Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Halley Named UNB, AUS Athlete Of The Week

UPDATE: Halley has also been named the CIS male athlete of the week, becoming the first V-Reds hockey player to claim the honour since goaltender David Shantz last January.

UNB forward Philippe Halley has been named both the UNB Varsity Reds/Dominos Pizza male Athlete of the Week and Subway AUS male Athlete of the Week after helping lead the V-Reds to their 6th University Cup in school history this past weekend in Halifax.

The 3rd year native of Quebec City registered a hat-trick in each of UNB's first two games at the tournament - a 5-1 win over Western and a 4-0 victory over Saint Mary's. He then added an assist in a 3-1 win over St. FX in the National Championship game. For his efforts Halley earned MVP of the tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.

Halley's 10 career University Cup goals - in only 6 games - are the most in Varsity Reds history while his 11 points trail only Kyle Bailey, who amassed 13 in 11 games played.

Sunday, March 20, 2016


The #5 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored two goals in 17 seconds in the 2nd period, and continued the strong defensive play they exhibited all weekend, to defeat the #3 ranked St. FX X-Men 3-1 to capture their 6th University Cup in school history tonight in Halifax.

Once again, the V-Reds got out to a quick start as they out-shot St. FX 10-2 in the early going. They got on the board at 6:53 when Jordan Murray fired a point shot wide of the net intentionally, or it was deflected wide. Regardless, Christopher Clapperton picked the puck up off the end boards and wrapped it around the far post before goaltender Drew Owsley could get across the crease. Cam Braes picked up the other assist on the goal. A couple of UNB penalties in the latter half of the period gave the X-Men some momentum and they started to even up the play. AUS MVP Eric Locke came close to tying the game when a rebound came directly to him as he was all alone at the side of the net. However, Etienne Marcoux made arguably his best save of the tournament when he slid across and snapped out his left leg to just get enough of the puck to keep it out. The X-Men would find the equalizer late in the period. After a UNB icing, St. FX won the ensuing offensive zone face-off and Zack MacQueen tipped Nathan Chiarlitti's shot from the blue line off the post and in with just 11 seconds remaining in the period, sending the huge pro-St. FX crowd into a frenzy. Shots ended up 14-10 for UNB.

With the crowd back into it after the late goal it seemed as if the Varsity Reds might be on the ropes, but instead they locked things down and played almost flawless hockey over the final two periods. UNB failed to capitalize on their first power play opportunity of the 2nd period, but they were given another chance just minutes later and this time Francis Beauvillier made it count. Beauvillier (Gazzola, Halley) rushed the puck into the offensive zone and snapped a shot on goal that Owsley kicked out. Beauvillier kept charging toward the net, got around the defender, and quickly fired his own rebound in to give the V-Reds a two goal lead at 9:02. On their very next shift UNB would strike again. Tyler Carroll (Willick, Boudens) picked up a loose puck during a scramble around the crease and stuffed it in, and just like that the V-Reds went from a tie game to a 3-1 lead in a matter of 17 seconds, quieting the crowd in the process. After the goal Carroll kindly acknowledged all of the X-Men fans in the stands (pictured above). Both teams would trade power play chances the rest of the period, but to no avail. Shots in the period were 11-6 for UNB.

With only twenty minutes separating the Varsity Reds from another National Championship, UNB played a smart, conservative, defensive-first final period that limited the X-Men to just 7 shots on goal and not much in the way of quality chances. St. FX killed off a penalty with less than 5 minutes remaining and although they pulled Owsley with two minutes remaining, they were only able to generate one or two decent chances. UNB was able to run out the clock to claim their 5th University Cup in the last ten years.

- Shots in the game were 30-23 for UNB. After some shaky defensive games earlier this season, the Varsity Reds clamped down and only surrendered 51 shots - and two goals - in their three games this weekend.

- UNB dressed the same line-up tonight as they did in the other two games. Peter Trainor, Chris Caissy, Mike Thomas, and Stephen Anderson were all scratched.

- The V-Reds were 1 for 4 on the power play while St. FX was 0 for 4. UNB successfully killed off all 13 shorthanded situations they faced this weekend, which was another major key to their success.

- UNB won 42 out of the 83 face-offs in the game. All of the usual suspects - Taylor MacDougall (7 out of 11), Cam Braes (13 out of 21), and Dylan Willick (12 out of 21) - had strong games at the face-off circle.

- Attendance for the game was 9873. This brought the total attendance for the tournament to a record 43 515.

- UNB improves to 6-5 all-time in National Championship games.

- 5th year seniors Taylor MacDougall and Tyler Carroll will finish their UNB careers with 2 National Championships, 1 Silver Medal, and 4 University Cup appearances in their five seasons. They were also a part of 3 AUS Championships and 5 AUS regular season titles.

- Clapperton and Eric Locke were named the players of the game.

- UNB held a lead for 151:37 of the 180 minutes they played in the tournament, and never trailed.

- This is the first time UNB has won the University Cup while wearing their dark jerseys.

- It is also the first time they have won the University Cup out of the afternoon pool since 2007. In 2009, 2011, 2013 they played in the evening draw.

