Saturday, January 26, 2013

MacDougall Notches Career Win #300, V-Reds Clinch 1st

UPDATE: Nick Murray, via UNB Athletics, has posted his game recap.

It was a night of milestones tonight at the AUC as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds defeated the visiting St. FX X-Men 2-1 to give head coach Gardiner MacDougall his 300th career victory. The win improves UNB's record to 20-5-0 on the season, clinching their 6th consecutive 20-win season and 6th consecutive first place finish.

The V-Reds opened the scoring at 16:43 of the opening period while shorthanded when Dion Campbell's relentless forecheck forced a turnover near the X-Men net. Campbell gathered the puck and found Nick MacNeil in the slot for a one-timer that Joey Perricone managed to get a piece of, but not enough to prevent it from ending up in the net behind him. That was the only goal of the period as the V-Reds had a 10-8 advantage on the shot clock.

The X-Men would tie it 12:40 into the 2nd period when Jason Bast jumped on a rebound to the right of goalie Dan LaCosta and made no mistake in burying it. Shots in the period were 8-7 for St. FX.

For the second night in a row the V-Reds found themselves tied going into the 3rd period and once again they saved their best for last, controlling the majority of play and wearing down the X-Men with a strong cycle game. They were rewarded only 2:03 into the period when Antoine Houde-Caron, from behind the net, found Campbell near the left face-off dot for a one-timer that proved to be the game-winning goal. Cameron Critchlow picked up the secondary assist on the play. The X-Men tried to pull Perricone late in the game but were not able to as the V-Reds kept control of the puck in the the offensive zone for most of the remaining two minutes, not letting St. FX get into their zone let alone give up a scoring chance. Shots in the period were 14-7 in favour of UNB, who held a 32-24 advantage for the game.

- UNB dressed the same line-up as last night, meaning they played a man short once again. Tyler Carroll, Cam Braes, Adrian Robertson, Josh Kidd, and Luke Lynes all remained out.

- Before the game 4th year defenseman Ben Shutron was presented with the annual Don MacAdam award.

- Neither team scored on their two power play opportunities.

- Campbell, MacNeil, and Dan LaCosta were named the game's three stars.

- UNB joins the Western Mustangs (20-4-0) in becoming the first two teams to reach the 20 win plateau this season.

- Other AUS action tonight seen Acadia rebound with a 5-2 home victory over St. Thomas in a game in which Tommies goalie Jonathan Groenheyde stopped an unbelievable 66 out of 70 shots, UPEI improved to 8-0-1 since the Christmas break with with a 6-5 decision over the Saint Mary's Huskies, and the Moncton clinch the 6th and final playoff berth despite losing 8-7 in overtime to Dalhousie in a wild affair in Halifax.

- With only three games remaining in the regular season the AUS standings now look like this: UNB (40 points), Acadia (34 points), Saint Mary's (34), UPEI (28), St. FX (26), Dalhousie (19), and St. Thomas (7). Note that UNB holds the tie-breaker over both Acadia and SMU.

- The V-Reds are back in action with a pair of games next weekend. On Friday night they travel up the hill to the Grant*Harvey Centre for the final installment of the Battle of the Hill against St. Thomas. Then on Saturday night they host the UPEI Panthers.