Friday, November 23, 2012

V-Reds Escape Thanks To Last Minute Goal

Photo courtesy Brian Smith

It wasn't pretty but the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds skated away with a 4-3 victory over the visiting UPEI Panthers before 2453 in attendance at the AUC this evening. Bryce Swan was the hero, scoring his second goal of the game with only 55 seconds remaining as UNB rebounded from a blowing a two goal lead for the second consecutive game. With the victory the V-Reds improve to 10-3-0 and remain tied atop the AUS standings with Acadia. 

The Varsity Reds scored the only goal of the opening frame - on the power play - when Swan, standing at the Panthers blue line, took a stretch pass from Ben Shutron and skated in on a breakaway, snapping a shot past Mavric Parks. Shots on the period were 10-7 for UNB.

The V-Reds doubled their lead only 2:14 into the second period as Thomas Nesbitt circled behind the Panthers net with the puck before finding Colby Pridham in tight who fired it top shelf for his 5th goal of the season. However, the lead would quickly disappear as UNB's discipline and penalty killing issues would rear their ugly head again. Ben Wright and Chris Culligan were both sent off less than a minute apart and the Panthers wasted no time tying the game, getting on the board 19 seconds into the 5-on-3 and then beating Dan LaCosta again only 23 seconds later. Both teams had 8 shots in the frame as the game went to the final period tied at two.

In the third period the V-Reds regained their lead just over two minutes in when Pridham picked off a break-out pass at the Panthers blue line and passed the puck over to Nesbitt, where his shot was cleaned up in from by Cameron Critchlow. Once again, though, UPEI responded. Mason Wilgosh tied the game for the second time 110 seconds later after some scrambling around by UNB in their own zone. The game would remain tied until the last minute when Tyler Carroll worked hard to gain control of the puck, skated behind the Panthers net, and fired a cross-ice pass against the grain back to Swan, who was camped out near the bottom of the opposite face-off circle. Swan wasted no time firing it into the net before Parks could get in position to give the V-Reds their third lead of the night. This time it would stand as the Panthers had a couple of chances late with the extra attacker, but LaCosta held firm to secure the two points. The Varsity Reds held a 12-11 shot advantage in the period and 30-26 in the game.

- Chad Denny, Taylor MacDougall, and Luke Lynes were once again scratched.

- UNB was 1 for 6 on the power play. UPEI was 2 for 6.

- Swan, Pridham, and Nesbitt were the game's three stars.

- Travis Fullerton was out sick so Charles Lavigne was dressed as the back-up. Doing so means Lavigne loses one of his remaining two years of eligibility.

- In other AUS action tonight Acadia defeated Dalhousie 4-1 in Wolfville, STU picked up their first win of the year with a 4-1 road decision over Moncton, and Saint Mary's beat St. FX 5-2 on home ice.