- UNB won as a #5 seed, tied with the 2007 team as the lowest seed to ever win the tournament. 

- Philippe Halley was named the tournament MVP (to the shock of absolutely no one) after scoring 6 goals and adding an assist in the three games.

- Halley joins Tyler Carroll (2013), Luke Gallant (2011), Lachlan MacIntosh (2009), and Chris Zanutto (1998) as V-Reds who have won tournament MVP.

- Joining Halley on the all-tournament team are goaltender Jordon Cooke (Saskwatchewan), defencemen Jordan Murray (UNB) and Nathan Chiarlitti (St. FX), and forwards Michael Clarke (St. FX) and Anthony Repaci (Saint Mary's).

(Photo courtesy Atlantic University Sport)

SMU Takes Home Bronze

The #8 ranked Saint Mary's Huskies scored four unanswered goals to claim a 5-2 victory over the #2 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies in the bronze medal game this afternoon at the University Cup in Halifax.

Anthony Repaci's 3rd goal of the tournament gave SMU the lead 4:13 into the game, but Saskatchewan would tie the game just 21 seconds later on a Jesse Ross marker and then take the lead 31 seconds into the 2nd period on a goal from Josh Roach. After that Saint Mary's really took control of the game, which was probably not surprising given Saskatchewan had played the two longest games in University Cup history in the last three days. Calder Brooks tied the game 2-2 at 11:33 of the 2nd and SMU took a 3-2 lead just under two minutes later courtesy Gerrad Grant. Stephen MacAulay and Brooks, with his 2nd of the game, scored 3rd period goals to round out the scoring.

Cole Cheveldave stopped 17 out of 19 shots to get the win while Jordon Cooke saved 26 out of 31 shots in the loss.

A Saint Mary's win ensures a 1-2-3 finish for the AUS in this year's tournament, the first time that has happened since St. FX, UNB, and Dalhousie swept the podium in 2004 in Fredericton.

UNB In The National Championship Game, Poll

The rivalry between the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and the St. Francis Xavier X-Men will reach its apex Sunday night in Halifax when the two meet for the 2016 University Cup. Game time is 6:30PM and it will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet 360.

For the Varsity Reds, they will be looking for redemption on three fronts tonight. First, they will be looking to avenge the two game sweep St. FX administered to them in the AUS Final 11 days ago. They will also trying to make up for last year's loss in the final to Alberta, a game in which all but three players UNB has dressed so far in this tournament (Christopher Clapperton, Marcus McIvor, and Etienne Marcoux) played in. Also, although it was before any of these current players time, I am sure head coach Gardiner MacDougall would love to return the favour for 2004, when St. FX defeated UNB 3-2 in overtime at the Aitken Centre to claim their lone National Championship. That game remains the only meeting at the University Cup between the two schools.

Overall, UNB will be making their 11th appearance in the National Championship game, including their 7th in the last 10 years. It will be the 8th appearance since Gardiner MacDougall took the helm in 2000/2001. They will be looking for their 6th championship of all-time.

Here is a breakdown of their previous 10 appearances:

1997: Lost to Guelph 4-3
1998: Defeated Acadia 6-3
2000: Lost to Alberta 5-2 in OT2
2004: Lost to St. FX 3-2 in OT
2007: Defeated Moncton 3-2 in OT
2008: Lost to Alberta 3-2
2009: Defeated Western Ontario 4-2
2011: Defeated McGill 4-0
2013: Defeated Saint Mary's 2-0
2015: Lost to Alberta 6-3

A few notes of interest:

- UNB's 11 previous appearances rank behind only Alberta (20) and Toronto (13) all-time.

- Their 5 losses are tied with Alberta, Saint Mary's, and Saskatchewan for the most all-time.

- This will be the 5th all-AUS National Championship game. UNB has been involved in all of them.

- This is the first time UNB has played 3 games in 3 days since doing it December 28th-30th, 2007 as part of that year's Pete Kelly Cup.

- UNB will be the road team in the game. They have never won a National Championship wearing their dark sweaters.

- This will be the last game as a Varsity Reds for 5th year players forwards Tyler Carroll and Taylor MacDougall and defenceman Alex Wall. Carroll and MacDougall will be playing in their 3rd CIS Final and will be seeking their 2nd University Cup.

- This is the 7th meeting of the season between UNB and St. FX. Today is the rubber match as each team has three wins so far.

- UNB will be looking for a repeat of 2007, when they lost in the AUS Final to Moncton before defeating the Aigles Bleus in National Final.

- If anyone is planning on making the trip to Halifax for the game, we advise that you get your tickets beforehand. As of this afternoon the lower bowl of the Scotiabank Centre is completey sold-out. However, there are still tickets available in the upper bowl, which up to this point in the tournament has been curtained off.

- If yesterday's St. FX/Saskatchewan game is any indication, this will definitely be a hostile, road environment for the V-Reds. The alumni support for the X-Men is impressive and they probably made up about 90% of the crowd yesterday. Expect there to be even more tonight.

