Friday, October 3, 2014

V-Reds Head South This Weekend

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds make their annual trek south of the border this weekend for two tough games against NCAA competition. Tomorrow night they are in Boston to face the Boston College Eagles at 8PM AST and then the team travels to Orono, Maine for a tilt against the Maine Black Bears at 5PM AST on Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles begin the season ranked #4 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today pre-season polls as they return 21 players (including 7 NHL draft picks) from last season's squad that went 28-8-4 team and reached the Frozen Four for the 7th time since 2004. They have also added 3 freshman, including highly touted defenceman Noah Hanifin, who is considered to be one of the top prospects for the 2015 NHL draft. They also added drafted forwards Alex Tuch (18th overall in 2014) and Zach Sanford (61st overall in 2013). However, they did lose their top four scorers from last year - Hobey Baker winner Johnny Gadreau (80 points in 40 games), Kevin Hayes (67 points in 39 games), Bill Arnold (53 points in 40 games), and Kevin Hayes (67 points in 39 games), and captain Patrick Brown (30 points in 40 games)

Boston College has mirrored UNB's success in recent years, having won NCAA Championships in 2008, 2010, and 2012. They also captured titles in 1949 and 2001.

The two teams have played 6 times previously, with UNB going 1-4-1. The lone win was a 5-3 victory at the AUC on December 21st, 2008. They last played in 2012 with BC coming out on top 6-0.

Here are some links of interest regarding the game:

- The Boston College fan-site BC Interruption has done a fantastic job all week previewing the game. On Wednesday they posted their First Look at the game, on Thursday they interviewed our very own David Kilfoil to learn more about the V-Reds and the CIS in general, and today they posted their Final Thoughts/Predictions.

- It looks like BC will be streaming the game free of charge here, so that is a nice bonus considering most NCAA teams charge a fee, even for exhibition games. You can also follow along via Game Tracker.

The Black Bears are entering their 2nd season under head coach Red Gendron as he hopes to restore the program to its former glory. Maine finished 6th in the 11 team Hockey East last year with a 16-15-4 record. After making the NCAA Tournament 9 straight years from 1999-2007 the Black Bears have only made one appearance in the last 7 seasons (2012). The program has two National Championships to its credit (1993 and 1999).

Maine does return 10 of their top 12 scorers from last year's team, including top scorer, All-American, and new captain Devin Shore (43 points). Fellow All-American, defenceman Ben Hutton (29 points) is also a player to watch, especially on the power play as 9 out of his 15 goals came with the man advantage. The team currently features 4 NHL draft picks - Shore, Hutton, Blaine Byron, and incoming freshman Nolan Vesey.

The Varsity Reds and Black Bears have met every year since 2006 with the exception of 2011. This will be the 10th meeting between the two schools since Gardiner MacDougall became head coach of the V-Reds, with UNB amassing 2 wins, 6 losses (2 in overtime), and 1 tie. UNB's last win was a 7-6 shootout victory at the AUC on October 11th, 2008. Last season's game seen the V-Reds jump out to a 3-0 lead only to fall 4-3 in OT.

Here are a few links of interest regarding the game:

- Both the Bangor Daily News and Maine Black Bears web-site have game previews posted.

- The game will be broadcast online here. It looks like the video will cost $7.95 while the audio feed will be free. You can follow the game's stats live here.

- Both David Kilfoil and Eric Drummie will be tweeting and providing updates throughout both games this weekend. Give them both a follow.

Head-to-head records and history courtesy RedSea Database