Saturday, March 5, 2011

UNB Eliminates Acadia in 4th game

WOLFVILLE – In big games your best players have to be your best players, and that was the case Friday night when the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds answered an Acadia goal with three of their own and hung on for a 3-2 win. With the victory UNB wins the AUS semi-final series against the Axemen three games to one and wait to play the winner of the StFX-Saint Mary's series for the conference championship.

UNB coach Gardiner MacDougall made a couple of lineup changes for game four, inserting both veteran defenceman Josh Hepditch (Fredericton, NB) and fellow d-man Jonathan Harty (Oromocto, NB) who has missed several games due to illness. Sometimes-defenceman Spencer Corcoran (Summerside, PEI) was moved up to play forward and bang bodies. UNB was a much more physical team in the first period than the the start the night before and early in the period Harty put a big hit on Acadia spark plug Ryan Graham (Mount Pearl, NF), and he saw little ice time after that. Despite good pressure in the period from UNB it was Acadia getting on the scoreboard first at 15:32. Andrew Clark (Brandon, MB) got the puck away from Kyle Bailey (Ponoka, AB) behind the UNB net and he fed the puck to Zach MacMillan (Brandon, MB) all alone in front of the UNB net, and MacMillan's quick release beat Travis Fullerton (Riverview, NB) clean.

UNB answered just over two minutes later when Marc-Antoine Desnoyers (Hippolyte, PQ) hit Hunter Tremblay (Timmins, ON) with a long pass in full stride at the Acadia blue line. In a tremendous individual effort Tremblay fought his way through two Axemen defenceman, and with the referee's arm up for a delayed penalty, snapped the puck past Kristofer Westblom (Meadow Lake, SK) to tie up the game. Moments later Westblom made a big save off Tremblay to keep the score tied 1-1 after 20 minutes. UNB outshot Acadia 11-8 in the first period.

UNB came out flying in the second period and at the 58 second mark Taylor Procyshen (Emerald Park, SK) took the body at the Acadia blueline to make a pass to Nick MacNeil (Creignish, NS) and was hammered to the ice by 6'4” Leo Jenner (Mossley, ON). MacNeil went in on Westblom and beat the Axemen tender with a wrist shot to give UNB the lead, while linemate Procyshen was slow to get to his feet. The next stoppage Prochyshen went to the UNB dressing room and did not return to the game. UNB increased their lead at 13:22 when Tremblay got the puck in the Acadia corner and fed Chris Culligan (Howie Center, NS) in the slot and his rocket shot beat Westblom under the crossbar.

A MacNeil tripping penalty would prove costly as Acadia defenceman Chris Owens (St. John's, NL)  waited for the screen to develop and then fired a point shot along the ice that beat Fullerton just inside the far post at 14:57. The Axemen appeared to take energy from that goal and pressed furiously. Acadia had a golden opportunity to tie the game a few minutes later – Desnoyer had carried the puck deep behind the Axemen net, and when he turned the puck over it created an odd man rush the other way and a hard charging MacMillan ended up missing a near wide open UNB net when Fullerton played the puck carrier Adam McIllwraith (Quispamsis, NB).

The third period saw the Axemen going all out to tie the game as they fought to prolong their playoff lives. Fullerton was forced to make numerous big saves, with probably his biggest a glove save off McIllwraith midway through the period. The Axemen outshot the V-Reds 16-5 in the final period that had the Acadia fans on the edges of their seats.

UNB head coach Gardiner MacDougall was more pleased with his team's play this game. “Last night we didn't play certainly as well ... tonight we had a better response. It started with the Tremblay goal from a great pass from Desnoyer and that got us the confidence to bounce back when you're down one. We had a really solid second period and shut the door in the third. It's all about winning it in the third period.”

Acadia head coach Darren Burns, while disappointed in the outcome, was proud of his players none the less. “As a coach these last few weeks have probably been the most enjoyable for me. I'm almost embarrassed to say that there were guys that did things, that played the way I didn't know they were capable through a lot of adverse situations. There's a lot of guys who should be proud of themselves.”

