Wednesday, February 29, 2012

V-Reds Sweep UPEI With OT Win

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds defeated the UPEI Panthers 3-2 in overtime tonight to win their best-of-5 semi-final series 3 games to 0 before 1628 in Charlottetown. With the victory UNB moves on to the AUS finals, where they await the winner of the Moncton/Saint Mary's semi-final series.

The Varsity Reds came out and dominated the first period of play as they out-shot the Panthers 15-2. They were only able to find the back of the net once though, when Chris Culligan and Shayne Wiebe worked a two-on-one to perfection. Culligan took the pass and was stopped on his initial shot by Panthers goaltender Mavric Park, but he got another crack at the puck and made no mistake putting it in for the game's first goal at 10:39. Bretton Stamler also got an assist on the play.

The second period seen a much better effort by UPEI as they controlled the majority of the play and out-shot UNB 19-10. However, they were unable to tie the game as Travis Fullerton was up to the task in the V-Reds net, including making a handful of spectacular saves.

UPEI finally got on the board at 8:12 of the third period, tying the game when Matt Carter, standing near the top of the face-off circle to Fullerton's left, rifled a slap shot into the top corner on a Panthers power play. They would take the lead exactly 9 minutes later after an uncharacteristic giveaway by Stamler. Devin Praught took a shot that was turned aside but Jared Gomes collected the rebound at the side of the net to Fullerton's left and deposited it for a 2-1 lead. The Varsity Reds pressed hard for the equalizer in the dying minutes and were rewarded with only 68 seconds remaining when Nick MacNeil (Wiebe) fluttered a shot from in close over Parks, who was sprawled flat on his back on the ice. Both teams skated out the rest of the period and went to overtime tied at 2. UNB held a 14-9 advantage in shots in the period.

In overtime UNB had a great chance to end it early when they broke into the Panthers zone on a two-on-one, however the pass bounced over the stick of MacNeil when it looked like he had an open net to shoot at. The Varsity Reds kept up the pace and took advantage of a fortunate break to win the game 5:20 into the extra frame. A UPEI player tried to rim the puck around the boards behind the Panthers net, but the puck hit a stanchion behind Parks. Thomas Nesbitt, all alone behind the cage, gathered the puck and quickly sent a pass into the slot, where Jordan Clendenning buried the series clinching goal. Shots favoured UNB 5-1 in overtime and 44-31 in the game.

- Tyler Carroll was back in the line-up for the V-Reds while Luke Gallant, Ben Shutron, Chad Denny, Geordie Wudrick, Luke Lynes, Jeff Lee, and Stefan Salituro were all out.

- Thomas Nesbitt was named the player of the game.

- Despite everything that transpired in the 3rd period of game 2 there were only 7 minor penalties called in the game. UNB went 0 for 3 on the power play. UPEI was 1 for 4.

- UNB went a season worst 30-57 in the face-off circle.

- The V-Reds improved to 14-0-1 with Travis Fullerton in net, surrendering only 27 goals in that span.

- UNB's victory also means the Moncton/Saint Mary's winner is now assured a berth at the University Cup in Fredericton in three weeks time. Moncton currently leads the series 2 game to 1 after a 6-1 win tonight. Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday night in Moncton.

- The schedule for the AUS finals won't be finalized or announced until the UdeM/SMU series is completed.