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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Axemen Outlast V-Reds In Shootout

Acadia Axemen forward Zachary Franko is proving to be a thorn in the side of the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds. The sophomore, who scored an overtime winner at the AUC last season, once again came through in extra time, tonight in a shootout, to give the visiting Acadia Axemen a 3-2 victory over the previously undefeated V-Reds tonight at the AUC.

This was a game in which one could argue the turning point was the very 1st period as Acadia, and goaltender Brandon Glover in particular, weathered a storm. The V-Reds took the game's first nine shots and out-shot the Axemen 18-6 overall in the opening 20 minutes, but they were only able to gain a 1-0 lead. With 58 seconds left in the period Cameron Brace forced a turnover at centre ice and went in on a 2-on-1. Brace used Tyler Carroll as a decoy and snapped the puck past Brandon Glover.

UNB continued their dominance into the 2nd period but two quick Axemen goals, at 7:55 and on a 5-on-3 power play at 9:40, gave Acadia the lead and got them back on track. From that point on the game was much more evenly played. The V-Reds managed to tie the game with another last minute goal, this time at 19:37 when Cameron Critchlow (Boudens, Suellentrop) drove hard to the net and shoveled in a loose puck during a scramble in the slot. Shots in the period were 14-7 for UNB.

Outside of a Acadia power play just after the midpoint of the 3rd period the final 30 minutes of the game were largely uneventful. The shots were even 8-8 in the 3rd and Acadia held a 4-3 advantage during the 10 minute 4-on-4 overtime period. The V-Reds ultimately out-shot the Axemen 43-25 in the game.

The game headed to a shootout and after the first five shooters all failed, including Brace, Caissy, and Maillet, Franko was able to end the game after deking V-Reds goalie Alex Dubeau and sliding a backhander between his legs for the game winner.

- Jordan Murray made his return to the line-up tonight, but Marcus McIvor and Stephen Anderson both remained out.

- UNB went 0 for 3 on the power play. Acadia clicked on 1 out of their 5 opportunities.

- The V-Reds won 37 out of the 63 face-offs in the game.

- Axemen goalie Brandon Glover had a nice bounce back game after surrendering 3 goals on 5 shots in his last game at the AUC, which was game 1 of last season's AUS Finals.

- Glover, Brace, and Franko were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was 1948.

- The two teams combined to hit a handful of posts and crossbars in the game.

- This is the 3rd straight year Acadia has beaten UNB at the AUC and all 3 games have been decided in extra time (2 in a shootout and 1 in overtime). Interestingly, the last time UNB lost a conference home game in overtime/shootout to a team OTHER than Acadia was a 3-2 overtime loss to Moncton in January of 2009. Since then they are 1-3 against Acadia in such games and 8-0 against the rest of the AUS.

- It is the 6th straight season Acadia has beaten UNB. The V-Reds haven't swept the Axemen in a season series since the 2009-2010 campaign.

- UNB has now lost 8 out of their last 15 games against Acadia, although 4 of those games have been decided after regulation so their record is 7-4-4.

- Despite that, the V-Reds are still 22-0-3 in their last 25 games against Acadia at the AUC.

- Elsewhere around the conference this evening, St. FX picked up a 5-3 home win over St. Thomas, Moncton doubled Dalhousie 4-2 in Halifax, and Saint Mary's won by the same 4-2 score in Charlottetown against UPEI.

- The Varsity Reds won't have too much time to dwell on this one as they will face another stiff test tomorrow night when the Saint Mary's Huskies come to town for a Halloween night battle between two nationally ranked teams. Game time is 7PM.

UNB Awarded 2017 And 2018 University Cup

The CIS announced some big news for Varsity Reds hockey fans and the city of Fredericton today - the University of New Brunswick have been named the host of the 2017 and 2018 men's hockey championship.

We learned in September that UNB, along with the University of Toronto, had placed bids on the tournament and today it was confirmed that the University Cup would be returning to Fredericton for a 3rd time. This news is both surprising and not surprising. It is surprising in the sense that this will be UNB's 5th and 6th times hosting the tournament since 2003, as well as the 9th and 10th time the AUS has hosted it in the last 16 years (Alberta in 2005 and 2006, Lakehead in 2009 and 2010, and Saskatoon in 2013 and 2014 being the others), so it was thought that maybe the CIS would lean towards Toronto in an effort to "spread the wealth" so to speak. On the other hand, it isn't surprising given both UNB's success of hosting this event in the past along with their year in and year out competitiveness on the ice, something Toronto couldn't match. It is apparent the CIS, and possibly Rogers Sportsnet, who stated that they wanted to hold championships in locations that looked good on television, weighed the latter more heavily than the former when making their decision.

This is an exciting time for the Varsity Reds and their fans and there is no doubt the planning is well underway. The exact dates have not been released yet but we will do our best to keep you up to date on everything leading up to the event.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

V-Reds Podcast, Injuries

A few notes of interest:

- The V-Reds have launched a UNB hockey podcast, hosted by UNB Law student Matt Ryder. The inaugural episode was released today and features an interview with head coach Gardiner MacDougall. The 30+ minute chat touches on a number of subjects, including a look back at last season, the new recruits, the return of Mike Thomas and Cam Braes, their recent success against NCAA/AHL competition, the upcoming weekend against Acadia and Saint Mary's, and the New York Mets chances of making a World Series comeback. The hope is that a new podcast will be released every two weeks and contain interviews with staff and players among others. 

