Saturday, October 19, 2013

Captain Culligan Carries V-Reds

UPDATE: The UNB Athletics website have posted their recap.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds fell behind 2-0 after the first period but rallied for a 5-3 victory over a desperate Saint Mary's Huskies team tonight at the AUC. 5th year senior and team captain Chris Culligan, who played most of the game without his two usual line-mates, put the team on his back with a 3 goal, 1 assist performance as the V-Reds begin the season with consecutive victories.

- The Varsity Reds dominated territorially for the game's first couple minutes but it would be Saint Mary's scoring on their first real chance at 3:31 thanks to Kyle Pereira. They would double their lead with only 7 seconds remaining in the period after an attempted stretch pass by the UNB defence was picked off at the blue line, resulting in a 2-on-1 that reigning CIS player of the year Lucas Bloodoff cashed in on. Shots in the period were 12-9 for UNB.

- It did not take long for the Varsity Reds to begin their comeback as Antoine Houde-Caron converted a Culligan pass on a 2-on-1 to cut the lead in half only 36 seconds into the second period. Marc-Antoine Desnoyers also picked up an assist on the play. They would even things up on the power play at 8:06 when Culligan (Houde-Caron, Murray) fired a laser off the post and past Huskies goalie Curtis Black. The V-Reds were back on the power play in the final minutes of the frame after Culligan was tripped by Black, which may have saved a goal. However, coincidentally it was Culligan (Petgrave, Shutron) who would come through again as he walked in and blasted a shot in at 18:54, only 14 seconds into the man advantage. Shots in the period favoured UNB 16-4.

- The V-Reds were forced to kill off a penalty to begin the third period before getting a power play opportunity of their own at 6:57. They would need only 13 seconds to convert this time as a turnover at the SMU blueline left Cam Maclise with a ton of time and space along the side wall. He found Cam Braes all alone in the slot and Braes one-timed the puck in to give the V-Reds a 4-2 lead. The Huskies cut the lead back to a goal at 14:11 to make for a tense ending but it was Culligan again, knocking the puck into an empty net with under two seconds remaining to cap the victory and his hat-trick. Shots favoured UNB 9-7 in the period and 37-20 in the game.

- Tyler Carroll remained out of the line-up with an injury while Dylan Willick replaced J.P. Labardo. Thomas Nesbitt left the game in the first period and did not return, leaving UNB with 10 forwards for most of the night. As a result, Cameron Critchlow took Carroll's place on the top line for the 2nd consecutive game and Houde-Caron slotted into Nesbitt's place to play alongside Culligan.

- UNB was an encouraging 3 for 6 on the power play. SMU was 0 for 4.

- The Varsity Reds won 36 out of 63 face-offs.

- Attendance was 2228.

- The Varsity Reds must have hit about 3 or 4 posts throughout the course of the game, including a couple that may have, in fact, gone in. Unfortunately the AUS does not employ video review.

- Charles Lavigne picked up the win in goal.

- Mike Thomas and Huskies forward Jeff Marchand (brother of the Bruins Brad) seemed to have a lot to say to one another tonight.  

- With his 3 goal effort Culligan is now a goal shy of his total from last season.

- Houde-Caron's 5 points this weekend leave him halfway to his total from last year.

- The Huskies are now an almost unbelievable 0-7-1 so far this year. They went 0-5-1 in the pre-season before losing their season opener 5-1 to Moncton last night.

- In other AUS action tonight it was St. Thomas picking up their first win under new head coach Pat Power with a 4-3 decision over Dalhousie in Halifax and Moncton improving to 2-0 with a 4-3 home win over St. FX. Acadia and UPEI will play a rare Sunday afternoon game tomorrow to wrap up the first week of play.

- The Varsity Reds hit the road next weekend for games against both of this weekend's opponents. They play the Huskies on Friday evening before heading to Antigonish to face the X-Men on Saturday. Both games are scheduled for 7PM.