Saturday, November 17, 2012

V-Reds Chop Down Axemen

The University of New Brunswick gained a measure of revenge tonight when they defeated the Acadia Axemen 4-2 in a battle of the top two teams in the AUS. The win not only avenges an earlier defeat at the hands of the Axemen by an identical score, it also moves UNB into a first place tie with Acadia. Both teams sport 9-3-0 records heading into the final two weeks of the first half.

The V-Reds got on the board first with a shorthanded goal with only 36 seconds remaining in the first period. Chris Culligan split two defenders to win a race for a loose puck and broke in all alone on a breakaway, beating Axemen goalie Peter DiSalvo with a wrist shot. Nick MacNeil picked up the lone assist on the team's first shorthanded goal of the season. UNB headed to the dressing room up 1-0, out-shooting Acadia 13-7 in the process.

UNB extended their lead on the power play 8:01 into the second period when Cam Braes streaked towards the net and converted a pass from Colby Pridham. Marc-Antoine Desnoyers also picked up a helper on the play. However, the Axemen struck back only 1:22 later when a Christopher Owens slap shot from the top of the face-off circle got past a screened Dan LaCosta to cut the deficit back to one. Shots in the period favoured UNB 10-7.

The Axemen battled all the way back to tie the game 5:28 into the final frame with another shot from the blue line that LaCosta may not have seen until it was past him. The V-Reds restored their lead at 11:07 when Tyler Carroll (Shutron) converted on a breakaway by deking DiSalvo and sliding the puck past him. Carroll would strike again, on the power play, just over three minutes later when he was camped out near the face-off circle to DiSalvo's left and one-timed a cross-ice pass from Culligan. Acadia pulled their goalie with over a minute left but a penalty with 52 seconds remaining ended any hopes of a comeback. Each team had 9 shots in the period, with UNB holding a 32-23 in the game.

- UNB used the same line-up as last night. Chad Denny, Taylor MacDougall, and Luke Lynes were all scratched.

- Attendance was 2441.

- Special teams were big for UNB. They went 2 for 7 on the power play and killed off all five of Acadia's opportunities.

- Carroll, Culligan, and Desnoyers were named the game's three stars.

- Dan LaCosta improved his record to 6-0 on the season.

- Carroll had a game-high 6 shots on goal. Culligan was the only V-Red with a +2 rating.

- The V-Reds had to play over 5 minutes of the game with only 4 defencemen as Ben Wright and Daine Todd were both assessed 10 minute misconducts within a span of 4:32 late in the second period.

- UNB has now won 18 consecutive games over the Axemen at the AUC. Their last loss was on March 7th, 2006 in the 3rd game of the AUS Finals, as Acadia completed the sweep.

- In other AUS tonight it was St. FX defeating Moncton 4-3 in overtime at home, Dalhousie beating UPEI 4-1 on the road, and Saint Mary's blanking St. Thomas 4-0 in Halifax.

- With every team having played 12 games thus far the AUS standings look like this: UNB (18 points), Acadia (18), Moncton (16), Saint Mary's (15), St. FX (15), UPEI (11), Dalhousie (10), and St. Thomas (0).

- UNB is back at the AUC next Friday night when they host the UPEI Panthers. On Saturday night they travel down the highway to visit the Moncton Aigles Bleus.