- In his profile of Matt Petgrave that will appear in tomorrow's Daily Gleaner (subscription required), Bruce Hallihan says defenceman Jordan Murray is expected to be back in the line-up tomorrow night against Acadia after missing the previous three games. However, Marcus McIvor and Stephen Anderson will miss both games this weekend.

- It also appears that Francis Beauvillier and Philippe Halley will both be eligible to play despite each receiving a 5 minute major and game misconduct last Saturday night in the game against Harvard. This is obviously good news for a Varsity Reds team that is battling injuries.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

CIS Top Ten (#3): V-Reds Take Over Top Spot

For the first time sine February 19th, 2013 the UNB Varsity Reds are the top ranked CIS men's hockey team in the country, overtaking the defending University Cup champion Alberta Golden Bears in the latest CIS men's hockey national rankings released today. The Golden Bears had been ranked 1st in the last 29 national polls dating back to February 4th, 2014.

The Varsity Reds received 15 of 16 first place votes for 159 points, moving into the top spot for the 85th time in school history.

The Saskatchewan Huskies moved up to the second spot after receiving the other first place vote and 137 points. Alberta now sits third, their lowest ranking since October of 2012, after receiving 132 points.

Other AUS teams in the top ten include Acadia (#7), Saint Mary's (#8), and St. FX (#9). Moncton was ranked 13th.

The rankings should get sorted out further after this upcoming weekend as UNB hosts #7 Acadia on Friday night and #8 Saint Mary's Saturday night. Meanwhile, #2 Saskatchewan welcomes #3 Alberta to Saskatoon for a doubleheader.

The full press release can be found here.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

V-Reds Salvage Tie Against Crimson

UPDATE: The Harvard website has a game recap posted, complete with highlights and post-game comments from head coach Ted Donato.

In what is becoming a fairly common refrain this season, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored two 3rd period goal to erase a 3-1 deficit and settled for a 3-3 tie against the NCAA's Harvard Crimson. This completes an impressive exhibition stretch against NCAA/AHL teams this season in which the V-Reds went 3-1-1.

- Matt Petgrave (Halley, Carroll) got UNB on the board 3:13 into the game when he took a drop pass and rifled a shot past Crimson netminder Michael Lackey.

- From there special teams was the story of the game with the final 5 goals all coming by way of the power play. Harvard scored with the man advantage at 18:16 of the 1st period to tie the game before adding two more in the 2nd period - at 4:57 on a two man advantage and then at 14:03 on a 5 minute major to Philippe Halley - to take a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period.

- The Varsity Reds answered with a pair of power play goals in the final 20 minutes to tie it up. Rob Mignardi (Caissy, Gazzola) drew UNB back within a goal at 8:24. However, the momentum was stalled two minutes later when Francis Beauvillier was assessed a 5 minute major and game misconduct. UNB killed off the penalty and made Harvard pay for taking a penalty with just under two minutes remaining. Cam Critchlow (Mignardi, Gazzola) was able to square the game with only 88 seconds remaining. The V-Reds successfully killed off a late penalty that carried over into overtime and neither team was able to find the back of the net in the 5 minutes of extra time, resulting in a 3-3 tie.

- UNB once again played shorthanded as Stephen Anderson, Jordan Murray, and Marcus McIvor all remained out of the line-up while Philippe Maillet (illness) took the pre-game warm-up but didn't play, leaving them with only 15 skaters. The problem was further exacerbated when Philippe Halley and Francis Beauvillier were handed 5 minute majors and game misconducts. It is unclear how this will affect their availability for Friday night's game against Acadia, but if they are forced to sit out another game (like they would have to if they were ejected from a CIS game) that could leave UNB in a very tough position with the possibility playing several players short.

- It sounds like the officiating was a bit "questionable" in this one. UNB went 2 for 4 on the power play while Harvard had 8 opportunities, including two that were for 5 minutes, and scored 3 times.

- Overall UNB picked up 44 minutes in penalties on 11 infractions and Harvard was assessed 5 minor penalties for 10 penalty minutes. The V-Reds played over 19 minutes of the game shorthanded while spending under 5 minutes with the man advantage. To be fair, those numbers are skewed a tad since UNB scored early on two of their power plays.

- UNB certainly carried the play at even strength. 

- Shots in the game were 30-23 for Harvard. Period totals were 12-6, 8-7, 8-8, and 2-2.

- Etienne Marcoux went the distance in goal and was solid in stopping 27 out of 30 shots.

- After dominating the face-off circle against Maine UNB struggled tonight, only winning 29 out of 65.

- Attendance was 355.

- UPEI was the only other AUS team in action tonight, falling 7-0 to Dartmouth on exhibition play.

- The V-Reds are back to conference play next weekend with a pair of huge games at the AUC. On Friday night they entertain the Acadia Axemen before welcoming the Saint Mary's Huskies the next night for a Halloween night affair. Both games are set for a 7PM start.
 



UNB vs. Harvard

The Varsity Reds continue their trip to the United States tonight with a match-up against the NCAA's Harvard Crimson in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Game time is scheduled for 8PM AST at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.

This will mark only the 5th time these two schools have faced each other, and the first time since Gardiner MacDougall's first season in 2000-2001. UNB has never defeated Harvard, losing 6-2 in 1994, 3-2 in 1999, 4-1 in 2000, and 4-1 again in 2001.

The 9th ranked Crimson, coached by former NHLer Ted Donato, should prove to be a tougher opponent than Maine was last night. Harvard is coming off of a 2014-2015 season in which they went 21-13-3, won the ECAC hockey tournament, and made an appearance in the NCAA tournament. They feature 8 NHL draft picks on their roster, including Hobey Baker finalist Jimmy Vesey (Nashville, 66th overall, 2012). Vesey posted 32 goals and 26 assists in 37 games last year. He was a member of the United States gold medal winning team at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship as well as their bronze medal team at the 2015 World Championships.

