Friday, January 29, 2016

V-Reds Overcome Terrific Performance

Although they fired a season-high 55 shots towards Panthers goalie Matt Mahalak UNB's game against UPEI tonight came right down to the wire, with the Varsity Reds hanging on for a tight 2-1 victory in what was an entertaining contest at the AUC. UNB's 9th consecutive win has improved their record to 18-3-2 on the season and vaulted them back into sole possession of 1st place in the AUS.

After a scoreless 1st period in which UNB out-shot UPEI 21-9 the V-Reds finally broke through 1:07 into the 2nd period when Cam Braes (Murray, Clapperton) walked in from the right wing face-off circle and rang a shot off the post and in to the net. At 17:03 Tyler Carroll (unassisted) made it a 2-0 game with a shorthanded goal after a great individual effort. The Panther defenceman began carrying the puck out of his zone before curling back towards his goaltender to reset, but Carroll hounded him into a turnover in front of the net, gained control of the puck, and flipped a backhanded shot up and over Mahalak's left shoulder. UNB took the two goal lead into the locker room after out-shooting UPEI 15-8 in the frame.

The game looked well in hand early in the 3rd period as UNB came out and peppered Mahalak with another 7 shots in the opening minutes, controlling the puck and dominating the play. However, the V-Reds began to get into some penalty trouble and after they were assessed a questionable too many men on ice infraction the Panthers converted on a Ryan MacKinnon one timer from the top of the right face-off circle at 4:39. To make matters worse Jordan Murray was ticketed for an unsportsmanlike penalty and a 10-minute misconduct after the goal, putting UPEI right back on the power play. The Varsity Reds killed off that penalty, and another at 9:03, before getting three consecutive power plays to end the game, including one with only 40 seconds remaining that set up a controversial finish. The Panthers pulled their goalie to make it 5-on-5, but the Varsity Reds gained control of the puck and attempted a shot at the open net from the other side of the centre line. When the shot went wide the refs waved off what should have been an icing call with around 4 seconds remaining - which would have given the Panthers enough time for one last chance in the UNB zone - and the time proceeded to run out, much to the chagrin of the Panthers players and coaching staff who were not shy in showing their anger. UPEI's appeals proved to be futile though, bringing an end to what was an entertaining and tense game. The refs huddled up and determined that the puck had been deflected and therefore was the reason no icing was called, although it seemed as if that was just an easy way for the refs to cover their mistake as the puck didn't appear to hit anything while watching live. Shots in the period favoured UNB 19-10.

- Shots in the game ended up 55-27 for the V-Reds.

- Etienne Marcoux turned in another stellar performance to improve to 11-2-0 on the season. He also lowered his GAA to 1.98 and raised his save percentage to 0.923.

- Marcus McIvor and Mike Thomas remained out of the line-up while Stephen Anderson and Francis Beavillier returned, replacing Cam Brace and Peter Trainor.

- UPEI was 1 for 6 on the power play. UNB was scoreless on 5 opportunities.

- UNB dominated in the face-off circle, winning 46 out of 74 draws. Cam Braes (13 out of 16) and Philippe Halley (7 out of 10) led the way.

- Attendance was 3358 on Southside Elementary School Night.

- Tonight marked the 3rd straight game UNB has recorded a shorthanded goal.

- UNB has won 8 straight home conference games against the Panthers.

- This is the 9th straight season UNB has put together a 7+ game winning streak in conference play.

- The out of town scoreboard was very kind to the V-Reds tonight. The Dalhousie Tigers defeated St. FX 4-1 this afternoon before Saint Mary's defeated Acadia 4-3 in the night cap of the Varsity Showdown doubleheader played at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Moncton picked up a 6-2 home victory over St. Thomas in the other game.

- UNB will make up their game in hand on the Axemen tomorrow night when they travel to Moncton for a date against the Aigles Bleus. Elsewhere, Saint Mary's travels to St. FX and UPEI stays in Fredericton to face St. Thomas. All games are scheduled for a 7PM puck drop and can be viewed live at AUStv.ca.

With information from the RedSea Database