Friday, February 10, 2012

V-Reds Clinch First Place With Victory

UPDATE: The Guardian and hockeyscene.com have their recaps up.

The University of New Brunswick defeated the UPEI Panthers for the first time this season tonight, 4-1 in Charlottetown. With the win UNB clinches first place in the conference for the fifth consecutive year, a first round bye, and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Varsity Reds would strike first only 4:12 into the game when a scramble in front ended with Nick MacNeil putting the puck past Panther goalie Mavric Parks. Kyle Bailey and Antoine Houde-Caron both picked up assists on the goal. UPEI would respond just over two minutes later after a strong shift that hemmed UNB in their own zone eventually led to Chris DeSousa burying a Devin Praught pass from behind the net and into the slot, beating Travis Fullerton glove side. That was all of the scoring in the period as the V-Reds held a 17-10 shot advantage.

UNB would take the lead at 9:45 of the second period courtesy of Tyler Carroll on what was initially an innocent looking play. Carroll skated the puck down the boards before cutting to the net near the goal line where he had an open lane to the goal and put the puck up over Parks. The V-Reds had a golden opportunity to expand their 2-1 lead when the Panthers took two penalties on the same play. However, UNB was unable to convert the two minute 5-on-3. Shots in the period were 18-8 for the Varsity Reds.

The V-Reds received another two man advantage early in the third period and looked as if they were going to squander another great chance but Carroll received the puck from Thomas Nesbitt at the Panther blue line and chipped a pass into the center of the ice for MacNeil, who went in all alone and beat Parks ten seconds before the power play was to expire. The goal came exactly five minutes into the period. UPEI could not generate much offence for the first part of the period but started to come on around the halfway mark when Fullerton was forced to make two big saves. The Panthers received two power plays in the final five minutes but the V-Reds penalty killing was up to the task each time, putting the game away when Bailey won a face-off back to Bretton Stamler, who fired the puck the length of the ice and into an empty net. Shots were 8-7 for UPEI in the final period and 42-26 overall for UNB.

UNB went 1 for 6 on the power play. UPEI was 0 for 4.

The V-Reds held a 36-29 advantage in the face-off circle.

Nick MacNeil was named player of the game for UNB while Mavric Parks received the honour for the Panthers.

Attendance was 942.

Ben Wright, Josh Kidd, Chad Denny, Jeff Lee, Luke Lynes, Stefan Salituro, and Geordie Wudrick were all out of the lineup for the Varsity Reds. Wright did take part in the pre-game warm-up however, indicating that he may be almost recovered from his injury.

The V-Reds are back in action tomorrow night when they finish the regular season with a game against Moncton at the AUC. Game time is schedule for 7pm and is also "South Side Elementary School Night."