However, one thing that might be working in UNB's favour is that unlike Maine, who already had a handful of non-conference games under their belt going into last night, Harvard is just beginning their season. The Ivy League teams, who are part of the ECAC conference, start their season later than the other teams so Harvard will be playing just their second game of the season tonight. The Crimson defeated UPEI 3-1 in a scrimmage last night. The Varsity Reds will no doubt look to take advantage of a team that is still figuring out line combinations and chemistry.

- Harvard has a game preview posted.

- You can watch the game on the Ivy league Digital Network, but it will cost $9.95 US for a Harvard "School Day Pass".

- The UPEI Panthers are the only other AUS team in action tonight as they travel to Hanover, New Hampshire for an exhibition game against the NCAA's Dartmouth Big Green.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Undermanned Reds Rout Maine

UPDATE2: The University of Maine Black Bears website and USCHO.com have both posted recaps as well.

UPDATE: The Bangor Daily News have posted their game recap.

The shorthanded University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds posted an impressive 5-1 victory over the University of Maine Black Bears tonight in Orono, Maine. It is UNB's first victory over Maine since a 7-6 shootout win in 2008. It is also the largest margin of victory the V-Reds have ever posted over the Black Bears.

The Varsity Reds came out flying in this one and dominated the 1st period, out-shooting the Black Bears 16-6, but each team managed a goal. UNB got on the board first at 4:13 when Philippe Maillet broke in on a semi-breakaway and had the puck roll off his stick when he tried to go backhand to forehand, fooling Maine goalie Sean Romeo. Despite being outplayed the Black Bears managed to head to the intermission tied thanks to a goal with 18 seconds remaining. A cross-crease pass got goaltender Alex Dubeau moving left to right, but when the puck got tied up in Colin Suellentrop's skates Brendan Robins was able to bang the puck in before Dubeau could get back in position.

The Black Bears had a much better 2nd period and was probably the better team overall, but it was UNB getting the only two goals of the period. At 14:23 Maillet did most of the work as he took the puck from the left face-off circle and weaved through the defense on his way to the net. With only the goalie left to beat Maillet slid the puck over to Philippe Halley, who was waiting all alone at the side of the net for the easy tap-in. Randy Gazzola was credited with the secondary assist on the goal. Maillet, who was dangerous every time he touched the puck tonight, struck again just 4 seconds into a power play with only 14 seconds remaining in the period. After a scramble off of a face-off to the left of the Black Bears Maillet found himself behind the defense with the puck. He made no mistake in deking around Romeo and sliding the puck into the left side of the cage. UNB would take a 3-1 lead into the final period. Shots were 11-6 for Maine.

The V-Reds were able to put the game away with another pair of goal in the first half of the 3rd period. At 4:41 Gazzola, who had just gotten back on the ice after taking a penalty, received the puck after a Francis Beauvillier face-off win and drifted a shot from the blue-line through traffic and into the top corner. Just over 6 minutes later, at 10:50, it was Beauvillier getting the goal when he ripped a one-timer past Romeo on a feed from Chris Caissy. That would be all of the scoring, although UNB kept the pressure up for the remainder of the period and had a number of great chances to extend their lead. Shots favoured Maine 9-7 in the period while UNB held the overall advantage 29-26.

- As mentioned, the Varsity Reds played the game with a short roster as Stephen Anderson, Jordan Murray, and Marcus McIvor were all out. UNB only dressed 4 defencemen and Gazzola, Suellentrop, Alex Wall, and Matt Petgrave did fantastic job all night despite all playing huge minutes.

- Alex Dubeau was solid in net, stopping 25 out of the 26 shots directed his way.

- UNB dominated in the face-off circle, winning 44 out of the 66 draws in the game.

- There were only 7 minor penalties called in the game. UNB went 1 for 2 on the power play while Maine was 0 for 3.

- Maillet was named the game's first star. Dubeau was the second star.

- Attendance was 4521.

-In conference play tonight St. FX recovered from blowing a 4-2 3rd period lead to defeat Dalhousie 5-4 in overtime in Antigonish, Acadia beat Saint Mary's 5-2 in Halifax, and Moncton got a 4-1 road win over St. Thomas. UPEI fell 3-1 in a scrimmage to Harvard.

- Up next for the Varsity Reds is a date with the Harvard Crimson tomorrow night in Boston. Game time is 8PM AST.

UNB vs. Maine

Although the Varsity Reds have the weekend off from conference play they will still be hitting the ice for some exhibition action. Tonight they head to Orono, Maine for their almost-annual tilt against the NCAA's University of Maine Black Bears. Game time is 8PM AST.

This will mark the 25th meeting all-time between the schools with UNB managing 5 wins, 15 losses, 1 tie, and 3 overtime/shootout losses so far. The V-Reds haven't defeated Maine since turning the trick in back to back year in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. You can find the complete breakdown here.

Once annual championship contenders, the Black Bears have struggled the last number of years and that has continued in the early going this season. Maine is 0-3-2 thus far, having only scored 5 goals in those games. They have been shutout in their last two games so it is apparent that putting the puck in the back of the net has been a major issue for them.

A few more notes about tonight's game:

- The Black Bears feature two NHL drafts picks in forwards Nolan Vesey (Toronto, 158th overall, 2014) and Blaine Byron (Pittsburgh, 179th overall, 2013).

