Friday, October 18, 2013

Varsity Reds Open With A Victory

UPDATE: The UNB Athletics website has posted their game recap.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds raised both of their championship banners and then went out and defeated the St. FX X-Men 5-2 to extend their win streak in home openers to a remarkable 25.

- After the opening half of the first period only seen a single shot by each team things picked up in the final five minutes. Marc-Antoine Desnoyers (MacNeil, Maclise) scored the first goal of the season on the power play at 14:10 on what seemed to be a harmless slap shot from just outside the face-off circle to the right of X-Men goaltender Drew Owsley. The lead would not hold up very long though as rookie Blake Gal knotted the score 1:49 later. The V-Reds would restore their lead with only 23 seconds remaining in the period when Taylor MacDougall (Houde-Caron, Murray) crashed the net hard and re-directed the puck into the net. The X-Men argued that the play should have been goaltender interference but to no avail as the Varsity Reds headed into the intermission with a 2-1 lead, out-shooting the visitors 6-5 in the period.

- UNB would extend their lead to 3-1 at 6:23 of the second period after Tim Priamo made a nice move to get around an X defender and fired a pass across the slot to Nick MacNeil, who made no mistake as he slapped it into the open net. However, shortly afterwards the V-Reds would run into some penalty trouble, a familiar refrain from last season. UNB took 3 penalties within 94 seconds and it cost them as defenceman Bronson Maschmeyer ripped a shot past Charles Lavigne on the 5-on-3 to pull the X-Men back within a goal. There was no more scoring in the period as UNB held a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal.

- The third period started out similarly to the first as shots were hard to come by from both sides. St. FX had a couple of power plays in the first ten minutes but were unable to convert. The score would remain 3-2 until late in the game when some really good work by UNB's 4th line resulted in an insurance marker at 16:36 by MacDougall (Houde-Caron, Kewin), who scored his 2nd goal of the game. Trailing by two the X-Men were forced to press to try and find some offense but it backfired as the V-Reds had back-to-back 2-on-1's, converting on the second one when Thomas Nesbitt (Houde-Caron, Culligan) got the puck in all alone on Owsley and roofed it to give UNB a comfortable three goal lead at 18:05. That is how it would end as the Varsity Reds out-shot the X-Men 13-9 in the period and 28-18 in the game.

- Tyler Carroll remained out of the line-up due to injury while Dylan Willick was also scratched. This meant the V-Reds dressed only 11 forwards to go along with 7 defenceman, making for some constant line juggling throughout the game.

- UNB was 1 for 3 on the power play. St. FX was 1 for 6.

- Attendance was a solid 2816.

- Nick MacNeil had a clear breakaway early in the second period as he got out of the penalty box at the exact moment the puck was being cleared down the ice. He rang his shot off the post.

- The game's three stars were MacNeil, Desnoyers, and Maschmeyer.

- Desnoyers matched his goal total from each of the last two years with his goal tonight. Meanwhile, MacDougall's two goals leave him one shy of the three he has scored in each of his first two seasons.

- MacNeil, Desnoyers, and Ben Shutron were the alternate captains.

- In other AUS action tonight Moncton thumped Saint Mary's 5-1 in their home opener, UPEI won by the same score on the road against Dalhousie, and Acadia needed a big 3rd period and 59 shots to get by St. Thomas 3-1 in Wolfville.  

- The V-Reds are back in action tomorrow night when they welcome the Saint Mary's Huskies to the AUC for the first time since game 3 of the AUS Finals, a game in which UNB won 2-0. It will be their first meeting since the University Cup final in March in Saskatoon, which UNB also won 2-0. Game time is 7PM.