Friday, January 4, 2013

V-Reds Double Up Axemen, Take Over First Place

UPDATE: UNB Athletics has posted their game recap.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds held serve against the first place Acadia Axemen with a 4-2 victory tonight before 2406 in attendance at the AUC in a game that had a playoff-like intensity. With the win UNB improved to 2-2-0 against Acadia this year in what was the two team's final regular season match-up of the season. Each team won both of their home games against the other. UNB now sits at 13-4-0 on the season while the Axemen fall into a second place tie with Saint Mary's as both have identical 12-4-1 records.

The V-Reds struck first at 7:26 of the opening period with the man advantage as Nick MacNeil finished a nice passing play with Daine Todd and Colby Pridham. However, the Axemen would take a 2-1 lead before intermission thanks to two power play goals of their own - the first by Mike Cozzola at 13:24 on a 5-on-3 and then by Liam Heelis at 18:05. Shots in the period were 10-9 for UNB.

The Varsity Reds would score the only goal of the second period when Cameron Critchlow tipped in a Ben Shutron point shot at 12:53. New defenceman Tim Priamo picked up his first point on the play with the secondary assist. UNB had a 13-6 advantage in shots in the period.

UNB looked to be in trouble early in the third period when Bryce Swan was sent off for goaltender interference but on the penalty kill Tyler Carroll gathered the puck and streaked down the left side before sniping a shot past Axemen goalie Evan Mosher, giving the V-Reds a 3-2 lead at 6:42 of the period. The Varsity Reds kept the pressure on as they looked to secure the win but things became a bit uncomfortable when Daine Todd was called for slashing with just under two minuted remaining. Fortunately, with Mosher on the bench for the extra attacker, MacNeil (Pridham) scored his 2nd of the game - and UNB's 2nd SHG of the period - with 37 seconds remaining to squash any hope of an Axeman comeback. The V-Reds held a 9-8 advantage in shots in the period and 32-23 for the game.

- Priamo replaced Chad Denny in the line-up while Dion Campbell replaced Geordie Wudrick. Josh Kidd and Stefan Salituro were also scratched.

- Priamo was wearing Spencer Corcoran's old #5 sweater. Campbell was wearing #98 as Bryce Swan currently wears #9, the number Campbell wore for his first four years as a V-Red.

- Travis Fullerton picked up the win with 21 saves, including a number of quality chances. Dan LaCosta was not dressed after suffering a minor injury in practice.

- Acadia was 2 for 5 with the power play. UNB was 1 for 3.

- Carroll also scored the tie-breaking goal (and insurance goal) in the 3rd period against Acadia in UNB's 4-2 victory over the Axemen on November 17th at the AUC.

- UNB has now won 19 straight games at the AUC against Acadia, dating back to a 5-3 playoff loss on March 7th, 2006.

- Despite being the first game of the half this was arguably the biggest. A loss would have put UNB 3 points back of Acadia with only 11 games left, with the Axemen having a slightly more favourable schedule the rest of the way. 

- In other AUS action tonight St. FX handed Moncton their 6th straight loss with a 5-1 home win, Saint Mary's thumped STU 7-1 in Halifax for their 6th straight win, and UPEI picked up a big two points with a 2-1 OT win at home over Dalhousie.

- The V-Reds are back at home tomorrow night when the Dalhousie Tigers visit. Game time is 7PM.