Monday, March 2, 2015

Maillet's 4 PP Goals Power UNB To Game 1 Rout

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds got off to a strong start in their quest for an AUS Championship, blitzing the visiting Acadia Axemen 8-2 tonight at the AUC in a game that even the most optimistic UNB fan probably would not have predicted. Conference scoring champion Philippe Maillet led the way with four power play goals as the Varsity Reds took a 1 game to 0 lead in the best-of-3 series AUS Finals.

The V-Reds got off to a quick start, scoring on their first two shots, and three of their first five. Maillet (Brace, Fraser) set the tone with a power play marker just 1:25 into the game and Cameron Brace (Braes, Carroll) doubled the lead just 1:55 later. Maillet (Brace, Murray) sent Axemen goalie Brandon Glover to the bench early with his 2nd power play goal of the game at 8:15. Acadia cut into the lead when Travis Randell beat David Shantz on a short breakaway at 15:30, but Jordan Murray (Fraser, Wall) restored the 3 goal cushion with just 25 seconds remaining in the period. Acadia argued the goal as it appeared that the puck went off Murray's skate as he drove the net, but it was ruled that there was no distinct kicking motion and the goal stood. Shots in the period were 11-8 for UNB.

The V-Reds started the 2nd period exactly how they started and ended the first, with a goal. This time it was Tyler Carroll (Murray, Braes), who's knuckle shot from the slot threw off the timing of Axemen back-up goalie Robert Steeves and found the back of the net. Acadia made it 5-2 just 15 seconds into a power play at 11:24 courtesy of a Remy Giftopoulus shot that went through a maze of bodies in front and into the top corner. However, some undisciplined play by the Axemen allowed the V-Reds to score another late goal. UNB was on the power play when the Acadia bench was assessed another penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the V-Reds a short 5-on-3 power play. Maillet (Murray, Brace) made them pay when he completed his power play hat trick with only 14 seconds remaining in the period, and just as the first power play expired. UNB would take a 6-2 lead into the intermission after out-shooting Acadia 14-7 in the frame.

A series of penalties marred the 3rd period as both teams seemed content to play out the string. UNB closed out the scoring with Maillet's (Braes, Fraser) 4th power play goal of the night at 8:01 and Colin Suellentop's (MacDougall) first career AUS playoff goal at 18:58. Shots favoured UNB 13-6 in the period and 38-21 in the game.

- Adrian Robertson was out of the line-up tonight after taking a hard hit in game 5 against St. FX that caused him to leave the game early. Matt Petgrave drew back in to replace him. Peter Trainor and Francis Beauvillier were also scratched.

- Acadia was missing two of their best players in high scoring defenceman Chris Owens and rookie of the year front runner Zachary Franko. It appears that neither player will play this series.

- Shantz was solid in goal, stopping 19 out of 21 shots, including a pair of big saves just after the Axemen had cut the lead to 3-1.

- Acadia was clearly perturbed by the refereeing tonight and it definitely took them off their game a bit as they took a few undisciplined penalties and were not short on words for the officials throughout. As a result they were called for 44 minutes in penalties compared to 18 for UNB.

- The V-Reds went 4 for 9 on the power play while the Axemen were 1 for 5.

- UNB won 37 out of 66 face-offs with Dana Fraser (14 out of 24) leading the way. Defenceman Randy Gazzola was forced to take a face-off and managed to win it to finish 100% on the night.

- Maillet (4 goals), Brace (1 goal, 3 assists), and Murray (1 goal, 3 assists) were named the game`s three stars.

- Attendance was 3119.

- This is the 6th straight time UNB has won game 1 of the AUS Finals. They have gone on to win the Championship in 5 of those instances. Their only loss was in 2009 against Saint Mary's when they won game 1 by a 5-1 score before losing the next two games. The last time they lost game 1 of an AUS Finals series was in 2007 when they were swept in two straight versus Moncton.

- UNB's 8 goals tonight is tied for the most they have scored in an AUS Finals game. They defeated Moncton 8-3 in game 1 in 2012.

- The Varsity Reds will attempt to close out the series on Wednesday night when they travel to Wolfville, where they have yet to win this year. Game time is 7PM and can be seen online at www.AUStv.ca.