Friday, January 9, 2015

V-Reds Prevail In Tight Contest

UPEI Panthers goaltender Mavric Parks did all he could to steal two points for his team, but despite a number of great saves it was the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds prevailing 3-1 in what was a tight-checking game tonight at the AUC. The V-Reds 5th straight win moves them to 13-2-2 on the season, one point behind the first place Acadia Axemen, but with one game in hand.

- It didn't take long for former Panther - and new V-Red - Dana Fraser to make an impact and haunt his former team as he got the scoring started 11:46 into the game. Fraser was able to find the puck during a scramble in front of the net and slide the puck along the ice into the far side of the net. Philippe Maillet and Philippe Halley got the assists on the play as Fraser took Tyler Carroll's place on the top line, with Carroll sliding down to the 2nd line with Cam Braes and Cam Brace. That was the only goal of the period as UNB out-shot UPEI 12-6.

- It would take until late in the 2nd period for the Varsity Reds to extend their lead, even though they had some glorious chances. UNB went on a 5-on-3 power play and were able to capitalize at 16:21 when a Jordan Murray shot was deflected in front of the net by Carroll. Maillet picked up his 2nd assist of the night on the goal. However, the ensuing 5-on-4 was cut short when Fraser took a penalty, and after some 4-on-4 play the Panthers were able to cut the lead in half at 18:31 with just 1 second left on their abbreviated power play. The teams headed to the intermission with UNB holding a 2-1 lead and out-shooting UPEI 15-6 in the frame.

- The 3rd period was tense with UNB failing to convert on back to back power plays in the first half of the period and the Panthers coming up empty on a man advantage shortly afterwards. It wasn't until there were only 11 seconds left in the game, and an empty net, before the V-Reds put this one away. Maillet got the puck from Halley and fired a shot from just inside the red line and into the gaping cage for the insurance marker. The shots favoured UNB 8-7 in the period and 35-19 in the game.

- Matt Boudens, Chris Caissy, and Matt Petgrave were all scratched tonight. Taylor MacDougall left the game early in the first period and never did return, which caused the line combinations to be in a constant flux all night.

- David Shantz once again got the start in net for UNB and turned in a solid game, turning away 18 out of the 19 shots directed his way. 

- Panthers goaltender Mavric Parks, Shantz, and Maillet were named the game's three stars.

- Parks currently leads the AUS in both GAA (2.06) and save percentage (0.933).

- Attendance was 2003 as the V-Reds held their annual "Pink in the Rink" night. The face-off circles were coloured pink and the players wore pink socks for the occasion.

- UNB was 1 for 5 on the power play. UPEI was 1 for 4.

- Fraser was wearing #27, previously worn by Tim Priamo.

- UNB dominated in the face-off circle, winning 46 out of 68 draws. Philippe Maillet was 13 for 15. Interestingly, Cam Braes, who is usually one of the team leaders in face-offs taken (along with Dylan Willick and Taylor MacDougall) only took two tonight, winning both.

- The V-Reds penalty kill came up huge early in the 2nd period when they took two penalties within 12 seconds of one another while still holding a 1-0 lead. Not only did they not give up a shot while two men down, but Dylan Willick had a breakaway and almost scored. 

- The Panthers did the crossbar twice early in the game. The V-Reds also hit a post in the 3rd period.

- Francis Beauvillier picked up a 10-minute misconduct with 7 minutes remaining in the game.

- In other action around the league tonight: Acadia scored with 1:03 remaining and held on to defeat Saint Mary's 5-4 in Wolfville, Dalhousie upset St. FX 3-2 at home despite being out-shot 40-17, and Moncton disposed of St. Thomas by a 6-3 score on home ice.

- The Varsity Reds will have tomorrow night off before traveling to Moncton for a rare Sunday afternoon game. Puck drop is scheduled for 2PM.