Friday, February 20, 2015

V-Reds Go Up 2-0

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds now lead their best-of-5 AUS semi-final series against the St. FX X-Men 2-0 after eking out a 2-1 victory tonight at the AUC. With the win the V-Reds move within one win of a berth in the AUS Finals and, more importantly, the University Cup.

The game played out completely opposite to last night's 5-2 UNB win that featured a combined 76 shots on goal. The X-Men played the frustrating style that we are more accustomed to seeing from them, limiting UNB's time, space, and scoring chances. After a scoreless first period in which UNB held a 9-6 advantage in shots the V-Reds didn't generate a shot on net for about the first 5 minutes of the 2nd period. They finally broke through at 8:26 when Jordan Murray (Brace, Willick) received a pass from the side boards as he was streaking in from the blue line unnoticed. Murray quickly closed in on X-Men goalie Drew Owsley before ripping a shot off the crossbar and in. The V-Reds would take the 1-0 lead into the 2nd intermission, despite out-shooting St. FX 14-4 in the period. The 3rd period began similarly to the 2nd for UNB as they failed to get a shot on net until there were just over 10 minutes to play. To make matters worse, the X-Men tied the game at 5:57 just after their power play expired when Ted Stephens jammed the puck past David Shantz during a goal-mouth scramble. However, the Varsity Reds were not to be denied on this night and Cameron Brace (Carroll, Braes) scored what proved to be the game winner at 11:41 when he entered the X-Men zone, cut across the ice, and took a shot that grazed a defender just enough to flutter past a fooled Owsley. It was one that the X-Men goalie would undoubtedly like to have back. St. FX pressed for the tying goal, pulling Owsley with 1:06 remaining, but even though they held the puck in UNB's zone for the majority of the time they failed to create anything dangerous. Shots in the period favoured the X-Men 9-5 though UNB held the advantage in the game 28-19.

- UNB went with the exact same line-up as last night, meaning Peter Trainor, R.D. Chisholm, and Chris Caissey were scratched.

- The X-Men were without defenceman Trey Lewis (suspended for his 5 minute major for checking from behind last night) and leading goal scorer Blake Gal (suspended after picking up his 3rd 10-minute misconduct of the season last night). They have also been without forward Cole Grbavec (9 goals, 5 assists this season) for both game thus far after he was injured against UPEI.

- Neither team was particularly effective on the power play with UNB going scoreless on 4 chances and St. FX on 5.

- Brace, Murray, and Dylan Willick were the game's three stars.

- David Shantz was solid once again in net for the V-Reds, including making a couple of saves on breakaway.

- UNB won 34 out of the 64 face-offs in the game. Dylan Willick had the best night, winning 9 out of 14 draws.

- Attendance was 2662.

 - Matt Petgrave's hip check on X-Men Steven Kuhn last night received some attention from both TSN and The Hockey News today.

- The V-Reds will look to wrap up the series on Sunday night when it moves to Antigonish for game 3. Game time is 7PM and can be seen on The other series between Acadia and Saint Mary's will also resume that night in Halifax.