- Much like the game against Saint Mary's, at this point these two teams, coaching staffs, fans pretty much know everything there is to know about the opposition. There are no surprises at this point. It will all come down to what team executes better and gets the goaltending, bounces, and breaks.

- What is your prediction? Who takes home the 2016 University Cup?

Who wins?

St. FX

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Philippe Halley Show Continues

It's Philippe Halley's world and we're all just living in it. The 3rd year forward scored another three goals - giving him an incredible three hat-tricks and 10 total in his last four Universitu Cup games - and the # 5 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds stifled the # 8 ranked Saint Mary's Huskies 4-0 tonight in Halifax. UNB will now face the St. FX X-Men tomorrow evening for the 2016 University Cup.

The Varsity Reds got out to a fast start, taking the game's first 6 shots, and were rewarded at 3:37 when Christopher Clapperton knocked Philippe Maillet's centring pass out of mid-air and past Huskies goalie Cole Cheveldave. That was the only goal in a period in which UNB out-shot Saint Mary's 11-5.

Perhaps the turning point in the game came when the V-Reds took their second penalty in 39 seconds at 7:02 of the 2nd period while still nursing a one goal lead. UNB held the fort, though, and got some big saves from Etienne Marcoux to successfully kill off the two man disadvantage. If that was the turning point of the game, Philippe Halley's (Carroll)  first goal of the game with only 17 seconds left in the period might have been the back breaker.  After a lengthy shift in the offensive zone Halley got a pass in the slot and fired a wrist shot between Cheveldave's legs to make it 2-0. Both teams had  8 shots apiece in the period.

UNB clamped down defensively in the 3rd period, not surrendering a single shot on goal in the final 20 minutes while taking 13 of their own. They converted on two of those shots, both by Halley. At 8:49 the 3rd year forward picked up the puck at the Huskies blue line and streaked down the left side, getting in all alone on Cheveldave. Halley went forehand to backhand, depositing the puck into the top right corner for a 3-0 lead. Halley completed his 2nd hat-trick in as many days at 12:32 while in the power play. He got the puck near the hash marks and fired a shot that made its way through a maze of bodies and into the net. Randy Gazzola and Francis Beauvillier picked up the assists on the final goal of the game, which was UNB's first with the man advantage in four games.

- UNB dressed the same line-up as Friday with Peter Trainor, Mike Thomas, Stephen Anderson, and Chris Caissy all out.

- Shots in the game were 32-13 in the game.

- The V-Reds went 1 for 5 on the power play while also continuing their strong penalty killing so far this tournament, killing off all 5 Huskies opportunities. They are now 9/9 in the two games.

- Halley and Matt Tipoff were named the players of the game.

- UNB won 38 out of 72 face-offs. Dylan Willick (10 for 17) and Taylor MacDougall (11 for 19) both had strong nights at the dot.

- Attendance was 6022.

- The Varsity Reds will now get the chance for revenge when they face the St. FX X-Men, who just swept UNB in the AUS Final 11 days ago, in the National Championship game Sunday night. Game time is 6:30 AST and it will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet 360.

- The Huskies will play the Saskatchewan Huskies at 2 PM in the bronze medal game.

X-Men Advance To Final

Michael Clarke's power play goal through a screen at 17:35 of the 3rd overtime propelled the #3 ranked St. FX X-Men past the #2 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies 2-1 and into Sunday night's National Championship game.

The Huskies opened the scoring when Levi Cable backhanded a shot from in close past Drew Owsley at 9:12 of the 1st period. The X-Men got the equalizer at 7:37 of the 2nd period on a Brad Cuzner shorthanded goal. Cuzner had s breakaway from the centre line and placed and perfect shot past Jordon Cooke and into the top right corner.

Owsley finished with 55 saves while Cooke had 61 saves for the Huskies, who have played 7 overtime periods and 223 minutes of hockey in the last 3 days.

The X-Men will face the winner of this afternoon's other semi-final between UNB and Saint Mary's in tomorrow night's National Championship game. Saskatchewan will meet the loser in the bronze medal game.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Hometown Huskies Knock Off Top Ranked Patriotes

Anthony Repaci scored a pair of goals and Ben Duffy scored the eventual game-winner with just over 6 minutes remaining to lift the #8 ranked Saint Mary's Huskies to a 3-2 win over the #1 ranked UQTR Patriotes in an entertaining, back and forth, contest in front of 5817 tonight in Halifax. The Huskies will now meet the Varsity Reds in tomorrow's 4PM semi-final.