- Interestingly, the Black Bears have been testing out the U-HWK Show camera in recent days. The camera is 1.2 ounces and mounts to the front lip of a player's helmet. It is designed to allow athletes to capture in-game, point-of-view footage. The camera was created by former Varsity Reds Shea Kewin and Tim Priamo.

- The Bangor Daily News has posted a game preview and capsule.

- The Black Bears website also has a preview.

- For those you can't make it to the game, it will be web-cast for free. As mentioned, it gets underway at 8PM AST.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

CIS Top Ten (#2): No Change At The Top

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds remained the second ranked team in the country according to the latest CIS men's hockey rankings released earlier this week.

UNB earned 6 first place votes and 9 second place votes for a total of 141 points from the panel of media members from across the country. The defending champion Alberta Golden Bears once again occupy the top spot after receiving 9 first place nods and 6 second place votes for a total of 144 points.

Other AUS teams to make the rankings this week include Saint Mary's (3rd) and Acadia (6th). St. FX and UPEI also received votes but did not place in the top ten, ranking 11th and 14th respectively.

You can read the full press release here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

UNB Tops Tommies

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds improved to 4-0-0 on the season with a 5-1 road victory over the St. Thomas Tommies tonight at the Grant*Harvey Centre. The V-Reds take over sole possession of first place with the win.

- UNB received 1st period goals from Francis Beauvillier (from MacDougall at 7:46) and Philippe Mailliet (on the power play from Brace and Wall at 9:46) and 2nd period markers from Cameron Brace (on the power play from Halley and Maillet at 2:48) and Dylan Willick (from Brace and Carroll at 6:16). Cameron Critchlow (Brace) rounded out the scoring with a tally 3:36 into the 3rd period. Rankyn Campbell scored the Tommies lone goal at 18:10 of the 2nd period on the power play to make it a 4-1 game at the time.

- Shots in the game were 31-21 for UNB with period totals of 10-7, 7-7, and 14-7.

- Etienne Marcoux stopped 20 out of 21 shots to get the win in net.

- UNB was 2 for 4 on the power play while STU was 1 for 5.

- The stars of the game were Maillet (1 goal, 1 assist), Brace (1 goal, 3 assists), and Campbell (1 goal).

- UNB won 38 out of 65 face-offs with Halley faring the best with 8 wins on 13 draws.

- Stephen Anderson, Jordan Murray, and Chris Caissy (suspension) were all out of the line-up, leaving UNB with only 16 skaters on the night. .

- The V-Reds received what might be a disastrous blow when defenceman Marcus McIvor had to be helped off the ice in the 3rd period with what appeared to be a left leg injury. With only 6 defencemen on the roster and Murray already out this meant UNB had to play the rest of the game with only 4 d-men. If either player is expected to miss significant time this could prove to be costly.

- In other games around the conference tonight St. FX handed Saint Mary's their first loss of the season by a 5-3 score in Antigonish, Moncton doubled up UPEI 4-2 at home, and Dalhousie stunned Acadia with a 4-3 shootout win in Halifax in a game the Axemen tied with only 4 seconds left in regulation.

- In a weird quirk in the schedule this year, the V-Reds (and UPEI)  have the weekend off from conference play. Instead, UNB will head down to the US to face a pair of NCAA teams. On Friday night they face the Maine Black Bears and on Saturday night they go up against the Harvard Crimson. Both games are scheduled for an 8PM puck drop.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Braes Returning To UNB

File this under the "didn't see coming" department. According to the Varsity Reds website forward Cam Braes has decided to return to school and will join the team for the 2nd half.

After three seasons at UNB Braes graduated in the spring. He signed with the Texas Stars of the AHL in early July but had been assigned to the their East Coast Hockey League - the Idaho Steelheads - on October 5th. Rather than play in the ECHL Braes decided it was in his best interest to return to school and earn his Masters Degree in Kinesiology.

Although he is back on campus and can practice with the team, eligibility restrictions means Braes can't play in any games until after Christmas.

Obviously any time you can add a player of Braes stature into the line-up it is a huge addition. The veteran has tallied 69 points (26 goals, 43 assists) in 82 career regular season games. However, he has proven to raise his play even further in the playoffs, posting 18 points (7 goals, 11 assists) in 18 playoff games and 5 goals in 6 career games at the University Cup. He helped lead UNB to a National Championship in 2013 and a runner-up finish last season. Considering UNB never really filled the void at center left by his and Dana Fraser's departure, it would be reasonable to assume that he will slot right back into one of the top-2 center roles.

In terms of how this affects the roster, the addition of Braes means that the V-Reds now have 21 skaters. With a roster cap of 22 skaters this leaves them with the ability to add one more skater. Since they now have 15 forwards and 6 defenceman one would have to think they will be looking at adding another defenceman to round out the roster. Unfortunately, with Braes and Mike Thomas unable to play until the 2nd half and Stephen Anderson currently injured it leaves the V-Reds with only have 18 healthy skaters (12 forwards, 6 defenceman) available at the moment, just enough to ice a full squad. This mean they really cannot afford anymore injuries right now, especially to a defenceman. Hopefully this does not hurt them and they can get through the 1st half relatively unscathed.

V-Reds Hold Off Tigers

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds gave up a 1st period goal and a 3rd period goal, but scored three in the 2nd period on their way to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Dalhousie Tigers tonight at the AUC. UNB is now 3-0-0 on the young season, joining the Saint Mary's Huskies, Western Mustangs, and Saskatchewan Huskies as the only remaining unbeaten teams in the CIS.

The V-Reds dominated the opening period both territoriality and on the shot-clock (17-8) but it was the Tigers getting on the board first on the power play at 14:41. Dalhousie moved the puck around well before finding Andrew Wiggington with time and space in front for the quick one-timer from the left hash marks that got past Alex Dubeau, making his first start of the season.

