the rush that beat Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) over his left shoulder to tie the game. Five minutes later Fergus came down the left side on the rush, and fired a shot along the ice from the left circle that beat Fullerton inside the far post to put the Huskies ahead 2-1.

UNB had a couple of glorious chances to tie the game in the first half of the third period, including Conway robbing Tremblay from close in and a Bretton Stamler blast on a power play that rang off the post, then the crossbar, and then up an onto the top of the net. At 10:13 the Huskies benefited from a lucky bounce, when the puck suddenly caromed out of the corner at an odd angle instead of continuing on behind the net. The puck went right to Brad Smith all alone in the slot who had an easy goal against Fullerton who was caught flat-footed on the play. The V-Reds put on a furious push in the last half of the period, but they were unable to get another puck past Conway. UNB outshot SMU 26-23 in front of 1335 fans at the Forum. Neither team scored on the power play.

While the loss had no affect on the standings for UNB, who clinched first place last week, captain Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) was frank in his assessment of their play. “It wasn't good enough tonight, not even close. I don't really know how else to break down the game. Myself, I was atrocious. Hunter, Cully, our top guys we weren't good enough. I don't think our foot soldiers were good enough. Our goaltending wasn't good enough. Our defense wasn't good enough. They're a good team but we're a good team too. Full marks to them, they played well. I thought we had an abysmal effort in my opinion.”

The 20-5-0 V-Reds are back home Wednesday night when the host the St. Thomas Tommies in the 20th annual Mark Jeffrey Memorial Game, which will also be the first ever “Pink in the Rink” event in support of breast cancer research.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know for a team like UNB to be as dirty as they are doesn't make sense. They have the skill but insist on hacking and whacking. That Harty kid is a menace. The refs seem to ignore their slimy play because of reputation.

Anonymous said...

wow,better watch out.post a negative comment here about UNB and its life without parole.....

Anonymous said...

Of course not. This isn't the STU blog.

Anonymous said...

SMU took advantage of 2 small miscues by D on the first 2 goals and a very lucky bounce but full credit to them because they worked unbelievably hard all game long. I also wondered if Fullerton could have been out just a little further to cut down the angle on those 1st 2 goals.

SMU just didn't give the UNB forwards or D jumping into the rush much room for a full 60 minutes, in all 3 zones.

I don't necessarily agree with Kyle Bailey that it was an abysmal effort but I do agree that UNB didn't match the SMU intensity in some ways and that they can play better.

UNB Bruins Fan said...

Didn't SMU score a goal very similar to the third one in the first meeting in Halifax this season as well? The goal that also made it 3-1 in that game IIRC...

By the way, what is it about Nova Scotia (and especially Halifax) this year? 2-4 in NS and some pretty lackluster efforts.

Anonymous said...

UNB is the second most penalized team in the league. Dirty.

The STU blog comment is funny because if I remember correctly UNB fans constantly posted flaming comments on there. You don't see the STU fans doing that here. You live up to your reputations of being squirrels.

UNB Bruins Fan said...

So if they are the second most penalized team in the league than I guess the refs aren't ignoring their "slimy play", as the first poster suggests.

David Kilfoil said...

UNB is the second most penalized team this season because their opponents have decided that the plan is to test them physically ... and UNB refuses to back down. I don't have a problem with most of the push-back penalties they've earned this year.

Then you have bizarre officiating like the game at StFX on Friday where the ref looks like he decided he wanted to give "X" a chance to get back in the game ... bizarre and hard to believe if I hadn't been there.

Anonymous said...

I honestly missed Ben Wright's stick infraction that drew 5 minutes and a game. Did anyone see it?

If they did I wonder how it would compare to the 2 hander that Josh Day gave across Hunter's arm, that could have ended Hunter's season. It drew only a 2 minute penalty in that penalty filled ( the UNB side of the penalty box anyway )game in Antigonish!

Anonymous said...

"The STU blog comment is funny because if I remember correctly UNB fans constantly posted flaming comments on there. You don't see the STU fans doing that here."

Yes, we just did see that.

The STU blog comment is accurate because you have to be registered to post a comment. You don't have to do that here.

Bill Hunt said...

Dave, please. UNB is the second most penalized team because they're pushing back...that's like saying "But Mom....he started it!"
I know where we are here...it's unbhockeyfans.com after all...but how do you expect people to take you seriously on this or other sites when EVERYTHING is filtered through big red glasses?
Not trying to start a war here...you're my friend. But a little more objectivity would give you a lot more credibility. And yes, I will sign my name if I can get a visual verification rather than the red X

David Kilfoil said...

Respectively, "Pushing back" doesn't mean you only take retaliation penalties, it means you decide to step up to a physical tone if that is what the other teams wants.

How many penalties did UNB have to kill Saturday against a SMU team that decided to focus on a skilled game - 1 (granted it was 5 minute Major to Wright), to SMU's 2.

Friday night, in a game where X decided, as has become normal, to do everything physically possible to get UNB off their game, there was extremely inconsistent refereeing (ask anyone who was there) that somehow saw UNB tagged for 12 power plays, three in the last three minutes that stretched the limits of credibility and balanced officiating.

A few weeks ago we had the gong show when Acadia was at the AUS. Again, an overmatched official let the game get out of hand, and UNB players suffered two blows to the head that weren't called, so of course there was retaliation from UNB. This after an uncalled blow to the head the night before.

Detect a pattern here?

Before that Acadia-Dal weekend UNB was middle of the pack for penalties, when usually they are one of the least penalized. Now of course they are second most penalized.

The UNB players, on record, say that other teams are trying to test them physically and they are choosing to respond in kind. I've seen just about every game this season, and I have to agree with the players.

But of course, you have the right to your opinion like anyone else.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with what Dave is saying. Personally, I love UNB's intensity both physically and mentally, especially over the last 2 seasons.

Simply put, IMO, UNB is a team that doesn't take any crap from anyone and are willing to drop the gloves whenever necessary.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that UNB is totally innocent of dirty play but when you're the best team in the Country (be it off and on) for the past 3 or 4 years then teams are going to do whatever they need to in order to get UNB off their game. Including a lot of what is being discussed here... cheap shots, questionable refereeing, etc.

Anonymous said...

its the AUS, there is questionable and inconsistent refereeing all over the place. One game, something is a penalty, the other is completely ignored. At the STU/Dal game on saturday, Ronald Kelly had Andrew Andricropolous lined up from behind the whole time, drove Andrew's head into the wall, causing him to bleed and knocking him out of the game, and Kelly just got 2 minutes for check from behind. There needs to be some consistency across all 3 provinces in this league.