Thursday, March 12, 2015

V-Reds Pull Away From Lancers

Cam Braes scored 4 goals and the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds used a big 3rd period to defeat the Windsor Lancers 6-2 tonight at the University Cup in Halifax. The V-Reds will move on to play the OUA Champion Guelph Gryphons in the semi-finals on Saturday afternoon

The V-Reds started the game strong with sustained pressure and a couple of quick shots on Lancers goalie Parker Van Buskirk, but a lackluster early power play seemed to sap some of their momentum. The game evened out and both teams traded chances back and forth, although each team only managed three shots on goal at the midpoint of the period. Late in the period, after UNB had just killed off a Matt Boudens penalty, Tyler Carroll was sent off for hooking at 15:20. The V-Reds penalty kill, which was outstanding all night against one of the top power plays in the country, not only killed off the penalty, but was able to score a shorthanded goal. Rob Mignardi collected the puck behind the Lancers goal and found Cameron Critchlow all alone in front. Critchlow's initial shot was stopped, but he stuck with the puck and was able to push in a loose puck at 17:15. UNB took a 1-0 lead into the intermission and held a 9-4 shot advantage.

The Varsity Reds special teams stepped up again early in the 2nd period, but this time it was the power play coming through. Just after Dana Fraser's shot hit the post he got the puck back just to the left of Van Buskirk, made a few nifty stickhandling moves, and found Cam Braes in tight for the quick snap shot at 1:20. Just when it looked like the V-Reds were starting to take over the game - they had a couple of quality chances after the Braes goal - the Lancers took advantage of a turnover just outside the UNB blue line. The Lancers broke in on a 2-on-1 and it was Drew Palmer picking up the rebound for an easy tap-in goal at 6:13 to cut the lead in half. Both teams would get two power play chances before the end of the period, but the score remained 2-1 after two. UNB out-shot Windsor 10-5 in the frame.

The 3rd period was all UNB as the Lancers started to become unraveled. The V-Reds were forced to kill off an early power play and then were able to extend their lead at 7:29 after Van Buskirk bobbled a Tyler Carroll shot. Cam Braes was driving to the net and was able to punch the loose puck into the net for a 3-1 lead. Shortly after the goal the Lancers would go back to the power play - their 7th of the night - and they were finally able to break through. CIS Player of the Year Spencer Pommells took the puck near the left boards and fired a laser beam over David Shantz's right shoulder and into the top corner at 8:40 to cut the lead back to one. However, their momentum was short lived as Lancer Blake Blondeal took exception to something Braes did after a whistle and proceeded to cross-check him in the face, earning a 5-minute major and a game misconduct in the process. The Lancers problems were further exacerbated just under three minutes into the major when Mike Christou ran Braes, who was a target all night, and took an interference penalty. Braes then made them pay, in a big way. At 13:37, while on the 5-on-3, Braes picked up Jordan Murray rebound and quickly fired it into the net for his 3rd goal of the night. Then, just one minute later and still operating on the 5 minute power play, he struck again. Philippe Maillet's rushed down the left side and had his shot deflected by Van Buskirk's shoulder. However, the puck bounced high off the back boards and into the Lancers goalie's feet and Braes was able to poke the puck in before it could be covered up. Chris Caissy rounded out the scoring with an empty net goal with just 10 seconds remaining. Shots favoured UNB 19-3 in the period and 38-12 in the game.

- Peter Trainor, Francis Beauvillier, and R.D. Chisholm were all scratched.

- UNB was 3 for 8 on the power play. Windsor was 1 for 7.

- UNB won 45 out of 72 face-offs with Dana Fraser (17 out of 23) having a big night.

- Braes and Palmer were named the players of the game for their respective teams.

- Braes also had 2 goals and 2 assists in the V-Reds 6-5 win over the Lancers on January 3rd.

- Attendance was 3069.

- Not surprisingly, Braes' set a team record with 4 goals in a University Cup game. It also tied a tournament record, done 6 previous times.

- UNB's 6 goals are tied for their 2nd most ever at a University Cup game, only behind the 8 they scored against UQTR in 2013. This is the 7th time they have accomplished the feat. 

- UNB is now 11-1 in their last 12 games at the University Cup and 16-2 in their last 18.

- The V-Reds will now enjoy a day off before facing the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday afternoon in the national semi-final. Game time is scheduled for 12PM and can be seen on television on Sportsnet 360. The game will also be streamed online at www.CIS-SIC.tv, but on a pay-per-view basis.

- The other two quarter-finals are on tap for tomorrow. First up, at 1PM, the #4 seeded and OUA runner-up UQTR Patriotes take on the #5 seeded and AUS runner-up Acadia Axemen. At 7PM the #1 seeded and Canada West champion Alberta Golden Bears face-off against the host St. FX X-Men in front of what will undoubtedly be a large and boisterous crowd. Both games can be seen on www.CIS-SIC.tv. The two winners will move on to face on another in Saturday's 2nd semi-final, scheduled for 4PM.