UNB started the 2nd period on the power play and it only took 34 seconds to tie it after Jordan Murray took matters in to his own hands and went coast-to-coast for the unassisted tally. Murray collected the puck near his goal line and turned up ice. He deked around a forward just inside the Tigers blue-line, split the defense, then finally backhanded a shot into the top right corner. The Varsity Reds took their first lead of the night at 7:57 just after killing off a shorthanded situation. Philippe Halley pushed the puck forward on a neutral zone face-off and Philippe Maillet was able to steal the puck from a Tigers defenceman at the blue-line before skating down the left side and firing a slap shot from the face-off circle that beat Corbin Boes. UNB extended the lead late in the period on the power play after some tic-tac-toe passing from the top line. Maillet collected an errant shot along the side boards, found Halley down low on the goal line, and Halley fed the puck to Peter Trainor as he skated down the slot. Trainor fired a wrist shot from between the two hash marks to make it a 3-1 game just 12 seconds into the man advantage at 17:19 of the period. UNB would take that lead into the intermission after out-shooting Dalhousie 17-3 in the frame.

The Tigers cut the lead back to a goal early in the 3rd period after V-Reds forward Chris Caissy was assessed a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for a hit to the head at 3:51. UNB caught a break when Dalhousie took a penalty off the ensuing face-off to make it 4-on-4, however with 1:56 left in the major to Caissy a scramble to the right of Dubeau resulted in Phil Gadoury knocking the puck out of the air and into the net to make it 3-2. The V-Reds managed to kill off the rest of the major and hold on for the rest of the game. despite Dalhousie pulling the goalie with just under a minute remaining, to pick up the win. Shots in the period were 6-4 for UNB.

- Shots in the game were 40-15.

- Stephen Anderson was once again the lone scratch.

- The game's three stars were Maillet, Murray, and Tigers goaltender Corbin Boes.

- Alex Dubeau stopped 13 out of 15 shots to pick up his first regular season victory.

- UNB won 42 out of the 66 face-offs in the game. Dylan Willick led the way with 14 wins in 19 chances.

- Attendance was 1885.

- Chris Caissy will almost certainly be suspended for a game after picking up a 5 minute major penalty and game misconduct for his hit to the head.

- To say it was a chippy affair would be an understatement. The team's combined for 121 penalty minutes on 27 infractions.

- The V-Reds have now won 17 straight home games and 13 straight games overall against the Tigers.

- In other AUS action the UPEI Panthers finished off a perfect weekend at home with a 5-3 win over St. FX, Acadia blanked St. Thomas 4-0 at home, and Saint Mary's held off Moncton 4-3 in Halifax.

- The V-Reds see their next action on Wednesday when they play their first "road" game of the year, making the 5 km drive up the hill to face the St. Thomas Tommies at the Grant*Harvey Centre. Game time is 7PM.

Friday, October 16, 2015

V-Reds Rally Late, Top X-Men In OT

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds never led until it mattered as they overcame three one goal deficits to eventually prevail 4-3 in overtime over the visiting St. FX X-Men tonight at the AUC. Sophomore defenceman Randy Gazzola provided the heroics, helping UNB improve to 2-0-0 on the season.

The first period was a typical St. FX type of game against UNB with neither side able to generate much offensively before the X-Men got a late power play and took advantage of a fortunate bounce. Just 4 seconds into the man advantage a shot from the point hit the back boards behind goalie Etienne Marcoux and bounced in front of the net, where Eric Locke was waiting to put it in to give the X-Men a 1-0 lead with 1:33 left in the period. Shots in the frame were 9-7 for UNB.

UNB was able to respond with a pair of goals in the 2nd period to tie the game. Francis Beauvillier received a nice drop pass from Philippe Maillet near the X-Men blueline and drove wide around the defence and to the net before backhanding a shot up and over Drew Owsley to tie the game 1-1 at 2:40. However, the X-Men responded in the first half of a four minute power play to re-take the lead at 5:07 on a high, rising shot through traffic by Blake Gal. The V-Reds killed off the remaining 2:45 of the power play and managed to tie the game for a second time at 17:05. After some great work along the boards behind the X-Men net Beauvillier was able to shake free of a defender and find Cameron Brace in the slot and before you could blink Brace had deposited it into the net. Chris Caissy picked up the secondary assist on the play. The teams would head to the locker room tied 2-2 after a period in which UNB out-shot the visitors 8-5.

The X-Men took the lead for the 3rd time on the evening 2:13 into the 3rd period when Craig Duininck converted after a flurry of activity in front of Marcoux. This allowed the X-Men to go into a defensive shell as we have seen many times in the past. They focused on getting pucks deep, clogging up the neutral zone, and not taking any unnecessary risks offensively. This strategy stifled the V-Reds for much of the period but an X-Men penalty with 6:02 remaining to be costly with UNB taking just 7 seconds to tie the game. Rob Mignardi (Beauvillier, Caissy) made a great play to keep the puck in the offensive zone just off the face-off, circled around, and slapped a laser beam from the top of the left face-off circle into the top corner to knot things at 3. The V-Reds got another chance on the power play shortly afterwards but were unable to convert. This proved to be the best chance by either team before the end of regulation and the game would head to overtime. UNB out-shot St. FX 15-12 in the period.

