Wednesday, March 4, 2015

UNB: 2014-2015 AUS Champions!

(Photo Credit: Daily Gleaner)
After a disappointing end to their 2013-2014 season the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds climbed back to the top of the AUS mountain after defeating the Acadia Axemen 4-2 tonight in Wolfville to win the AUS Championship in a two game sweep. UNB's 14th conference championship in school history - and 4th in 5 years - moves them into sole possession of 2nd place place all-time, behind only St. FX (24 titles).

- The Axemen got on the board just 3:24 into the game, taking their first lead of the series when Taylor Makin took advantage of a Jordan Murray turnover in his own end and beat David Shantz. UNB was able to respond at 10:22 after a goal mouth scramble ended with Rob Mignardi (Critchlow) finding the loose puck and getting it past Axemen goalie Brandon Glover. The Axemen regained the lead at 18:03 when Remy Giftopoulos backhanded in his 2nd power play goal of the series. Acadia took a 2-1 lead into the intermission. Shots in the period were 15-12 for UNB.

- The V-Reds scored the only goal of the 2nd period to tie the game at 2. After not scoring a goal in the regular season it was Chris Caissy (MacDougall, Murray) converting a big rebound for his 2nd of the playoffs to get UNB even heading into the 3rd period. Shots favoured Acadia 12-10 in the period.

- The Varsity Reds saved their best period for last, out-shooting the Axemen 17-6 in the frame. However, although UNB had slowly started to take over the game after the 1st period, the Axemen had a glorious opportunity to take the lead when they received a brief 16 second 5-on-3 power play with just under 8 minutes remaining. The V-Reds penalty killing, which was great in the postseason, came through with a big kill and they were finally rewarded for their efforts with just 1:48 remaining. Dana Fraser cleanly won a face-off back to Jordan Murray and Murray's wrist shot from the blue line was deflected past Glover by Philippe Halley, proving to be the championship winning goal. Dylan Willick closed it out with an empty net goal with just 14 seconds remaining.

- Shots in the game were 42-30 for UNB.

- UNB went with the same line-up as game 1 as defenceman Adrian Robertson and forwards Peter Trainor and Francis Beauvillier all remained out.

- Acadia was 1 for 5 on the power play. UNB was 0 for 4.

- Philippe Maillet, Halley, and Glover were named the game's three stars.

- UNB only won 25 out of 60 face-offs in the game. Dana Fraser (12 out of 23) was the only one of the three main centres (MacDougall, Willick) who was above 40% on the night.

- Every player on UNB had at least one shot on goal tonight and no one had a negative +/-.

- This is UNB's first victory in Wolfville in three tries this season.

- Recently minted AUS MVP Philippe Maillet added to his hardware collection by being named playoff MVP. Maillet scored 5 goals, to go along with 3 assists, in UNB's 7 postseason games.

- Jordan Murray led all AUS players with 9 playoff points. Maillet was tied for 2nd with his 8 points, Tyler Carroll and Cam Braes tied for 4th with 7 points, and Cam Brace was 7th with 6 points.

- David Shantz put up a 5-2 record, 2.31 GAA, and 0.893 in playing all 416 minutes during the Championship run.

- UNB has now won 3 straight playoff series over the Axemen, winning 8 out of the 9 games played.

- With the win the Varsity Reds have almost certainly guaranteed themselves at least a top-2 seed at next weeks University Cup in Halifax. It is likely the only way UNB can get the top overall seed is if #1 ranked Alberta loses to Calgary in the Canada West final this weekend.

- It is also quite likely they will be facing the OUA's 3rd place team (either Windsor or McGill) in the quarter-finals.

- The official announcement regarding the seeding and schedule for the tournament is expected to be made public Monday. We will have more information as it becomes available.