Friday, February 5, 2016

UNB Pulls Away From SMU

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored three goals in the 3rd period en route to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies on Military Appreciation Night tonight at the AUC. The Varsity Reds 11th straight win now has them at 20-3-2 on the season. They maintain a four point lead over the 2nd place Acadia Axemen with their final head-to-head match-up of the season looming tomorrow evening.

Although the two teams played through a tight, defensive-minded 1st period that featured only 13 total shots on goal (7 for UNB, 6 for SMU), the Huskies had a great chance to take control of the game when Varsity Reds captain Cam Critchlow was assessed a 5 minute major and game misconduct for checking from behind at 14:19. Not only did the V-Reds kill off the power play, they only surrendered a single shot and carried that momentum into the middle frame.

The V-Reds got on the board first 5:37 into the 2nd period after Cam Braes won a offensive zone face-off back to Jordan Murray, who slid down the side boards and found Chris Clapperton in front of the net. Cole Cheveldave made the original save, but Clapperton got another whack at the puck and was able to get the puck past Cheveldave's outstretched glove. UNB extended their lead to 2-0 at 10:09 after Francis Beauvillier tracked down a Rob Mignardi pass near the right face-off circle in the Huskies zone. Beauvillier drove to the net and was hauled down, drawing a penalty in the process. However, as he went tumbling into the net the puck went with him and referee declared a good goal. The Huskies would respond just under four and a half minutes later on the power play. A Stephen MacAulay face-off win went back to Kyle Pereira at the point and he quickly passed the puck over to fellow defenceman Jamie Doornbosh, who had time and space to skate in a few steps and blast a slap shot shot past Etienne Marcoux. The goal came just 6 seconds into the man advantage and got Saint Mary's right back into the game at 2-1. The momentum would be short-lived though as UNB would restore their two goal lead at 17:03 after some beautiful passing by the top line. Philippe Maillet gathered the puck behind the Huskies goal and he found Clapperton at the bottom of the face-off circle. Clapperton quickly slid the puck over to Cam Braes, who was all alone at the side of the cage, for the easy tap-in. The V-Reds would take a 3-1 lead into the final 20 minutes after out-shooting Saint Mary's 16-7 in the period.

After UNB came out of the gate with a few quality chances to open the 3rd period it was the Huskies who got the next goal with a power play marker by Bradley Greene at 3:58, cutting the lead to one once again. The V-Reds would once again respond to regain the two goal cushion. At 10:32 Philippe Halley (Willick, Suellentrop) broke out of his own zone on a 3-on-1 and used his teammates as a decoy before snapping a shot through Cheveldave's legs for a 4-2 lead. UNB added a pair of goals 25 seconds apart late in the period to put this one away. After 6 straight Husky power plays the Varsity Reds found themselves on a 5-on-3 advantage at 14:36. UNB failed to convert on the two man advantage despite a few good chances, but they scored on the 5-on-4 portion to make it 5-2 at 16:01. Maillet found Clapperton on the goal line and he quickly passed it out to Cam Braes, who was all alone in the slot - perhaps those camouflage jerseys are an even better idea than originally thought. Braes wasted no time in snapping the puck off the post an into the net for his 2nd goal of the game. Taylor MacDougall (Thomas, Suellentrop) put the icing on this one just 25 seconds later when a bouncing puck came right to him as he was standing just outside of the crease. MacDougall had an easy tap-in to make it 6-2, which is how this one would end. Shots in the period were 18-8 for UNB.
- Shots in the game were 41-21 for UNB.

- Matt Petgrave (suspended), Marcus McIvor, Peter Trainor, and Stephen Anderson were all out of the line-up.

- Cam Critchlow will be suspended for at least one game due to his game misconduct tonight.

- Saint Mary's was 2 for 6 on the power play to increase their league-leading percentage to 20.9%. UNB was 1 for 3.
- Etienne Marcoux was solid when needed in turning aside 19 out of 21 shots fired his way. He improves to 14-2-0 on the season and is now tied for the conference lead in wins while leading the circuit in GAA (2.04) and save percentage (.902).

- Cam Braes was named the player of the game and was awarded the first Fallen Soldier Memorial Award for leadership and tenacity in the game. Colin Suellentrop and Chris Clapperton were the other stars of the game.

- Attendance was 2529, a good turnout given the winter storm that hammered Fredericton all day.

- It took the Huskies more than 6 hours to make the trek from Halifax due to the weather and the long day may have showed. Saint Mary's didn't register their first shot on goal until more than 10 minutes into the game and seemed to wear down as the game moved along.

- The V-Reds have clinched a 1st round bye for the 10th consecutive year.

- This is the 9th straight season UNB has collected at least 20 victories, which is far and away the longest current streak in the country. The next longest streak belongs to McGill, who has now done it 3 straight years (including this year). Alberta's 4 year run will end this season as they have 16 wins with only 3 games to play.

- In other AUS action tonight the Acadia Axemen defeated UPEI 2-1 in a shootout in Charlottetown to keep pace with UNB, St. FX notched a 4-2 home win over Moncton, and Dalhousie got within two points of the Aigles Bleus for the 6th and final playoff spot with a 4-1 victory over St. Thomas in Halifax.

- The Varsity Reds play their final home game of the regular season tomorrow night when they host the 2nd place Acadia Axemen. It is the biggest game of the season thus far as they attempt to clinch 1st place for a 9th straight year. UNB currently sits four points up on Acadia with 3 games left to play so a win (either in regulation or OT/SO) will wrap up the top spot. We hope everyone can make it out to the AUC to cheer on the V-Reds, but if you can't make it the game will be streamed live at AUStv.ca. Game time is 7PM.