Saturday, November 8, 2014

Varsity Reds Edge Panthers

It wasn't their prettiest game but the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds used a pair of 3rd period goals by Philippe Halley to get past the visiting UPEI Panthers 4-2 tonight at the AUC. The V-Reds are now 8-1-1 on the season and tied for the top spot in the conference with the Saint Mary's Huskies.

- The game got off to a slow, uneventful start with neither team mustering much in the way of quality scoring chances. The game picked up in the latter half of the period, but there were no goals scored despite UNB holding a 14-8 advantage in shots.

- A four minute double minor by the Panthers late in the 1st period gave UNB a power play with fresh ice to begin the 2nd frame. It only took 1:35 for the V-Reds to make UPEI pay when Matt Petgrave dished the puck off to Randy Gazzola at the blue line. Gazzola skated down the half boards and threw a pass into the slot for Cameron Critchlow to redirect into the net. The suddenly-potent UNB power play struck again just over 3 1/2 minutes later after some nice cycle work in the corner by Cam Braes and Tyler Carroll. Carroll was able to sneak out in front of the net and one-time a Braes pass from behind the goal line that got by stick-less UPEI goaltender Matt Mahalak. Cameron Brace picked up the 2nd assist on the goal. Much like last the night the Varsity Reds were in control as they were leading 2-0 and out-shooting UPEI 18-9 at one point. However, in similar fashion as last night against Moncton, UNB took two quick penalties and UPEI used the opportunity to cut the lead in half, with Reginaldo Traccitto blasting a shot off the post and in just 16 seconds into the two man advantage. The V-Reds killed off the 5-on-4 to preserve the lead going into the 3rd period, but the momentum had shifted with UPEI out-shooting UNB 11-10 in the frame. There was a scary moment with 4.1 seconds remaining in the period when Panthers forward Tyler Brown went down hard behind the UNB net after checking defenceman Randy Gazzola. He had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher with what appeared to be an injury to right leg. The refs decided to have both teams leave the ice and proceed with the intermission.

- The two teams came back out after the break and played the final 4.1 seconds of the 2nd period before changing sides and beginning the 3rd. The Panthers were able to tie the game 4:18 into the 3rd period with the 4th power play goal of the night. Matthew Brenton fired a shot from the neutral zone that hit off the end boards and bounced right out in front of the net. Panthers captain Mason Wilgosh won the race to the puck and went far-side on V-Reds goalie David Shantz to make it 2-2. UNB was able to regain the lead just over two minutes later thanks to some nice tic-tac-toe passing by their top line. Philippe Maillet got the puck to Tyler Carroll in the slot, who wasted no time in finding a wide open Philippe Halley just below the opposite face-off circle for a one-timer that Mahalak couldn't react to in time. The Panthers pressed hard for the equalizer in the final minutes, but after some tense moments in front of the Varsity Reds goal Halley was able to chip the puck past a Panthers defenceman at the blue-line and go in all alone for the empty net goal that sealed the victory. Jordan Murray and Carroll got the assists on the insurance marker. Shots in the period were 11 apiece in the period. They favoured UNB 35-30 in the game.

- Alex Wall and Chris Caissy remained out of the line-up for UNB with undisclosed injuries.

- UNB was 2 for 7 on the power play while UPEI was 2 for 6.

- The V-Reds hit three posts in the game, including two by Cam Brace.

- UNB won 47 out of 84 face-offs with Cam Braes (16 out of 28) and Dylan Willick (13 out of 21) led the way.

- Braes, Carroll, and Petgrave were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was 2007.

- According to the RedSea database, UNB is now 17-1-0 in their last 18 games against UPEI. This includes 8 straight victories overall (6 regular season games and 2 playoff games) as well as 11 consecutive regular season wins.

- Since UNB amassed a weekend-high 38 shots last night against Moncton, the Papa John's Shots and Saves online discount on Tuesday morning will be 38%.

- Elsewhere around the conference tonight Moncton snapped their 4 game losing streak with a 5-3 win at home over St. Thomas and St. FX handed the CIS #2 ranked Acadia Axemen their 2nd home loss of the weekend with a 2-0 victory in Wolfville. Saint Mary's and Dalhousie both had the night off.

- UNB is back at home next weekend for a pair of huge games. On Friday night they welcome the Saint Mary's Huskies (8-1-1) to the AUC with first place on the line. The next night the 3rd place Acadia Axemen (7-3-0) come to town. Both games are scheduled for a 7PM start.