Monday, February 29, 2016

UNB Books Ticket To University Cup

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored four goals in the first 21:18 and Etienne Marcoux took care of the rest as the V-Reds swept aside the UPEI Panthers with a 4-0 victory tonight in Charlottetown to take the series 3 games to none. UNB now moves on to the best 2-of-3 AUS Final and, more importantly, have clinched a berth in the University Cup next month in Halifax.

The Varsity Reds got out to a dream start in this one as they took the game's first 11 shots, resulting in a pair of power play goals. At 2:10 Philippe Halley (Gazzola, Trainor) picked up a rebound at the left side of the net and backhanded past Panthers netminder Mavric Parks. They doubled their lead 4:40 when Stephen Anderson (Maillet, Braes) positioned himself just outside the crease, took a pass from below the goal line, and deposited a wrist shot. UNB wasn't done though, and Halley (McIvor, Carroll) made it 3-0 at 15:21 when he picked up the puck after he was hit with a point shot in the slot and turned around and fired it past Parks. This would cause the Panthers to pull Parks in favour of back-up Matt Mahalak. Mahalak would hold the fort for the rest of the period, but UNB would take a 3-0 into the locker room after out-shooting the Panthers 14-4 in the period.

The V-Reds didn't take much time to extend their lead in the 2nd period. At 1:18 Tyler Carroll picked off a pass in the neutral zone, skated over the blue line, and sniped a shot into the top corner over Mahalak's left shoulder to make it 4-0. The Panthers did hold a 15-7 advantage on the shot clock in the period, but Etienne Marcoux was up to the task, stopping everything directed his way as the V-Reds took the four goal lead into the final period.

There was no scoring in the 3rd period despite 5 power plays being handed out. UNB out-shot UPEI 11-6 in wrapping up the victory.

- Final shots were 32-25 for UNB.

- The V-Reds went with a different line-up tonight as Randy Gazzola, Peter Trainor, and Stephen Anderson all played their first game of the playoffs. Matt Boudens moved back up to forward after playing a number of games on the back end. Cameron Brace (suspension), Rob Mignardi, Francis Beauvillier, and Chris Caissy were all out.

- UNB was 2 for 5 on the power play and their penalty killing had another outstanding game, killing off all 6 UPEI chances.

- Attendance was 1327 at a packed MacLauchlan Arena.

- UNB was 44 for 77 on face-offs with Philippe Halley (9 for 11) leading the way.

- This was UNB's largest margin of victory in a road playoff game since a 5-1 win over UPEI on February 26th, 2013.

- Tonight marked the first playoff shut-out recorded by the V-Reds since Dan LaCosta blanked Saint Mary's 2-0 in the 3rd and deciding game of the 2013 AUS Finals.

- It was also their first road shut-out since Travis Fullerton shut-out Moncton 4-0 in game 3 of the 2012 AUS Finals.

- The Varsity Reds advance to the AUS Finals for the 2nd consecutive season, and 5th time in 6 years. It is the 10th time since Gardiner MacDougall took over as coach in 2000-2001 they have made it this far.

- UNB will have to wait at least two more days to find out who they will face in the Finals as St. Mary's staved off elimination with a 4-0 home win over St. FX tonight. The X-Men still lead the series 2 games to 1 and will try to advance on Wednesday night when the two teams tangle for game 4 in Halifax.