Thursday, November 8, 2012

V-Reds Make GHC Debut Tomorrow Night

A new chapter in the Battle of the Hill will be written tomorrow night when the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds travel up the hill for the first time to make their first appearance at the new Grant*Harvey Centre against the St. Thomas Tommies. Game time is scheduled for 7PM.

The V-Reds (5-3-0 conference record, 9-4-0 overall) are coming off of a weekend in which they split a pair of games at home. On Friday night they defeated St. FX 5-3, before falling to Saint Mary's by a 4-3 margin the next evening. These results dropped UNB to 6th spot in the latest men's hockey top ten, their lowest ranking since October of 2006. They currently sit 4th in the AUS with 10 points, two behind Acadia and Saint Mary's and one back of Moncton.

UNB has been much better on the road in the early going, compiling a 3-1 record and outscoring their opposition 14-8. They have also been better with the man advantage away from the AUC, operating at a 27.3% mark. However, the disparity in penalties continues to be an issue for the V-Reds. They have received the 2nd fewest power play opportunities (40, 8 more than STU) in the conference, but have been shorthanded far and away the most (61 times). SMU and Dalhousie have been shorthanded 60 and 51 times, respectively, but in one more game. UPEI and Moncton, at 44 each, are the next closest. The V-Reds 13 power play goals allowed is also a league-worst.

The Varsity Reds have been led offensively by Colby Pridham (3 goals, 6 assists), Chris Culligan (1g, 6 a), Cam Braes (4g, 3a), Thomas Nesbitt (3g, 4a), and Tyler carroll (3g, 3a). Dan LaCosta continues his strong play in net with a 4-0 record, 1.75 GAA, and 0.925 save percentage so far.

The Tommies (0-8-0, 0-9-0) struggles continued last weekend as they dropped a pair of games in Nova Scotia - 3-2 against Acadia on Friday and 2-0 to Dalhousie on Saturday. They now find themselves 7 points out of 7th place and 9 points out of a playoff spot.

As one would expect, given their record, St. Thomas finds itself near the bottom of the conference in a number of categories. They rank last in the AUS in goals per game (1.11), shots per game (22.0), power play goals (3), power play opportunities (34), power play percentage (9.4%), shows allowed per game (37.8), and goals allowed per game (3.88). They also rank 7th in the league in penalty killing at 78.6%.

One bright spot so far has been the play of goaltenders Jon Groenheyde and Justin Collier who, despite facing a ton of shots, rank 4th in the league with a .898 save percentage. Meanwhile, Stephen Sanza (2g, 2a), Jonathan Bonneau (1g, 2a), Marc-Andre Levesque (3a), captain Felix Poulin (1g, 2a), and Mike Reich (2g, 1a) have provided the bulk of the Tommies offense.

If you cannot make it to the game it will be web-cast here as well as broadcasted by CHSR-FM (either by tuning your radio dial to 97.9 or listening online). You can also follow UNBHockey on Twitter for updates.