Repaci got the Huskies on the board first with the lone goal of the opening period at 12:20 when he drove towards the net and redirected a Stephen MacAulay centring pass up and over Patriotes goalie Sebastien Auger. However, a Huskies penalty at the end of the period proved to be costly as Jeremy Beaudry jumped on a loose puck in the slot to tie the game just 32 seconds into the 2nd period. Although both teams traded chances up and down the ice, the game would remain tied 1-1 until 7:37 of the 3rd period when Repaci, while on the power play, got the puck on the goal line and had all kinds of time and space to skate out front and put the puck up and under the crossbar for his second of the game. Duffy would make it a 3-1 game at 13:57 after a long Huskies shift in the offensive zone. He collected a rebound from a point shot just  outside the crease and backhanded the puck off the far post and in to give Saint Mary's some breathing room. The Patriotes made it 3-2 with only 46 seconds remaining on a goal by CIS Player of the Year Guillaume Asselin, but it was too little too late for the Patriotes. UQTR won an offensive zone face-off with just over 10 seconds remaining, but the puck split their defense and went back to the neutral zone, effectively ending any chance they had of pulling off a miracle.

- Shots were 33-29 for SMU.

- SMU was 1 for 4 on the power play. UQTR was 1 for 5.

- The Patriotes had won 16 straight games coming into this one.

- With St. FX and UNB already moving on to the semi-finals, the AUS represents 3 out of the final 4 teams left standing.

- Tomorrow's UNB/Saint Mary's game will be broadcast live on Sportsnet 360. Game time is 4PM and a trip to Sunday's National Championship game is on the line.

V-Reds Dominate Mustangs

The #5 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds received three goals from Philippe Halley on their way to a resounding 5-1 victory over the #4 ranked Western Mustangs in their quarterfinal game at the University Cup this afternoon in Halifax. The V-Reds will now face AUS rival Saint Mary's in the 4PM semi-final at the Scotiabank Centre.

This game was never really in doubt as UNB had a 3-0 lead after a dominant 1st period in which they out-shot the Mustangs 14-3. Halley (Mignardi) got his first of the game at 8:40 when he fired a shot from the slot just under the crossbar that beat Mustangs goalie Greg Dodds. The V-Reds would strike again just 52 seconds later while shorthanded when Matt Petgrave (Willick, Suellentrop) lifted a high arching shot from the neutral zone that fooled Dodds, one that he surely would love to have back. Halley's 2nd of the game, from Murray and McIvor, came at 15:14 when he got to a loose puck in front of the net and put it between Dodds' legs. UNB had a chance to extend their lead, but Cam Braes was stymied on a penalty shot after attempting a nifty deke move.

The 2nd period was scoreless even though the V-Reds kept up the pressure and out-shot the Mustangs 15-5, including a number of high quality chances that Dodds somehow kept out.

UNB put the game away with a pair of goals early in the 3rd period. At 1:59 Cameron Brace converted a Francis Beavillier pass for a one-time goal from between the hash marks, taking an ugly cross-check in the back in the process, but he remained in the game. Then, at 6:44, Halley (Gazzola, Wall) completed his hat-trick when he took a rebound at the side of the net, patiently waited until Dodds was out of position, circled behind the net, and wrapped the puck around the post before the goalie could recover. The Mustangs broke Etienne Marcoux's shutout bid with a shorthanded marker on a breakaway by Cody Brown at 14:26. Shots favoured UNB 16-7 in the period and 45-15 in the game.

- Scratches for UNB included Peter Trainor, Stephen Anderson, Mike Thomas, and Chris Caissy. Matt Boudens was back up front playing forward after a number of games playing defence.

- UNB was 0 for 7 on the power play, probably one of the few things they didn't do right today. Western was 0 for 4.

- Although Marcoux wasn't tested often, especially in the first two periods, he stopped a couple nice chances early in the 3rd period after the Mustangs were able to get in all alone.

- The teams split the 76 face-offs in the game, each winning 38. Dylan Willick won 15 out of 20.

- Rob Mignardi left the game in the 1st period after being shaken up after attempting to level a Western player. He appeared to be favouring his leg.

- Attendance was 3834.

- Halley and Brown were named the player of the game for their respective teams.

- Halley also had a four goal game against Guelph at last year's University Cup. His 7 career University Cup goals eclipses Daine Todd's 6 for most in UNB history.

- The Mustangs coach Clarke Singer called UNB "the best team we have faced all year" and offered nothing but praise for the V-Reds in his post-game press conference.

- UNB is now 4-1 all-time against Western.

- The Varsity Reds move on to face a familiar foe in tomorrow's semi-final - their AUS rival the Saint Mary's Huskies. UNB went 3-1-0 against SMU this year and at this point there really aren't any surprises between the two squads.

- The only time these two have faced each other in the University Cup was in 2013 when UNB won 2-0 in the National Championship game in Saskatoon. The Huskies will no doubt be looking to avenge that defeat in front of their hometown fans. The V-Reds will be playing in a hostile environment, but they have had success in this situation in the past (see UdeM in Moncton in 2007, Lakehead in Thunder Bay in 2009, Saskatchewan in Saskatoon in 2013). It should be a dandy.

- The game is scheduled for a 4PM AST puck drop. The other semi-final, pitting Saskatchewan and St. FX, goes at 12PM AST. both games will be broadcast nationally on Sportsnet 360.

X-Men Blow Out Bears

The AUS Champion and #3 ranked St. FX X-Men spotted the defending champion and #6 ranked Alberta Golden Bears a 2-0 lead after twenty minutes, but then reeled off 6 consecutive goals over the final two periods in a 6-2 win before 5823 in attendance tonight in Halifax.

