Friday, February 10, 2012

V-Reds Wrap Up Regular Season This Weekend

This weekend the AUS#1/CIS#2 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds play their final two games of the regular season, travelling to Charlottetown on Friday night to face the AUS #4/CIS#8 UPEI Panthers (17-8-0) and hosting the AUS #3/CIS #7 Moncton Aigles Bleues (16-8-1) Saturday night at the AUC. Both games are scheduled to begin at 7PM. It should also be noted that Saturday night’s game against Moncton will be “South Side Elementary School Night.” There are expected to be 1000 children in attendance so the game will be general seating only; no reserved seats will be honoured. We encourage people to arrive earlier than usual to ensure they get their normal seat.

The Varsity Reds can clinch first place overall (for the 5th consecutive season), a first round bye, and home ice advantage throughout the playoffs with a single point. They are currently three points up on 2nd place Saint Mary’s, but hold the tie breaker having beaten the Huskies in three out of the four meetings between the two teams this season. They are four points ahead of 3rd place Moncton. A breakdown of the head to head stats of these teams can be found below:

The Varsity Reds have been on a hot streak of late, having gone 4-0-1 in their last five games, including a convincing 5-0 victory over St. Thomas on Wednesday night at the AUC. UNB leads the conference in a number of categories, including goals/game (4.31), goals against/game (2.65), shots/game (35.8), shots against/game (22.3), faceoff percentage (57.4), and shorthanded goals (11). One area the V-Reds will look to improve on before the playoffs is their power play, which is operating at its lowest clip since the 2005-06 season. They are lead in scoring by Kyle Bailey (30 points), Chris Culligan (29), Luke Gallant (26), Jonathan Harty (26), Tyler Carroll (22), and Thomas Nesbitt (20). Goaltender Travis Fullerton is 10-0-1 with a 1.73 goals against average and .902 save percentage so far this season.

The Panthers are perhaps one of the most underrated teams in the country, sitting only two points out of 2nd place. They are coming off a loss on Wednesday night but had won 6 straight games prior. UPEI has had the V-Reds number this season as they have won all three meetings between the two teams – 5-4 November 5th at the AUC, 3-2 November 18th at home, and a wild 8-7 victory January 21st on the road. They feature a potent offense that sits second in the conference in goals/game (4.04), and first in shooting percentage (12.7), shorthanded goals (11), and home power play percentage (24.1). They are lead by Matt Carter (second in the AUS with 36 points), Jared Gomes (30), Jordan Knox (30), Chris DeSousa (28), and Mike MacIsaac (23). Goaltender Mavric Parks has been solid in his rookie season, leading the league with 14 victories and placing second with a .907 save percentage.

The Aigles Bleues have struggled slightly in the last two weeks, going 1-2-1 in that span. However, they still sit 3rd in the conference and have an outside chance of finishing 1st as they are 4 points back of UNB with two games left. They are one point behind SMU for 2nd place and the all-important 1st round bye. In the first three meeting this season UNB has gone won twice (6-3 on November 4th in Moncton and 2-1 November 20th at the AUC) and lost once (5-1 in Moncton on January 20th). UdeM leads the league in save percentage (.908) and are in the top half of the league in almost every important category. They are lead in scoring by Dean Oullet (31 points), Eric Faille (30), Francis Rochon (23), Alex Quesnel (22), and Marc-Andre Cote (21). Goaltender P-A Marion has been stellar this season, leading the league in save percentage (.915) and sitting second in victories (12).

The UPEI game can be viewed here and if you cannot make it the AUC on Saturday, the Moncton game can be seen here. You can also follow UNBHockey on Twitter for all of the latest updates.