Saturday, October 31, 2015

V-Reds Pull Away Late

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick scored a pair of goals in the final period on route to an important 5-2 victory over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies tonight at the AUC. UNB is now 5-0-1 on the season and tied with Moncton and Acadia atop the AUS standings, albeit with one game in hand on both.

Unlike Friday night, this game got off to a sluggish start with neither team registering a shot in the first 5 minutes despite three power plays, including two for the V-Reds. Some very sloppy defensive zone play by the UNB led to Steven Shipley getting the visitors on the board first at 7:28 when his original shot was stopped, but got a second chance and fluttered a shot up and over netminder Etienne Marcoux. Just over a minute later UNB went on their 3rd power play of the game and this time they made it count. After some good puck movement Cameron Brace (Murray, Maillet) blasted a shot from the blue-line that may have been deflected by a Saint Mary's player before getting past Marc Terriault to tie the game at 9:54. It was Brace's league-leading 6th goal of the season. UNB took the lead just under 4 minutes later when defenceman Alex Wall (Mignardi, Marcoux) rushed the puck up the left side of the ice and into the Saint Mary's zone before lifting a backhander short side just over Terriault's shoulder at 13:38. The V-Reds would maintain the 2-1 lead until the end of the period, out-shooting SMU 15-6 in the opening 20 minutes.

 The Varsity Reds extended their lead at 7:59 of the 2nd period. A streaking Tyler Carroll had his redirect of a Mignardi pass stopped at the side of the net but he got his own rebound and squirted the puck between the post and the goaltender through the crease, where Chris Caissy was waiting to swipe the puck into the empty net for his first of the season. Despite UNB carrying the play and getting the majority of the good scoring opportunities, the Huskies were able to take advantage of one of their few chances at 15:18 to make it a one goal game again when Anthony Repaci took a pass from below the goal line and squeezed the puck past Marcoux from a tight angle at the left side of the crease. Shots in the period were 9-7 for UNB.

Surprisingly, given they had traveled all weekend, it was the Huskies who looked to be the fresher team in the 3rd period as they out-shot the Varsity Reds 11-5. However, UNB made two of those shots count as they scored both goals in the period to salt the game away. Alex Wall (Trainor, Maillet) made it a 4-2 game at 5:36 after receiving the puck at the left point and after briefly considering passing it down low to Trainor at the far post decided instead to wind up for a slap shot that beat Terriault cleanly. Just 3 1/2 minutes later the Varsity Reds struck again to give themselves their biggest lead of the night. Francis Beauvillier (Wall) lost the puck on a breakaway but had just enough time and speed to track it down before he got to the net, make a move, and slide the puck into the net. There were a bit of fireworks at 16:57 as Philippe Halley looked to take a hard check to the head up against the boards. There was no penalty called on the play much to UNB's chagrin and a scuffle ensued with Trainor and SMU's Steven Shipley, who delivered the hit, each receiving two minutes for roughing. Halley was able to skate off under his own power but was visibly shaken up. Fortunately, the rest of the game was played without any incident. Final shots were 29-25 for UNB.

- Stephen Anderson and Marcus McIvor remain out of the line-up with injuries.

- UNB went 1 for 6 on the power play. SMU was 0 for 2.

- Saint Mary's defenceman Jamie Doornbosch was assessed four minor penalties in the game.

- UNB dominated the face-off circle, winning 36 out 57 draws.

- Caissy had a game high 5 shots on goal.

- Mignardi (2 assists), Brace (1 goal), and Wall (2 goals, 1 assist) were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was only 1472 on the night, which was to be expected given Halloween.

- The V-Reds introduced a new 50-50 draw this weekend based on the popular Chase the Ace theme , called Shoot for Seven. The way it works is that the night's winner will be ensured 20% of the total jackpot and the V-Reds receive 50% of the pool. The other 30% goes into the Shoot for Seven pool. When the night's winner collects their 20% they will cut a deck of cards and if they get the 7 of hearts they win the pool that has accumulated to that point. If they don't draw the card the pool carries over to the next game and their card is removed from the deck. Neither winner this weekend drew the 7 of hearts so the next pool will contain 30% of the total raised from this weekend plus 30% of the total raised during the next game.

- In other AUS action Moncton outlasted St. FX 6-5 in overtime in Antigonish, Dalhousie thumped St. Thomas 5-1 at home, and Acadia skated to a 4-1 road victory over UPEI.

- UNB is back on the ice on Wednesday night when they host St. Thomas in the latest installment of the Battle of the Hill. Game time is 7PM at the AUC.