Alberta received goals from Jamie Crooks and Riley Kieser just over two minutes apart late in the 1st period and looked well on their way to advancing. However, the X-Men showed the resiliency AUS fans have come to expect over the years by striking for 3 goals in both the 2nd and 3rd periods. Michael Clarke led the way with a hat-trick with Adam Stevens contributing a pair and Zack MacQueen notching the other.

In what has been a trend in almost every Alberta loss this year, the Bears dominated the shot-clock with a 45-27 advantage, but once again their defence and goaltending wasn't quite up to par with recent years - especially last year's University Cup-winning squad.

The X-Men will now advance to face the Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday in one semi-final. Game time is 12 PM and it will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Huskies Win Four Overtime Thriller

Parker Thomas' goal 6:11 into the 4th overtime period lifted the #2 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies over the #7 Carleton Ravens by a 3-2 score in the longest game in University Cup history this afternoon/evening in Halifax.

Levi Cable (12:40 into the 1st period) and Kohl Bauml (5:58 of the 2nd) had the other goals for Saskatchewan, who never trailed in the game. Brent Norris (2:11 into the 2nd period) and Brett Welychka (15:20 of the 2nd) replied for the Ravens.

Jordon Cooke showed why he was named the CIS Goaltender of the Year by making 59 saves. Patrick Kileen was the hard luck loser despite stopping an amazing 68 shots.

The Huskies will now advance to Saturday's 12PM semi-final where they will meet the winner of the upcoming St. FX/Alberta game, which will begin in an hour.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Murray Honoured At Awards Gala

Varsity Reds defenceman Jordan Murray was named the CIS Defenceman of the Year at the CIS Men's Hockey Awards Gala tonight in Halifax. He was also named a 1st team all-Canadian.

From the CIS release:

Murray is the first UNB rearguard to win the CIS award since its inception in 2010. Saint Mary’s Andrew Hotham was the only previous recipient from the AUS conference, in 2011.

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound native of Riverview, N.B., played in 27 of 28 conference games in his third season with the Varsity Reds and was the highest-scoring defenceman in the AUS with a 5-23-28 dossier. As reliable in his own end, Murray posted a +24 rating and helped the V-Reds finish first in the Atlantic and second in the country with 2.18 goals allowed per game.   

Thanks to his all-around strong play, Murray was voted to the first all-Canadian team for the second straight year and became a three-time AUS all-star. Last December, he was on the CIS all-star squad that split a two-game series against Canada’s national junior team hopefuls in Toronto. He joined UNB in the fall of 2013 after a three-year career in the QMJHL, including two seasons with Acadie-Bathurst and one with Drummondville.

“Jordan is a dynamic part of our team and has had a tremendous season,” said head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “He has shown continued improvement in all parts of his game and has been our most consistent player.”

The other nominees were Samuel Labrecque of McGill and Jordan Rowley of Alberta.
Other winners on the evening included UQTR's Guillaume Asselin (player of the year), Saskatchewan's Jordon Cooke (goaltender of the year), Carleton's Brett Welychka (rookie of the year), Calgary's Elgin Pearce (most sportsmanlike), St. FX's Brad Peddle (coach of the year), and St. FX's Nathan Chiarlitti (hockey, academics, and community service).

All-Canadian Teams

First Team
G - Jordon Cooke - Saskatchewan
D - Samuel Labrecque - McGill
D - Jordan Murray - UNB
F - Guillaume Asselin - UQTR
F - Eric Locke - St. FX
F - Tyler Fiddler - Mount Royal - 5 - Prince Albert, Sask. - Business Admin.

Second Team
G - Kevin Bailie- Queen's
D - Jordan Rowley - Alberta
D - Matthew Pufahl - Acadia
F - Colin Behenna - Waterloo
F - Jordan DePape - Manitoba
F - Alex Saulnier - Moncton

All-Rookie Team
G - S├ębastien Auger - UQTR
D - Dominic Talbot-Tassi - McGill
D - Adam Henry - Manitoba
F - Brett Welychka - Carleton
F - Kohl Bauml - Saskatchewan
F - Phil Gadoury - Dalhousie

UNB vs. Western: Preview, Prediction, Poll

Although the 2016 University Cup kicks off tomorrow afternoon in Halifax, the #5 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds won't be hitting the ice until Friday when they entertain the #4 ranked, and OUA runner-up, Western Mustangs at 4PM.

This will be the 5th meeting all-time between the schools, all of which have taken place at Nationals. UNB has won 3 out of the 4 previous meetings.

March 23rd, 2000: Won 3-2 OT (Colin Beardsmore scored the overtime winning goal in UNB's opening game at Nationals in Saskatoon. It was UNB's 3rd of 5 straight overtime games, ultimately losing to the Alberta Golden Bears 5-4 in double overtime in the championship game.)

March 29th, 2009: Won 4-2 (Lachlan MacIntosh scored a hat-trick as UNB captured their 3rd University Cup in Thunder Bay.)