The first couple minutes of the 4-on-4 overtime were evenly played but after that it was all Varsity Reds. They finally broke through with 2:24 remaining when Randy Gazzola (Carroll, Wall) took a pass in the neutral zone, skated all alone into the X-Men zone, and snapped what appeared to be an innocent looking shot from the top of the left face-off circle towards the net that beat Owsley to give the V-Reds a dramatic victory. Shots in the overtime period were 11-3 for UNB.

- Stephen Anderson was once again out of the line-up.

- Marcoux made 24 saves on 27 shots to pick up the win. He was also given credit for an assist on UNB;s first goal of the night.

- Attendance was 1754.

- UNB won 39 out of the 72 face-offs in the game.

- The line of Beauvillier, Mignardi, and Caissy accounted for 2 goals and 4 assists on the night and has been one of UNB's best through the season's first two games.
  
- In other games around the AUS tonight UPEI defeated Dalhousie 4-1 in Charlottetown, Saint Mary's rolled to a 6-1 home victory over St. Thomas, and Acadia recovered from blowing a 3-0 3rd period lead to defeat Moncton 4-3 in overtime in Wolfville.

- The V-Reds host the Dalhousie Tigers tomorrow night at 7PM.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

CIS Top Ten (#1): Bears Open Season On Top, V-Reds 2nd

OTTAWA (CIS) – Seven months after capturing their second straight national championship, the University of Alberta Golden Bears (1-0-1) top the first CIS men's hockey rankings of the season for the third consecutive year.

In the closest inaugural poll in recent memory, the reigning CIS champs and the New Brunswick Varsity Reds (1-0-0) both received 150 points from the 16-member media panel but the Bears merited No. 1 status thanks to a greater number of higher place votes, including nine first-place nods for Alberta compared to six for UNB.

Rounding out the first Top 10 of the campaign are the third-ranked Saint Mary's Huskies (1-0-0 / 88 points), No. 4 McGill Redmen (2-0-0 / 84), No. 5 Saskatchewan Huskies (2-0-0 / 78), No. 6 Windsor Lancers (2-0-0 / 63), No. 7 Acadia Axemen (0-1-0 / 56), No. 8 UQTR Patriotes (1-1-0 / 53), No. 9 Calgary Dinos (0-1-1 / 26) and No. 10 St. Francis Xavier X-Men (1-0-0 / 25).

Saskatchewan earned the remaining vote for first place.

The top-ranked Golden Bears, who last March defeated UNB 6-3 in the CIS championship final in Halifax to add a 15th University Cup title to their record collection, opened the new Canada West schedule this past weekend with a two-game set at Lethbridge, winning the opener 2-0 on Friday before dropping the rematch 3-2 in double overtime the following night.

Alberta, which had maintained a 5-3 overall mark in preseason action including a 3-0 record versus CIS competition, hits the road again this week for a Friday-Saturday doubleheader at Regina (1-1-0). Both games are slated for 7 pm CT, live on CanadaWest.TV.

For its part, second-ranked UNB has been as dominant as ever so far this fall. The V-Reds kicked off their AUS schedule on Saturday with an 8-2 rout over visiting UPEI after going 5-1 overall in the preseason (3-0 vs. CIS), including a 5-3 victory against the AHL's Portland Pirates on Oct. 1st.

The Varsity Reds will be featured in the lone Top-10 matchup of the coming weekend as they host No. 10 StFX Friday at 7 p.m. AT, live on AUStv.ca.

CIS MEN'S HOCKEY TOP 10 (#1)
Voting is based on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis, with a 1st place vote worth 10 points. The CIS Men's Ice Hockey Top Ten Committee is made up of media members from across Canada.

(regular season record) / votes (first-place votes) / (previous ranking)
1. Alberta (1-0-1) / 150 points (9) / (-) *
2. UNB (1-0-0) / 150 (6) / (-)
3. Saint Mary's (1-0-0) / 88 / (-)
4. McGill (2-0-0) / 84 / (-)
5. Saskatchewan (2-0-0) / 78 (1) / (-)
6. Windsor (2-0-0) / 63 / (-)
7. Acadia (0-1-0) / 56 / (-)
8. UQTR (1-1-0) / 53 / (-)
9. Calgary (0-1-1) / 26 / (-)
10. StFX (1-0-0) / 25 / (-)

* Alberta (over UNB) was awarded the higher ranking based on number of higher place votes.

Other teams receiving votes: Western (20), Guelph (19), Carleton (19), Lethbridge (15), UBC (10), Manitoba (8), Moncton (7), UPEI (6), Queen's (3).

Saturday, October 10, 2015

V-Reds Cruise To Opening Win

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds got the regular season started with a bang as they hammered the visiting UPEI Panthers 8-2 tonight in their home opener at the AUC. UNB has now won an incredible 27 consecutive home openers as well as 5 straight season openers.

The game got off to a dream start for the Varsity Reds as they scored on their very first shot of the season just 1:42 into the game. Dylan Willick won a defensive zone face-off back to Marcus McIvor, who lobbed the puck from his own goal line up and over the Panthers defence. Cameron Brace used his speed to track it down first and break down the right side all alone before sliding the puck along the ice from a bad angle for a goal that Panthers goalie Mavric Parks would no doubt like to have back. Dylan Willick picked up the secondary assist on UNB's first goal of the season. The V-Reds doubled the lead on their 2nd shot at 4:01 after with some nifty passing. Philippe Maillet gathered the puck behind the net, found Philippe Halley just above the goal line to the right of Parks, and he quickly fired a pass across the slot to Peter Trainor, who one-timed it in. Some more great tic-tac-toe passing, this time on the power play, extended the lead to 3-0 as Francis Beavillier (Caissy, Mignardi) found the back of the net. Shots in the period were 13-7 for UNB.

