The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won their 10th consecutive game with a 4-3 come-from-behind road victory over the Moncton Aigles Bleus tonight at the J Louis Levesque Arena. With 5 wins in the last 9 days - to bring their season record to 19-3-2, combined with a 1-3-0 record by Acadia in that same span, UNB has now moved four points ahead of the 2nd place Axemen with four games left to play.
The game did not get off to a great start for the V-Reds as Moncton took the first three shots and jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 1:12 into the game after a fortuitous bounce. An Alex Saulnier shot from the slot went wide but it ricocheted off the end boards and out the opposite side in front of the net where Jean Francois-Plante was waiting. Planted backhanded the puck up and over Etienne Marcoux, who couldn't get across the crease in time to score the only goal of the period. Shots were 9 apiece in an opening 20 minutes that also contained five penalties.
The Varsity Reds tied the game on their first power play of the 2nd period at 8:48. After sustained pressure in the offensive zone Jordan Murray took a wrist shot from in between the top of the face-off circles that Christopher Clapperton deflected just enough to throw off Adrien Lemay's timing and get it between his legs and into the net. Philippe Maillet picked up the secondary assist on the tying goal. UNB was back on the power play just 31 seconds later but with the penalty winding down it was Plante forcing a turnover at the UNB blue-line and going in all alone on Marcoux. Plante made a nice move to get the puck around an outstretched Marcoux to score his 2nd of the game and restoring Moncton's lead with the shorthanded goal at 11:05. It only took the V-Reds just over two and a half minutes to tie the game once again. Maillet gathered the puck in the Moncton corner and fended off a defender as he skated around the goal. With only one hand on his stick he pushed the puck into the slot to Clapperton, who was waiting for a one-timer that beat Lemay glove side for his 2nd goal of the night. The teams would head to the intermission tied 2-2 after a period in which UNB out-shot the Aigles Bleus 19-9.
Moncton took their 3rd lead of the game at 2:30 of the 3rd when Marc-Anthony Therrien got around a defender and went in on a breakaway. Marcoux made a great stop on the original shot, but Robbie Graham followed the play and banged in the rebound before the net came off its moorings. Once again UNB had an answer, this time exactly 10 minutes later. After some good chances in the offensive zone Cam Braes (Maillet, Clapperton) picked up the puck behind the net after a missed shot. Braes was able to stuff the puck in before Lemay, who had gone out to challenge the shot, could get his skate back against the post. The V-Reds had a chance to take their first lead of the game when they went on a power play a minute after the goal but Moncton managed to kill it off. But just 29 seconds after the penalty expired - at 16:01 - Rob Mignardi (Caissy, Wall) ripped a wrist shot from the bottom of the right face-off circle past Lemay to give UNB a 4-3 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. Shots in the period were 13-11 for Moncton.
- UNB out-shot Moncton 43-31 in the game.
- Marcoux stopped 28 out of 31 shots to pick up his 12th win of the season.
- Defenseman Marcus McIvor and forward Peter Trainor remained out of the line-up. Cameron Brace and Mike Thomas were back in, replacing Francis Beauvillier and Stephen Anderson.
- Clapperton (2 goals, 1 assist), Plante (2 goals), and Lemay (39 saves) were the game's three stars.
- Moncton held a slight 38-36 advantage in face-offs.
- Attendance was 751.
- Matt Petgrave was assessed a roughing penalty and game misconduct late in the 1st period. As a result of the misconduct he will likely be suspended for the next game.
- Plante's shorthanded goal was the first UNB has allowed this season. They were the last team in the AUS to surrender one.
- With 3 more assists tonight, Philippe Maillet is now 4th in the league with 19 helpers this season. He has only played in 13 out of UNB's 24 games. His 26 points place him 7th and +18 rating 5th.
- UNB has gone 16-1-0 in their last 17 against Moncton. The one loss was a 7-4 setback earlier this season.
- The V-Reds have also had at least 10 game conference winning streaks in 2014/15 (10 games), 2013/14 (13), 2010/11 (10), 2009/10 (26), 2007/08 (11 and 14), and 1997/98 (14).
- UPEI doubled St. Thomas 6-3 in the only other game played Saturday night. The St. FX/Saint Mary's game scheduled for Antigonish was postponed to Sunday afternoon due to the winter storm.
- The current standings look like this, with St. FX and Saint Mary's each having played 23 games compared to 24 for everyone else: UNB (40 points), Acadia (36), St. FX (33), Saint Mary's (30), UPEI (24), Moncton (22), Dalhousie (18), St. Thomas (5).
- The Varsity Reds will look to wrap up 1st place next weekend with their biggest games of the season to date. On Friday night they host the Saint Mary's Huskies and on Saturday night they welcome the Acadia Axemen to the AUC. Game time for both games is scheduled for 7PM. These are also the final two home games of the regular season schedule so we encourage everyone to get out and cheer on the V-Reds. If you can't make it to the rink you can watch the games live at AUStv.ca.