Saturday, January 16, 2016

Murray's OT Winner Lifts UNB

Despite never holding a lead, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds picked two huge points tonight thanks to a Jordan Murray overtime goal that gave them a 3-2 road victory over the St. FX X-Men in a thrilling, back and forth game. The V-Reds 5th straight win now has them at 14-3-2 on the season and one point up on the X-Men for sole possession of 2nd place in the AUS.

With the way the same started it didn't look like it would turn into a low-scoring affair. The X-Men got on the board first at 12:52 when AUS leading scorer Eric Locke outraced a defender for the puck in the offensive end before finding Holden Cook on the other side of the net for the goal. The Varsity Reds took no time in striking back though - just 26 seconds in fact - as Christopher Caissy found Francis Beauvillier with a pass through the neutral zone. Beauvillier streaked down the left wing and snapped the puck from the face-off dot that beat goaltender Drew Owsley between the legs. This came just moments after the X-Men had a golden chance to extend their lead. The period looked like it would end 1-1 but a flurry in the final seconds saw the teams trade goals. In almost a carbon copy of their first goal X-Men forward Eric Locke did some good work in the offensive zone to gain control of the puck behind the net before finding Cook in front for his 2nd goal of the game at 19:43. However, Taylor MacDougall (Murray, Halley) was able to get the V-Reds even just 14 seconds later when his innocent looking shot from the goal line from the corner somehow beat Owsley. Shots in the period were 15-13 for St. FX.

After four goals in the 1st period the teams, surprisingly, played the final 40 minutes of the game without either being able to find the back of the net. This despite the X-Men having four power plays in the 2nd period and the Varsity Reds controlling play for the majority of the 3rd period, including a stretch of over a minute of continuous pressure in the X-Men zone. Shots over the final two periods were 26-17 for the V-Reds.

With each team assured of at least one point in the standings the V-Reds and X-Men traded chances back and forth in the 10-minute overtime. At 4:22 Philippe Halley skated the puck into the offensive zone, patiently held onto the puck as he cut across the zone just inside the blue line, and left the puck for defenceman Jordan Murray along the half boards. Murray patiently waited for a screen to develop in front, realized he had the time and space to skate in closer to the goal, and fired a low wrist shot through traffic that beat Owsley stick side for his 4th goal of the season. Shots in the overtime were 5-3 for St. FX.

- Shots in the game were 42-38 for the V-Reds.

- Etienne Marcoux was sharp in net for UNB, saving 36 out of the 38 shots he faced and making a number of big glove saves. He is now 10-2-0 on the season and 2nd in the AUS in both GAA (2.22) and save percentage (0.912).

- Philippe Maillet and Marcus McIvor both remained out of the line-up due to injury while Peter Trainor was scratched. Colin Suellentrop was also out as it appears he was suspended for more than the one game that was initially reported. Matt Boudens returned to the line-up after serving his suspension Friday night.

- Murray (goal and assist), Cook (two goals), and Owsley (39 saves) were the game's three stars.

- Murray got back on track after having his 11 game point scoring streak snapped last night against Dalhousie.

- UNB had a rough night in the face-off circle, losing 39 out of 65 draws.

- Francis Beauvillier was dangerous all night as he scored UNB's first goal and had a game-high 7 shots on goal.

- Both teams went scoreless on the power play with the V-Reds having 3 chances and the X-Men 5 opportunities.

- After racking up over 200 penalty minutes in their meeting last weekend both teams kept things under control tonight, only accounting for 10 minor penalties in the game.

- With a victory tonight UNB avoided losing both games in Antigonish this year. The last time they dropped both games to the X-Men on the road was during the 2004-2005 season.

- In other AUS action today Saint Mary's doubled up St. Thomas 6-3 in Fredericton, Moncton downed Acadia 4-3 in overtime at home, and Dalhousie picked up a 4-1 home win over UPEI.

- With each team having played 19 games the conference standings look like this: Acadia (32 points), UNB (30), St. FX (29), Saint Mary's (24), UPEI (20), Moncton (18), Dalhousie (13), St. Thomas (3).

- Things don't get any easier for the Varsity Reds next weekend. They are back on the road again with games against the Saint Mary's Huskies on Friday night and Acadia Axemen on Saturday night. Both games are scheduled for 7PM and can be viewed live at