Saturday, November 7, 2015

Gutsy Effort Leads To Victory

Despite playing four players short the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored three 3rd period goals to come up with a big 4-2 road win tonight against the UPEI Panthers in the always tough confines of the MacLauchlan Arena. UNB is now 8-0-1 on the season, three points clear of the 6-1-2 St. FX X-Men atop the conference.

Once again the Varsity Reds got off to a fantastic start - out-shooting UPEI 19-5 in the 1st period - but once again they ran into a hot goalie as Matt Mahalak made sure the game remained scoreless after the first 20 minutes. UNB did catch a break when the Panthers had a goal waved off when the referee blew the whistle just before the puck trickled through the legs of goalie Etienne Marcoux.

Despite being outplayed the Panthers jumped out front 4:35 into the 2nd period when the red hot Brent Andrews streaked down the left side and wired a shot into the top corner. The V-Reds were able to respond less than three minutes later after some sustained pressure in the Panthers zone. Matt Petgrave (Brace, Boudens) got the puck at the blue line and threw a soft shot towards the net that somehow made its way through a maze off bodies and in. However, the Panthers struck right back 2:21 later when Marcoux got caught out of the net after making a save and Marcus Power was able to take advantage of the ensuing scramble with an easy tap-in for a 2-1 lead. The V-Reds had a great opportunity late in the period when they had 94 seconds of 5-on-3 time, but the Panthers stood tall to preserve their lead heading into the 3rd period. Shots in the period were 18-9 for UNB.

The Varsity Reds dug deep in the 3rd period and were rewarded with three goals and the win. After killing off an early penalty Dylan Willick (Boudens, Murray) knotted the game 2-2 when Boudens began to circle behind the net before throwing the puck behind him against the flow of the cycle and out front where Willick was waiting to shoot it in before Mahalak could get back in position. The goal was very reminiscent to the one the two hooked up on in the National Championship game against Alberta. UNB caught their second huge break of the night at 8:24 when the Panthers had yet another goal waved off - this time on the power play - after Tyler Carroll and Mason Wilgosh were called for offsetting penalties moments before the puck went in. To make matters worse for the UPEI, the V-Reds killed off the rest of the penalty and took their first lead of the night only 21 seconds later at 9:09 of the period when Francis Beauvillier threw the puck towards the net and Rob Mignardi knocked in the rebound. Jordan Murray also got an assist on the goal. The Panthers had one more chance late in the game as Petgrave - one of UNB's 4 defencemen to play tonight - was sent off for a penalty with 3:58 remaining. So not only did UNB need to kill off the power play to preserve their one goal lead, but they needed to do it with only 3 defencemen. The V-Reds penalty killers, along with Marcoux, came up huge and UNB was able to put it away with an empty net goal with only 5 seconds left. Philippe Halley did some great work stick handling around the offensive zone to kill some time off the clock before finding Cameron Brace across the zone for a one timer into the empty net. UNB out-shot UPEI 11-8 in the period and 48-22 in the game.

- Forwards Philippe Maillet, Peter Trainor, and Stephen Anderson, and defencemen Marcus McIvor and Colin Suellentrop were all out of the line-up.

- UNB was 0 for 3 on the power play while UPEI was 0 for 5.

- Marcoux stopped 20 out of 22 shots to improve to 6-0-0 on the season.

- The V-Reds went 43 and 39 in the face-off circle with Willick winning 14 out of 23.

- Every UNB player registered a shot on goal with 8 different players having at least 4.

- Attendance was 793.

- Tonight marked Gardiner MacDougall's 300th career regular season victory. To put that into perspective, the previous 9 UNB coaches amassed a total of 306 wins from 1974-1975 until MacDougall began in 2000-2001.

- UNB is back on the road next Friday when they head to Wolfville for a big test against the Acadia Axemen. Game time is 7PM and can be seen live on AUStv.ca.