Saturday, October 13, 2012

Carroll, Culligan Lead UNB To Opening Night Win

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds got their 2012-2013 regular season off on the right foot with a 5-2 victory over the visiting St. Thomas Tommies in the 178th Battle of the Hill. The top line of Tyler Carroll, Chris Culligan, and Cam Braes paced the V-Reds with a combined 10 points.

UNB got out to a quick start when Colby Pridham forced a turnover at the STU blueline and found Thomas Nesbitt all alone in front of the net. Nesbitt made a quick forehand to backhand move to beat goaltender Jon Groenheyde and give the V-Reds the advantage only 82 seconds in to the game. Carroll, with an assist to Culligan, would double the lead right off of a face-off at 7:23, scoring only 3 seconds into UNB's first power play of the season. The Tommies wouldn't go away though, surely a trait that we will see often from the Troy Ryan-coached team this year, and would be rewarded at 16:28 when Mike Reich beat Travis Fullerton to cut the deficit back to one. However, the momentum would be short lived as Carroll (Braes, Culligan) scored his second of the night just over two minutes later to restore the two goal lead going into the first intermission. Shots in the period were 9-8 for UNB.

The Varsity Reds would extend their lead at 7:30 of the second when Braes (Culligan, Carroll) potted his first career CIS goal. UNB would then run into penalty trouble and Steve Stanza made them pay at 14:19 with a deflection past Fullerton on a two man advantage. That was all of the scoring in a period that seen the V-Reds out-shoot STU 13-9.

UNB would clamp down defensively in the the final period, limiting STU to two shots. They would put the game away when Carroll completed his hat-trick at 15:36 with his second power play goal of the night. Culligan and Daine Todd picked up assists on the goal. Shots in the period were 12-2 in the period and 34-19 overall for UNB.

- As expected Chris Culligan has been named team captain. Veteran defencemen Daine Todd and Ben Shutron will serve as alternates.

- Before the game the Varsity Reds raised their 12th AUS Championship banner to the rafters.

- It was also confirmed during player introductions that both Mike Thomas and former STU goaltender Charles Lavigne are redshirting this year and are expected to suit up for the team next season.

- Bryce Swan, Taylor MacDougall, and Ben Wright were all out of the line-up for UNB. Swan was serving a one game suspension for his 5 minute checking from behind major he received in the game against Maine while the other two are out with an injury. As a result, UNB only dressed 17 skaters, the first time in a long time they have played without a full squad.

- Attendance for the game was 3310.

- UNB went an encouraging 2 for 4 on the power play. ST was 1 for 6.

- Carroll (3 goals, 1 assist) was named the game's first star. Culligan (4 assists) and Nesbitt (1 goal) were second and third, respectively.

- Carroll also accumulated 16 minutes in penalties, including a 10 minute misconduct.

- UNB went 39 and 31 in the face-off circle. Pridham led the way with 15 wins and only 5 losses.

- Braes was the only V-Red who was +2...No one registered a minus rating...Todd, Nesbitt, and Nick MacNeil all led UNB with 4 shots apiece.

- David Kilfoil has posted his game recap, as well as his annual AUS Preview over at www.cisblog.ca

- Hockeyscene.com and STUTOMMIES.com have also both posted recaps.

- In other AUS action last night UPEI defeated Moncton 4-3 in their home opener, St. FX posted a 5-4 road victory over Acadia, and Saint Mary's beat Dalhousie 5-2 at home.
 
- UNB is back in action tonight at the AUC when they host the University of Moncton in a rematch of last year's AUS Championship.