When asked about the big hit Taylor Prosychen took to make the play for the go ahead goal early in the second period, Hunter Tremblay said, “It automatically lifts you up. You're kinda watching the game waiting for something to spark you. You see that and you get emotional and just get things going again.”

Three game stars: 1. Travis Fullerton 2. Chris Owens 3. Nick MacNeil


Anonymous said...

Hopefully UNB's layoff before the AUS finals will help heal some of their injured bodies. As mentioned here, Procyshen took a hard hit to get the puck to MacNeil and didn't return to the game. Ben Wright hasn't played a shift since that marathon game in Freddy where rumour has it he tweaked his knee that was injured early in the season. Not sure why Jeff Lee hasn't been in the lineup and you've got to wonder why Shutron didn't dress last night.

Nice to see Harty return to action. I thought he played a very physical game. This mysterious illness that keeps being referred to didn't seem to slow him down any last night.

My question is this, should guys be almost healthy, do they get inserted into the lineup to help the team win the AUS finals or do they remain out until Nationals in hopes of returning completely healthy.

Ken C. said...

@Anonymous 10:12
-My own opinion, assuming the player is healthy enough to play without:
1) compromising his safety, and
2) hurting the team's chances compared to another guy on the depth chart-
You don't sit out games because of fear of possible injury. That's what depth is for. These guys play 80+ games in junior each year from exhibition to the playoffs. If they want to go pro they'll play that again. Playing half that many at CIS level is no big deal for them. If it happens, it's bad luck, it can cost you. Too bad. You have to accept some risk.

Every team goes through it. There's just as much chance they get injured in the first shift of the CIS finals as the first period of the first exhibition game.

I'd be more afraid that a guy that hasn't played at playoff-level of competition for 2 or 3 weeks is not going to have his A game at Nationals. I'd rather lose because injuries hurt the roster than lose because gaming the system backfired.

If they're legitimately hurt, and playing them would compromise the team vs someone else on the depth chart, that's different, but if they're ready to go and can help the team win, they should play.

I also believe the opportunity to play as many games as they can, and the goal of winning every single game are both big reasons players chose UNB in the first place. Change that, and we appeal to players of less competitive character. Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes when a player sits out for a game or two they come back with that little extra fire that every coach wants to see, that can make all the difference in a really tough game.

With UNB, the so called drop off from 1 player to another can sometimes be very slight so I can understand even minor injuries being a factor.

If every UNB player was at 100% and giving 100% there would probably quite a few differences of opinion about the lineup and some very difficult decisions!

UNB Bruins Fan said...

I really hope Procyshen isn't having concussion issues again...I thought he was one of the best players on the ice for the Acadia series and was probably playing his best hockey since he came to UNB. Losing him would be a significant blow.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with your comments about Procyshen.

Anonymous said...

i went to the sea dogs and screaming eagles game lastnight and WOW what a great caliber game.lots of hits,fights and stuff.not taking away from university hockey but for the life of me i dont know why we cant get a team here in Fredericton.the rivaleries with saint john,moncton would be great.with the new rink being built it would be a great time to try again.harbour station was full so theres great support there.we could do this too.come on Fredericton wake up and lets get a team.

Anonymous said...

Freddy needs a suitable rink. it all comes down to that. Otherwise, I think a team would be here. The city thinks small and that's why we don't have anything here.

Anonymous said...

I really wouldn't think an 8-0 game would be of such a high caliber.

How many players on the Screaming Eagles do you actually think could play at the AUS level in 1 or 2 years time?

Anonymous said...

Is the next series starting this Friday for sure?

Anonymous said...

considering university players are those who couldnt make it,alot.we would of had a team here before if not for UNB driving them away with outragous rent....

David Kilfoil said...