March 26th, 2011: Won 4-0 (Travis Fullerton recorded the shut-out, and UNB's special teams were clutch as they contributed two power play goals, a shorthanded goal, and killed off 10 Western power plays as the V-Reds advanced to the finals before a raucous AUC crowd.)

March 24th, 2012: Lost 3-2 (The Mustangs got their revenge the next year, jumping out to a 3-0 1st period lead and holding off a late charge to end UNB's season on home ice.)

This year's edition of the Mustangs finished the season 18-10-0, which was good enough for 2nd place in the OUA West division, just one point behind the division-leading York Lions. In some ways their season resembled that of the V-Reds. They won their first five games - and 9 out of their first 11 - before hitting a rough patch before the Christmas break where they lost 6 out of 7 games. They eventually recovered to go 8-2-0 to end the season. The Mustangs hovered in and out of the top ten rankings all season. They received votes in all but one poll but were only ranked higher than 8th twice all year (5th on October 27th and 6th on March 8th).

The Mustangs opened the playoffs with a sweep of Laurier, but then lost their first game against Toronto to push them to the brink of elimination. They came back with consecutive wins to knock off the Varsity Blues, including an overtime win in the 3rd and deciding game. They also needed three games to dispatch Guelph in the division finals, which advanced them to the Queen's Cup against UQTR. Despite taking a 3-1 lead into the 3rd period the Mustangs fell to the Patriotes 4-3 in overtime.

Western has kind of flown under the radar all season long, as evidenced by the fact they did not have one single player named to the OUA West 1st all-star team, 2nd all-star team, or all-rookie teams. This is not entirely surprising given they did not have anyone rank among the top-50 point producers in the country. They are led offensively by Matt Marantz (5 goals, 21 assists in 24 games) and Shaun Furlong and Andrew Goldberg, each of whom had a team-high 9 goals. They also feature former St. Thomas Tommie Stephen Sanza, who collected 5 points in 11 games after joining the team at the Christmas break for his final season of eligibility. On defence Alex Micallef led the way with 15 points in 26 games. Alex Dodda has carried the bulk of the load in net, appearing in 17 games and going 11-4-0 with a 2.64 GAA and 0.919 save percentage.

Looking at the Mustangs team stats, they appeared to have a decidedly average season. They ranked 10th (out of 37 teams) in the country in goals scored (3.68), 16th in goals against (3.00), 18th in power play (17.7%), and 18th in penalty killing (84.4%). By comparison, UNB ranked 2nd in goals scored (4.64), 2nd in goals allowed (2.18), 20th in power play (17.1%), and 11th on the penalty kill (84.8%).

Overall, much like last year against Windsor and Guelph, the Varsity Reds should emerge victorious in this game as the Mustangs have less impressive numbers despite playing in an easier conference than UNB. This might be game that remains close for awhile, but UNB's depth and relentless attack should eventually prevail. However, as we saw when these two teams met in 2012, anything can happen in a one game situation. The Varsity Reds have had a tendency this season to make some glaring defensive gaffes as well as take a high number of penalties. If those problems arise again for UNB, they will have a battle on their hands. In fact, the Mustangs only accumulated 339 penalty minutes this season to UNB's CIS-leading 720. The X-Men won the special teams battle in the AUS Final and it was probably the biggest reason - along with goaltending - why they won the series. Although Western is ranked higher going into this game - and will be the home team as a result - everyone is predicting an easy UNB victory with a Western win being seen as a monumental upset. However, if the Mustangs can take advantage of their chances and maybe get a break or two this could be one of those games where the score is tight, but the shots are 38-23 for UNB. I'm not counting on it though. The V-Reds have historically dominated OUA teams and they will be motivated by their loss to St. FX to show everyone why they should be considered one of the teams to beat this weekend.


Who wins?

UNB by 1-2 goals
UNB by 3+ goals
Western by 1-2 goals
Western by 3+ goals

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

University Cup Preview

The CIS has released their annual University Cup preview. It is, as always, chock full of everything you need to know about all eight participating teams. You can check it out here.

Monday, March 14, 2016

UNB At The University Cup

On Friday afternoon the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will face off with the OUA's Western Mustangs in the opening round of the 2016 University Cup. This will be the V-Reds 13th appearance at the National Championship since 1996-1997 - and the 10th under current head coach Gardiner MacDougall. Here is a look at how they have fared in their previous 12 tournaments.