The Panthers were able to cut in to the lead early in the middle frame after UNB got in some penalty trouble. A penalty at the end of the 1st period and another just 17 seconds into the 2nd put UPEI on a two-man advantage and Brent Andrews was able to convert 59 seconds in to make it 3-1. However, UNB essentially put the game away with a pair of goals just before the mid-point of the game. First, after some scrambled play in and around the Panthers zone, Halley and Maillet finally corralled the puck and had some room to carry it down the right side. Maillet drew three defenders towards him before finding Randy Gazzola streaking in to the zone and he was able to beat Parks with a snap shot at 7:20. UNB was then able to make it 5-1 just 64 seconds later when Taylor MacDougall (Critchlow, Petgrave), who was stopped earlier in the game on a shorthanded breakaway, got another chance and made no mistake this time as he slid the puck between Parks' legs. Matt Petgrave made it 6-1 at 13:01 when he received a nice drop pass from Matt Boudens just inside the blueline and hammered the slap shot through a maze of bodies and into the net. The goal knocked Parks out of the game as he gave way to back-up Connor Wilkinson. Shots were 15-5 in the period for the V-Reds.

The two teams rounded out the scoring in the game with a flurry of 3 goals to begin the 3rd period. Brace (unassisted) picked up his 2nd goal of the game at 1:18 when he stole the puck down low and fired a low percentage shot towards the net that took a fortuitous deflection off of a Panthers defenders skate. Just 16 seconds later Halley (Gazzola, Maillet) made it an 8-1 game when he ripped a wrist shot from the tigh face-off circle that beat Wilkinson over the shoulder glove side. The Panthers got one back 40 seconds later when Casey Babineau picked up a loose puck just in front of the crease and lifted it up and over a down and out Etienne Marcoux, who had made a couple of acrobatic saves moments prior. UNB were out-shot 9-8 in the period but held the overall advantage 36-21.

- Stephen Anderson was the lone scratch for the V-Reds as Tyler Carroll and Jordan Murray, who both had played sparingly in the pre-season, were back in the line-up.

- The game was chippy throughout as the teams combined for 82 penalty minutes on 25 infractions.

- UNB was 1 for 5 on the power play while UPEI was 1 for 8.

- The V-Reds dominated in the face-off circle, winning 44 out of the 65 draws in the game. 

- Marcoux was solid in net as he made 19 saves. The defense was sharp in front of him so he didn't need to make many of the spectacular variety.

- Petgrave was a game-high +4.

- Maillet, Beauvillier, and Halley were named the stars of the game.

- The Panthers hit the post 3 times in the game while UNB did so twice.

- The forward lines to begin the game looked something like this: Maillet/Trainor/Halley, Boudens/Willick/Brace, Carroll/MacDougall/Critchlow, and Mignardi/Caissy/Beauvillier.

- The defensive pairings were Murray-McIvor, Wall-Gazzola, and Petgrave-Suellentrop.

- The V-Reds raised their 2014-2015 AUS Championship banner before the game.

- This is UNB's 7th straight regular season home victory over UPEI.

- The last time UNB played UPEI in their season + home opener was in 2009 when they won 10-0.

- Perhaps the most pleasant surprise thus far in the early going has been the play of the V-Reds offense. Despite losing their top two centres from last year in Dana Fraser and Cam Braes and not replacing them with any incoming recruits it was thought the offense might struggle a little bit. However, that has not been the case at all as they have scored 40 goals in their first 7 games (an average of 5.71/game), with at least 5 goals in all but one of those contests.

- Attendance was 1938.

- The start of the game was delayed by 30 minutes as high winds earlier today meant the Panthers were late getting across the Confederation Bridge.

- In other AUS action tonight the St. FX X-Men picked up a big 3-1 road victory against Acadia and Saint Mary's defeated Dalhousie 4-1 at home. Moncton beat St. Thomas 4-1 at home on Thursday night to kick off the AUS season.

- The V-Reds are back at the AUC next weekend for a pair of games. They face St. FX on Friday night before welcoming the Dalhousie Tigers on Saturday night. Both games are slated for a 7PM start. Of course, all games can be seen on www.AUStv.ca.

Game Delayed Until 7:30

According to the UNB Varsity Reds Facebook page tonight's season opening game between the V-Reds and UPEI Panthers has been delayed until 7:30 due to weather conditions in PEI. It appears that the Confederation Bridge was closed because of high winds. However, the game is still on and the box office will be open at 5:30.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

V-Reds Drop Final Pre-Season Contest

UPDATE: UMass has posted a game recap (with video hightlights) while the blog BC Interruption has more on the Eagles/UNB game from Saturday night.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds wrapped up their pre-season schedule this afternoon with a 3-2 loss at the hands of the UMass-Lowell River Hawks. UNB finishes the pre-season with an impressive 5-1-0 record.

- Scoring for UNB, who never led in the game, were Peter Trainor (Halley, Maillet) with 18 minutes remaining in the 2nd period to make it 2-1 and then Matt Petgrave with a power play marker 9 minutes into the 3rd to make it 3-2. However, the Varsity Reds were unable to complete the comeback bid.

- UNB outshot the River Hawks 28-25.

- Face-offs were 35-23 in favour of the V-Reds.

- Alex Dubeau went the distance in goal, making 22 stops.

- The V-Reds will now return home from a successful road trip and prepare for the UPEI Panthers in their home, and season, opener on Saturday night at the AUC. Game time is 7PM.