Puh-lease. "Outragous rent' is anything much above free to these mercenary team owners. Their shtick is to find some city or town with an underutilized rink, talk about all of the 'economic benefit' they are bringing, and then hold out until you give them all of the concession revenue, parking revenue (you don't think you'll park for free at a junior game ...) and install whatever they want - private boxes, etc. Then after a few years they want renovations to spruce up the place, on your dime, and maybe a break in the rent, or they're leaving.

Which might work for a city owned facility, but in case you forgot, UNB owns the AUC. If the city wants a team, go build a big rink.

Just ask the city of Charlottetown how much fun they're having with their junior team owners now.

And, we've dealt with this topic numerous times Anonymous, so please find somewhere else to bring this up yet again.

We talk about a real team here, and not some pipe dream.

David Kilfoil said...

and btw 7:07 a.m. Anonymous, by your comments you obviously don't really understand the calibre of AUS hockey. Why don't you do the math on say a team like Cape Breton and figure out what percentage of their players make the AHL or higher. You will probably be surprised, because a large number of those non-stars filling out the roster don't go very far after Junior, even if they finish their careers in Junior.

CIS and Q fan said...

No argument about the percentage of players who don't move on to the pro ranks, but I'd be willing to suggest there are a lot more Quebec League players who'll be in the big show than the university level, regardless of how good the CIS level is. It's true that when major junior players don't realize their pro dream, they tend to gravitate towards university teams because of the financial arrangements with their leagues and university hockey. It gives them a place to play. There are a few like Darryl Boyce or Joel Ward who make it to the NHL after university, but those guys are few and far between. As for the point about sleazy jr. operators, there are those for sure. For instance, there's that guy in Bathurst, and certainly the P.E.I. situation is not very pleasant. But look at the class operations in Sydney and Halifax and Saint John and Moncton. I don't hear people complain of their cities being held for ransom. So let's not wipe everybody with that negative brush.
But I agree, it ain't going to happen in Fredericton unless they get a facility. Dealing with UNB is a no-win situation.

Anonymous said...

holly hell, whats the point in coming on a UNB fan site and putting down university hockey, if my memory serves me correctly the AUS Allstars defeated the world junior team in 2003, and UNB has defeated AHL apponents wich no CHL team would.

David Kilfoil said...

No one would argue that more Q players make the NHL than from the AUS - the Q is a first and foremost a development league and the AUS is not. If you have the skill set and the desire to get an education, you come to the AUS after your Major Junior career is over, if you aren't one of those few each year who manage to get an AHL or NHL contract. If you don't want to go to school, you head off to the ECHL or lower.

There is a reason that Q teams never play exhibition games against AUS teams -- their carefully created bubble would explode when their 16 and 17 year olds get exploited by the AUS players since the top line guys (who are legitimate stars) can't play every shift.

But if a fan prefers to watch the Q stars do their work, and enjoys the sometimes goonery, well that's your call, but don't try to tell me an 8-0 blowout is a good hockey game to watch. We obviously have different interpretations of good hockey. And I'm not saying that there isn't good Q hockey. But no one is going to convince me that it is better hockey than the AUS. More "entertaining" perhaps, depending on your definition, but not better hockey top to bottom.

I agree that I may have used a nasty big paint brush, but the second last Q owner who came calling at UNB is now creating that mess in Charlottetown. And several of the others seem to use Fredericton as a stalking horse when negotiating with their host city ("you know, we could always move to a place like Fredericton"). I didn't mean to insinuate that someone like the Lewiston ownership group are carpetbaggers. That was never my intention. Only that I'm getting tired of the anonymous traffic that keeps reappearing here to say, "oh, if it wasn't for nasty, mean, tight-wad UNB we'd have a Junior team by now in Fredericton ...". Those folks should take their case to the mayor and city council. Not here.

UNB Bruins Fan said...

Personally, I hope Fredericton never gets a Q team, especially if it hurts UNB in any way shape or form. I would rather have a top notch university team and no Q team than whatever the alternative would be...if I want to watch a game I am more than happy to make the occasional trek to Moncton/Saint John.