1996-1997: 1-1 (Defeated Alberta in semi-finals, Lost to Guelph in finals)
1997-1998: 3-0 (Defeated Windsor and Alberta in round robin, Defeated Acadia in finals)
1999-2000: 2-1 (Defeated Western and Saskatchewan in round robin, Lost to Alberta in finals)
2002-2003: 1-2 (Defeated Lakehead and Lost to UQTR in round robin, Lost to Alberta in bronze medal game)
2003-2004: 2-1 (Defeated Ottawa and Alberta in round robin, Lost to St. FX in finals)
2006-2007: 3-0 (Defeated Saskatchewan and UQTR in round robin, Defeated Moncton in finals)
2007-2008: 2-1 (Defeated Brock and Saskatchewan in round robin, Lost to Alberta in finals)
2008-2009: 3-0 (Defeated Alberta and Lakehead in round robin, Defeated Western in finals)
2010-2011: 3-0 (Defeated Calgary and Western in round robin, Defeated McGill in finals)
2011-2012: 1-1 (Defeated UQTR and Lost to Western in round robin)
2012-2013: 3-0 (Defeated Saskatchewan and UQTR in round robin, Defeated Saint Mary's in finals)
2014-2015: 2-1 (Defeated Windsor in 1st round, Defeated Guelph in semi-finals, Lost to Alberta in finals)

Overall: 26-8, 20-6 under MacDougall

A few interesting notes:

- UNB has won their opening game at all 12 of their previous appearances.

- They have made it to the National Championship game in 7 out of their last 8 appearances.

- UNB's 5 University Cups rank only behind Alberta (15) and Toronto (10) all-time.

- The V-Reds will be playing in the afternoon pool this year. They won their first two Championships (1998, 2007) after playing in the afternoon pool while they were placed in the evening pool for their last three (2009, 2011, 2013).

- If UNB wants to capture their 6th University Cup they will have to win 3 games in 3 days, something they have never done. In fact, they have played on Thursday in each of their last 7 appearances. The last time they played on a Friday at the University Cup was when they hosted in 2004. 

- MacDougall is 12-2 against OUA teams all-time at the University Cup (4-3 loss to UQTR in 2003 round robin, 3-2 loss to Western in 2012 round robin).

-UNB is on a 42-1-0 (and 46-1-1) run against OUA teams since an exhibition loss to Lakehead over the 2004-2005 Christmas break. Their one loss during that stretch - the 3-2 setback to the Mustangs in the 2012 University Cup at the AUC.

- This will be the 5th all-time meeting between the V-Reds and Mustangs, with all of the previous encounters taking place at Nationals. It will be their 4th meeting since UNB defeated Western 4-2 in the 2009 National Championship game.

- According to the indispensable @VRedsHckyStats, 8 out of the last 10 University Cup winners were also conference champions. The only two times this wasn't the case was in 2007 when the V-Reds defeated Moncton after losing to them in the conference finals and in 2009 when UNB lost in the conference finals to Saint Mary's but defeated Western in the CIS Final.

- Also, the V-Reds will enter the tournament as the 5th seed. The only other team ranked that low to win the University Cup? UNB in 2007, when they were also ranked 5th.

With information from the RedSea Database

Sunday, March 13, 2016

University Cup Schedule Announced

The CIS has announced the seeding and schedule for the upcoming University Cup and, not surprisingly, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will begin their quest for a 6th National Championship against the Western Ontario Mustangs on Friday afternoon. It will be the two teams 4th meeting at the University Cup since 2009. As many will remember, the Mustangs defeated the V-Reds 3-2 at the AUC in the 2012 semi-finals in their last match-up.

We will have more in the coming days. In the meantime, here is how things break down:


1. UQTR Patriotes (OUA champions: 24-3-1 regular season / 7-0 playoffs)
2. Saskatchewan Huskies (CWUAA champions: 22-6-0 regular season / 4-0 playoffs)
3. StFX X-Men (AUS champions: 18-6-4 regular season / 5-1 playoffs)
4. Western Mustangs (OUA finalists: 18-10-0 regular season / 6-3 playoffs)
5. UNB Varsity Reds (AUS finalists: 23-3-2 regular season / 3-2 playoffs)
6. Alberta Golden Bears (CWUAA finalists: 19-7-2 regular season / 2-2 playoffs)
7. Carleton Ravens (OUA bronze medalists: 20-7-1 regular season / 5-2 playoffs)
8. Saint Mary’s Huskies (Hosts: 17-8-3 regular season / 3-3 playoffs)


Wednesday, March 16
7:55-17:15 60-minute practices OPEN TO MEDIA (Scotiabank Centre)
11:00 Meet the Teams Media Conference (Scotiabank Centre)
18:30 All-Canadian Dinner & Gala (Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel)

Thursday, March 17
16:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 7 Carleton vs. No. 2 Saskatchewan (Eastlink TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 6 Alberta vs. No. 3 StFX (Eastlink TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Friday, March 18
16:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 5 UNB vs. No. 4 Western (Eastlink TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv)
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 8 Saint Mary’s vs. No. 1 UQTR (Eastlink TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv)

Saturday, March 19
12:00 Semifinal 1: Winner QF 1 vs. Winner QF 2 (SN 360 & TVA Sports / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *
16:00 Semifinal 2: Winner QF 3 vs. Winner QF 4 (SN 360 & TVA Sports / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

Sunday, March 20
14:00 Bronze (Eastlink TV / www.CIS-SIC.tv)
18:30 Final (Sportsnet 360 & TVA Sports 2 / www.CIS-SIC.tv) *

* Webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.

Predicting The UCup Draw

With the CIS playoffs wrapping up last night we now know all 8 participating teams at this week's University Cup, which begins on Thursday afternoon in Halifax. By examining the 8 teams who will take part in the tournament we can use the 2015-2016 CIS Men's Hockey Playing Regulations to get a very good idea how the bracket might look.