- In other AUS action today the Acadia Axemen beat Vermont 2-1, Dalhousie got by Sacred Heart 5-3, the University of New Hampshire rallied from a 4-1 deficit late in the 2nd period to defeat St. FX 6-4, and Quinnipiac topped St. Thomas 3-1. Overall, it was a very good weekend for AUS teams against their counterparts south of the border.

UNB Takes Down Eagles

UPDATE 2: The UMass-Lowell website has a preview posted, which includes a number of ways you can follow the game (Video, Audio, Live Stats, Twitter).

UPDATE: SB Nation College Hockey has their game recap posted.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds once again showed their resiliency tonight, overcoming a 2-0 2nd period deficit to register a 5-2 victory over the NCAA #1 ranked Boston College Eagles in Boston. The V-Reds are now 5-0-0 in pre-season play.

- After UNB had an early goal waved off after a review the Eagles got on the board first 9:01 into the 1st period thanks to a rebound goal by Miles Wood. That would be the only goal in the period despite UNB firing 16 shots on Canucks 2014 2nd round draft pick Thatcher Demko.

- The 2nd period might have been the V-Reds best of the young season. With Demko giving away to freshman Chris Birdsall in the Eagles crease UNB took full advantage. Defenceman Scott Savage doubled the Eagles lead with a 5-on-3 power play goal just 58 seconds into the period, but after that it was all V-Reds. Francis Beauvillier (Petgrave) got the visitors on the board a 9:31 with a power pay marker and then Chris Caissy (Beauvillier, Mignardi) tied the game off the ensuing face-off just 18 seconds later. Peter Trainor (Halley, Wall) then gave the V-Reds their first lead of the night with a power play goal at 12:24. Perhaps the biggest play of the game occurred at 15:41 when Rob Mignardi (Beauvillier, Caissy) scored to make it 4-2 while also drawing a BC penalty. UNB quickly made the Eagles pay when Trainor (Gazzola, Wall) ripped his 2nd power play goal of the night just 66 seconds later to make it a 5-2 game. Despite a couple power play opportunities from each side, the teams would play a scoreless 23 minutes.

- Shots in the game favoured UNB 33-26 with period totals of 16-6, 10-10, and 7-10.

- Etienne Marcoux played the entire game in goal, turning aside 24 shots for the win.

- Tyler Carroll, Jordan Murray, and Stephen Anderson were all out of the line-up.

- UNB won 33 out of the 62 face-offs in the game.

- UNB had a strong night on special teams, going 3 for 8 on the power play while killing off 7 out of 8 shorthanded situations. 

- Attendance was 932.

- The V-Reds improve to 2-5-1 all-time against the Eagles. Their only other victory was a 5-3 triumph at the AUC in 2008. UNB had lost the last three meetings, including a 6-4 setback last season.

- UNB finish up their road trip tomorrow afternoon with a game against the UMass-Lowell River Hawks, who are ranked #14 in the USCHO.com pre-season poll. Puck drop is scheduled for 5PM AST.

- The two teams have met twice previously - a 5-3 UMass win in 2007 and a 3-3 tie in 2011.

- 4 other AUS teams were in action against NCAA teams tonight. St. Thomas defeated RPI 3-2 in OT, Boston University beat Acadia 4-2, UMass-Amherst blanked Dalhousie 4-0, and Merrimack College skated past St. FX 4-1.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

UNB Rallies Past Pirates

UPDATE: The Pirates have posted a game recap while Jeff Mannix talks with Portland Assistant Coach Scott Allen about the game.

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds erased three one goal deficits on their way to a 5-3 victory over the AHL's Portland Pirates tonight in Saco, Maine. It marks the first time the V-Reds have beaten the Pirates in four tries.

Since there was no video or audio available for the game we had to once again turn to the Twitter-verse for updates. Fortunately Pirates commentator Jeff Mannix was all over it, tweeting updates all night.

- The two teams each scored twice in the 1st period. The Pirates struck first 7:12 into the game only to see Cameron Brace (Willick, Boudens) answer shortly afterwards. At 11:35 the Pirates re-gained the lead, but 4 and a half minutes later Brace (Critchlow, Wall) once again tied it. Shots in the period favoured UNB 10-6.

- The Pirates came out much stronger in the middle frame and were rewarded with a power play goal at 11:08 to take their 3rd lead of the night. It would prove to be the only goal of the period as Portland held a 15-9 advantage in shots on goal.

- Despite being out-shot 12-7 in the 3rd period the V-Reds scored the only three goals. Dylan Willick (unassisted) squared the game at 3 just 1:47 into the period and then, just over two minutes later, Philippe Halley (Maillet, Trainor) finished off a 2-on-1 to give UNB their first lead of the night. Philippe Maillet (Murray, Willick) rounded out the scoring with a 5-on-3 power play goal at 7:17.

- Shots in the game were 33-26 for Portland.

- After being the top affiliate of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes since 2011, the Pirates are now affiliated with the the Florida Panthers.

- Tyler Carroll seen his first game action of the year, replacing Stephen Anderson in the line-up.

- The teams played a full 5 minute 3-on-3 overtime after regulation. Former 1st round NHL draft pick Michael Matheson scored the lone goal for Portland shortly after Maillet missed on a clean breakaway.

- Etienne Marcoux played the first two periods in goal and stopped 18 out of the 21 shots he faced. Alex Dubeau played the 3rd period and overtime.

- Portland beat UNB 4-2 in 2009, 2-1 in a shootout in 2012, and 4-0 in 2013.

- The V-Reds continue their road trip with a date against the NCAA's Boston College Eagles on Saturday night in Boston. The Eagles were just ranked #1 in the USCHO.com pre-season poll. Game time is scheduled for 8PM.