Friday, October 25, 2013

V-Reds Hang On For Win Over SMU

UPDATE: You can find the AUS recap here. The Chronicle Herald has also posted their game story.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds used a three goal first period to defeat the Saint Mary's Huskies 4-2 tonight in Halifax. With the win UNB remains perfect in conference play with a 3-0-0 record while the Huskies remain winless.

- The game could not have started any better for the V-Reds as Chris Culligan showed why he was named the AUS male Athlete of the Week this past week, camping out all alone in front of Huskies goalie Curtis Black and converting a Cameron Critchlow pass from behind the net to give UNB a 1-0 lead only 39 seconds into the game. New recruit Philippe Maillet picked up an assist on the play on his first shift in a V-Reds uniform. UNB would continue to carry the play and they would be rewarded only 97 seconds on the power play when Cam Braes (Maclise, MacNeil) made a nice move to get by a defender before cutting in front of the net and out-waiting Black. The Varsity Reds were back on the power play just over nine minutes later and would capitalize once again - their 5th man-advantage tally in the last two games against SMU - as Critchlow tipped in a Matt Petgrave wrist shot from the blueline at 12:58. Maillet got his second assist of the game on the goal. Shots in the period were 14-5 for UNB.

- After a dominating opening period it appeared as though the V-Reds took their foot off the gas a bit in the 2nd period and the Huskies started to play with more urgency and more like the team that we have been accustomed to seeing the last decade or so. SMU would finally get on the board at 12:58 when rookie Stephen Beyers beat goaltender Charles Lavigne on a breakaway. However, it would be the only goal in the period as shots favoured Saint Mary's 11-9.

- Things would get tense for UNB fans early in the 3rd period as Michael Stickland would pull the Huskies back within a goal at 6:22, turning what appeared to be an easy win in the early going into a nail-biter. After some back and forth action the V-Reds would get some much-needed insurance just over 3 minutes later thanks to a great individual effort by Mike Thomas. Thomas blocked a slapshot at his own blueline, raced down the left side to track down the puck for a partial breakaway, and then slid a backhand into the far corner of the net for a 4-2 lead. The Huskies would pull their goalie in the last minute, but to no avail as the Varsity Reds came away with the victory. Shots in the period favourd SMU 14-12. UNB held a slight 35-30 advantage for the game.

- Thomas Nesbitt returned to the line-up after leaving last Saturday's game in the 1st period with an injury. Forwards Antoine Houde-Caron, Tyler Carroll, and defenceman Keevin Cutting were all out.

- Maillet was wearing Daine Todd's old number 16.

- Culligan scored his 4th goal of the season tonight, matching his total from last year.

- UNB continues to excel on special teams in the early going. They were 2 for 3 on the power play tonight and killed off all 5 shorthanded situations. 

- The V-Reds won 45 out of 84 face-offs with Braes, Culligan, and Taylor MacDougall all winning more than 10.

- Critchlow had a game-high 7 shots on goal. Braes had 5.

- After a number of after-the-whistle scrums in last weekend's game there did not appear to be much in the way of extra-curricular activities tonight.

- Surprisingly, the Saint Mary's net did not come of its moorings every time UNB had a scoring chance, as it has had the tendency to do in recent years.

- In other AUS action tonight St. FX won their home opener with a 3-2 win over previously-unbeaten Moncton, Acadia scored 5 goals in the 3rd period to get by St. Thomas 7-2 in Fredericton, and UPEI moved to 3-0 with a 2-1 victory over Dalhousie in Charlottetown.

- UNB will move on to Antigonish for a game against the St. FX X-Men tomorrow night. Game time is scheduled for 7PM and you can watch the game via AUStv.ca.