Friday, February 24, 2012

V-Reds Erase Early Deficit, Drop Panthers

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds drew first blood against the UPEI Panthers in their best-of-5 AUS semi-final, coming back for a 4-3 victory tonight in front of 1958 spectators at the AUC.

The first period did not begin well for the V-Reds as UPEI (DeSousa and Knox) struck for two goals against Travis Fullerton within the first 5:15, making the crowd, who no doubt remembered UPEI scoring 13 goals in two games against UNB at AUC earlier this season, restless. The Varsity Reds were perhaps trying to shake the rust that comes with not playing a game for two weeks. The V-Reds had a big opportunity to get back into the game when they were handed three straight power plays in a five minute span, but were unable to convert. Tyler Carroll (Wiebe, Culligan) finally got the V-Reds on the board and back within a goal at 17:46 when the puck found its way out to the slot and he quickly fired it past Panthers goalie Mavric Parks before he had time to react. The momentum was short-lived, however, as DesSousa scored his second of the game on the power play 76 seconds later, restoring the two goal lead with just under a minute left in the frame. The Panthers would take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission, despite getting outshot 16-8.

In the second period the Varsity Reds would once again get within a goal with a power play marker of their own. After some sustained pressure in the offensive zone Kyle Bailey (Harty, Wiebe) snapped a shot from the slot and into the net. That was the only goal in the period. UNB held a 14-7 advantage in shots in the period.

UNB came out hard in the third looking to find the equalizer, with Desnoyers and Carroll both ringing shots off the post (to go along with one by Harty earlier in the game). The V-Reds caught a bit of a break when Carroll was assessed a 5 minute major for checking from behind, only to see the Panthers be called for a too many men on the ice penalty as Parks played the puck as he was going to the bench for the extra attacker. UNB managed to kill off the three minute power play and would tie the game up at 9:07 when Nick MacNeil (Campbell, MacDougall), rushing down the left side on a three-on-two, had a big rebound from the initial shot come right to him. He made no mistake putting it into the gaping net. Chris Culligan (Todd, Harty) would give UNB their first, and only, lead of the game at 13:02 when he snapped a wicked wrist shot from the hash marks that found the back of the net. The Panthers would pull their goalie late but were unable to find the equalizer. Shots favoured UNB 11-5 in the period and 41-20 in the game.

- UNB was 1 for 5 on the power play. UPEI was 1 for 6 with the man advantage.

- UNB was a dominating 42 and 13 in the face-off circle.

- Chris Culligan was the first star of the game, followed by Kyle Bailey and Mavric Parks.

- Luke Gallant, Chad Denny, Ben Shutron, Jeff Lee, Luke Lynes, Geordie Wudrick, and Stefan Salituro were all out of the lineup for UNB.

- Before the game Bretton Stamler (Edmonton, Alberta) was named the winner of the Don MacAdam Leadership award for the second consecutive year. The former UNB head coach was on hand to present the award to the 4th year defenceman.

The series resumes tomorrow night at the AUC at 7PM. The game will be played regardless of the weather.