Anyways, why are we still talking about this issue? It isn't happening anytime soon...if ever.

UNB Bruins Fan said...

How about we talk about more important UNB's injury situation, or who people would rather see in the AUS finals??

Eric said...

Regardless of the ownership group approaching Fredericton/UNB - UNB is not in a position to lose money on hosting a Q team in the AUC. So they will not cut rent mainly because they don't get anything else (currently free parking and concessions go to Sodexo).

There are no financial spin-offs for UNB not to mention the scheduling issues of having two teams in the building (the 3rd team, Bantam 'AA', would have to move to Harvey-Grant).

The Lewiston bid including purchasing the AUC from UNB (from the rumors I heard), but there were some Union issues and other items. In the end, they couldn't come to terms. It may still happen, but that's what it would take (UNB selling the AUC to a third party or city).

I think Fredericton is too small - even if the AUC is large enough. Once the honeymoon was over, it would languish and all we're left with is more debt on the backs of the city (assuming the city purchased the AUC).

When the Canadians were here - they wanted parking, concessions, reduce rent and a grant from the city.

I also don't see the spin-offs? A few hotel rooms and few restaurant meals (for the visiting team) hardly generate a lot of tax revenue and given ticket prices and food prices, I don't see anyone eating out before the game.

I'm all for thinking big. I'd like to see the VIA train to Montreal go through Freddy Junction again, but today's economic environment doesn't allow for the 'build it and they will come' approach. The city has tried that with the Conf. Centre and the jury is still out on that project.

Anonymous said...

then maybe we shouldnt consider our 'small'town as the capital.seeings where moncton and saint john see something they like and they go get it and its not a church.....

Anonymous said...

oh and by the way,it was the rent that stopped the rocket from coming here so,,,,,

UNB Bruins Fan said...

First two games of the AUS Finals are set (Friday at 8pm and Saturday at 7pm). I am kind of surprised they are going with the best of 5 format considering both teams are guaranteed to be at Nationals.

Anonymous said...

hey bruins fan,wrong post.look up....way up....there it is at the top of that page.

UNB Bruins Fan said...

Hey anonymous...look at the times of both posts...I posted here at 3:05 pm...the post on the main page was at 3:25 pm.

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see the percentages for CHL graduates who sign pro,in relation to the leagues they actually play in, for their first 3 years.

I'm pretty confident that by far the highest % would be in the ECHL or lower, with nothing to really show for 3 years except for a dozen call up games to the AHL. Unless the player is signing a guaranteed multi year 2 way NHL contract the CIS route is a pretty smart decision.

Several UNB players will generate interest and go to NHL camps in the next few years but with a degree in their back pocket.

Anonymous said...

if your good enough,you wont need a degree,,,

w.m.dion said...

Dear Red Heads...Just a very brief comment on CIS Vs Major Jr. hockey. Part of my former media career was as a CFL and Ont. Major Jr. hockey reporter. My duties [amongst others] included covering the Hamilton and Toronto markets in particular.
I simply wish to lend my voice to those who correctly say the
Q or any other Major Jr. league in Canada should not even attempt to play at the U level. The quality of hockey played by physically sronger, more experienced and higher skilled university teams is more than obvious to fans who know the game. BTW Fredericton is truly blessed by outstanding and probably very overworked newspaper sports scribes who would probably tell you the same. Go Reds.
w.m dion
Hamilton was an example and so too T.O. of Major Jr. teams lacking fan support even with decent operations.
Fredericton barely supports a succesffeul, wonderfully coached and managed Reds team...a losing Major A team would be a bust.
Support the doesn't get any better for a Metro area
of Fredericton's size.

and a long time fan of university hockey period...

joeymyopic said...

whoever the the moron, make that gutless puke,that crosschecked the mcgill player fr behind after he'd moved the puck should be suspended for at least 10 game. dirtiest play in recent history in any league.
this guy has enough brains to a carry a university class load?