Saturday, October 11, 2014

V-Reds Work Overtime For Opening Night Win

Cameron Critchlow scored the game winning goal in overtime as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds opened their 2014-2015 campaign with a 3-2 victory over the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers tonight in Charlottetown.

The V-Reds got on the board first when a Jordan Murray shot from the point somehow made its way through a number of bodies in front of Panthers goalie Mavric Parks and into the net 12:25 into the opening period. Colin Suellentrop and Cam Braes picked up the assists on UNB's first goal of the year. The score remained 1-0 for the remainder of the period as UNB out-shot UPEI 10-5.

The Panthers responded with a much stronger 2nd period. They tied the game at 14:02 when Cole MacMillan got a semi-breakaway and made a nice deke to slide the puck past UNB goaltender David Shantz. Just over two minutes later recently announced blue chip recruit Marcus Power was able to force a turnover in UNB's zone and threw a shot on net that deflected off of a defenceman's stick and in. Shots in the period were 12-10 for UNB.

Despite trailing after 40 minutes the V-Reds were playing well, forcing Parks to make a number of quality saves. The pressure paid off early in the period when Peter Trainor stole the puck and put towards the net, allowing Philippe Maillet to tip it past Parks at 4:32. Both teams traded good chances back and forth throughout the remainder of regulation, but neither would break the tie. Shots favoured UNB 16-7 in the period.

The Panthers had a couple of great chances to end the game in the extra session, but Adrian Robertson was able to break up a 2-on-1 and Shantz stood tall to make a couple of pivotal saves. Not long afterwards Critchlow potted the game winner with only 1:36 remaining, sending UNB to their first win of the year. Shots in the overtime period were 6-4 for UPEI, but 42-28 for UNB in the game.

- Tyler Carroll was out of the line-up for UNB as he recovers from a broken hand suffered in the game against Boston College last weekend. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Matt Petgrave was also out, meaning UNB with 6 defencemen and only 11 forwards.

- After a very successful pre-season, the UNB power play had a quiet night as they went 0 for 5 with the man advantage. UPEI was unsuccessful on both of their opportunities.

- Attendance was 1257 as the game was held at the Eastlink Centre, home of the QMJHL's Charlottetown Islanders.

- UNB was a very uncharacteristic 39 out of 83 on face-offs in the game. Taylor MacDougall, Dylan Willick, Cam Braes, and Cam Critchlow were all under 50% on the night.

- This is the 4th straight regular season game that these two teams have played in Charlottetown that has gone into overtime, and the 5th straight that has been decided by a single goal. UNB has won all of those games. 

- UNB has now won 4 straight season opening games.

- It is the 1st time in 3 tries the V-Reds have won their season opening game in Cahrlottetown, having lost 4-2 in 2010 and 4-3 in overtime in 2008.

- Acadia defeated Dalhousie 4-0 in the only other AUS game tonight. St. FX and Saint Mary's finally get their season going on Tuesday night when they meet in Antigonish.

- The next action for the Varsity Reds is this Friday night when they welcome the Dalhousie Tigers to the AUC for their home opener. Game time is 7PM.