Saturday, March 14, 2015

V-Reds Move On To Finals

Philippe Halley led the way with 4 goals and the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds escaped with a 5-2 victory over the upstart Guelph Gryphons this afternoon at the University Cup in Halifax. UNB now moves on to their 10th National Championship game in school history where they will face either Alberta or UQTR tomorrow at 6:30PM AST.

After the Gryphons began the game with a couple of good shifts it was the Varsity Reds who struck just 1:45 into the game when Halley jumped on a loose puck in the crease and shoveled it in after Andrew D'Agostini's save of a Jordan Murray point shot took him out of position. Dana Fraser also got an assists on the goal. The V-Reds then took control of the game, holding a 10-1 shot advantage at one point, but the Gryphons took advantage of a UNB mistake in their own zone and were able to tie the game at 8:01. Colin Suellentrop reached up for a floating puck in front of the net when Seth Swenson leveled him, taking both players out of the play. Former Woodstock Slammer Nick Huard picked up the puck with no one near him and quickly fired it between David Shantz's legs. The game remained tied after one period of play with UNB out-shooting the Gryphons 15-4.

UNB went back up by a goal while on the power play 5:59 into the 2nd period when Cam Braes (Murray, Maillet) tipped a shot from the blue line for his 5th goal of the tournament. Once again Guelph had an answer, though, as Nicholas Trecapelli blasted a slap shot from the right circle that beat Shantz stick side for a power play goal at 7:33. The V-Reds responded almost as quickly when Maillet fed a beautiful saucer pass up and over a defenders stick on a 2-on-1 that Halley quickly snapped into the upper part of the net before D'Agostini could get across at 9:16. The period would play out without anymore scoring. Shots in the period were 18-7 for UNB.

The 3rd period was played pretty close to the vest with neither team generating much in way of offensive chances for the first 12 minutes or so. UNB had a golden opportunity to extend their lead with 6 minutes left when Cameron Brace, the trailer on a 3-on-1 rush, picked up a rebound and was all alone in front, but his shot was stopped by D'Agostini. Shortly afterwards Tyler Carroll was sent off for high-sticking, giving the Gryphons a chance to tie it up. The V-Reds came up with the clutch penalty kill and were able to control much of the play as time winded down, not allowing Guelph to pull their goalie. UNB was able to put the game away with just 1:05 remaining when Randy Gazzola made an excellent play at the boards near centre ice to keep the puck from being sent down the ice. After knocking down the puck with his body he broke into the Gryphons zone on a 3-on-1 with Cam Critchlow and Halley and out-waited the defender before finding Halley at the other side of the net for the easy tap-in goal. Halley added one more for good measure when he found the empty net from just inside the red line at 19:23. Shots in the period were 7-4 for UNB.

- R.D. Chisholm, Peter Trainor, and Francis Beauvillier all remained out of the line-up.

- UNB outshot the Gryphons 40-15 in the game.

- The Varsity Reds won 35 out of 61 face-offs with Dana Fraser (20 out of 27) doing the bulk of the work.

- Both teams were 1 for 2 on the power play in a game that was much more disciplined and less physical than what we have seen this weekend.

- Halley and D'Agostini were named the player's of the game.

- For the 2nd straight game the V-Reds found themselves in a close game into the 3rd period despite holding a significant edge in play, but for the 2nd straight game they were able to finally pull away at the end to make the game look more comfortable than it actually was.

- Chris Caissy took a knee to the face as he was falling to the ice and left the game for a brief period before eventually returning to the bench. Sportsnet reported that he broke his nose on the play.

- Colin Suellentrop was the only player for UNB not to register a shot on net.

- Halley tied Cam Braes and 6 others for the most goals scored in a University Cup game.

- Braes goal was his 5th all-time at the University Cup, tying Kyle Bailey and Lachlan MacIntosh for the 2nd most in school history. Only Daine Todd (6) has more.

- Attendance was 3564.

- The CIS game recap can be found here.

- The Gryphons will face the loser of this afternoon's Alberta/UQTR semi-final for the bronze medal tomorrow at 2PM.

- Of course the Varsity Reds await the winner of that game to see who they will face on the gold medal game tomorrow night. Game time is scheduled for 6:30PM AST and can be seen on Sportsnet 360.