The 8 participating teams include:
Canada West Champion - Saskatchewan Huskies (22-6-0 regular season, 4-0 playoffs)
Canada West runner-up - Alberta Golden Bears (19-7-2, 2-2)
Ontario University Athletics Champion - UQTR Patriotes (24-3-1, 7-0)
Ontario University Athletics runner-up - Western Mustangs (18-10-0, 6-3)
Ontario University Athletics 3rd place - Carleton Ravens (20-7-1, 5-2)
Atlantic University Sport Champion - St. FX X-Men (18-6-4, 5-1)
Atlantic University Sport runner-up - UNB Varsity Reds (23-3-2, 3-2)
Atlantic University Sport 3rd place/host - Saint Mary's Huskies (17-8-3, 3-3)

Based on this we should be able to accurately predict how the bracket will shape up.

The first four seeds should be relatively easy to determine. According to the playing regulations:

1. The three (3) Sport Conference champions will be seeded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd based on their respective team national ranking in the final Top Ten of the season. The last Top 10 ranking will be done after the Sport Conference playoffs are completed.
This means that UQTR (OUA Champion), Saskatchewan (CW Champion), and St. FX (AUS Champion) must be seeded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Those three teams were ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively in the last Top 10 poll. Although there will be one more, unpublished, top 10 poll conducted I think it is unlikely that the order of these three teams changes. Based on this it is reasonable to assume UQTR will be seeded #1, Saskatchewan #2, and St. FX #3.

Next up, we can easily identify the #4 seed:
2. The OUA finalist (either the OUA East or OUA West divisional champion) will be seeded #4.
 The Western Mustangs were the OUA West divisional champions and OUA runner-up. Thus, they are #4.

Seeding #5 through #8 is where things can start to get a little tricky as the seeding committee has a little bit more leeway in terms of slotting teams. According to the regulations:
3. The remaining 4 qualifying teams will be seeded using the final Top Ten of the season as a guiding tool.
4. Results of regional playoffs must be respected
Again, there should be one more Top 10 poll released, but if we look at last week's rankings UNB was ranked #1, Alberta #5, Carleton #7, and Saint Mary's #8.

Essentially, number 4 just states that 3rd place teams from the OUA (Carleton) and AUS (Saint Mary's) can't be ranked higher than the 2nd place teams from the AUS (UNB) or Canada West (Alberta), which isn't the case anyway so it is a moot point.

So, going off of this we would have:

1 - UQTR
2 - Saskatchewan
3 - St. FX
4 - Western
5 - UNB
6 - Alberta
7 - Carleton
8 - Saint Mary's

Last year this resulted in two AUS teams playing in the opening round, and according to the regulations:

Once the seeding has been completed, teams 5 through 8 can be flipped no more than two spots (up or down) to try to avoid first round match-ups of teams from the same sport conference. (This means teams seeded 1 through 4 cannot be flipped). 
However, this season there are no first round match-ups that involve teams from the same conference so it is likely the above is how the final seeding will look.

According to all of the above #1 UQTR/#8 Saint Mary's and #4 Western/#5 UNB will be the quarter-final match-ups on one side of the draw and #2 Saskatchewan/#7 Carleton and #3 St. FX/#6 Alberta will be the quarter-final match-ups on the opposite side.

It is also important to note that teams will NOT be re-seeded after the quarter-finals, so the winner of the #1/#8 match-up will play the #4/#5 winner and the #2/#7 winner will play the #3/#6 winner regardless of what teams move on.

One drawback to this schedule is the possibility of having an all-Canada West semi-final between Saskwatchewan and Alberta on one side of the draw and either an all-AUS (UNB/Saint Mary's) or all-OUA (UQTR/Carleton) semi-final on the other side of the draw. Since the CIS is more concerned with avoiding intra-conference match-ups in the first round this is result. So while it is not ideal, it is really the only possible set-up.

In terms of the schedule, Saint Mary's has already confirmed they will be playing Friday night (again, most likely against UQTR). This means that the other game on their side of the bracket (Western/UNB) will be played on Friday afternoon. It is also highly probable the organizing committee will prefer St. FX to play their game against Alberta on Thursday night for attendance purposes, which puts the Saskatchewan/Carleton game will get the Thursday afternoon slot.

The CIS is expected to announce the official seedings and schedule this afternoon.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

CIS Playoff Update

The CIS playoffs wrapped up tonight with the Carleton Ravens knocking off the visiting Guelph Gryphons 4-1 to capture the final berth at the University Cup and the UQTR Patriotes defeating the Western Mustangs 4-3 in overtime to win the Queen's Cup/OUA Championship. The latter result is significant for the Varsity Reds as it is highly likely they will now meet the Mustangs in their first round match-up. The official tournament schedule will be released tomorrow afternoon.


Finals (best 2-of-3)
#2 St. FX defeated #1 UNB 2 games to 0 (3-2, 5-3)


OUA Championship - Queen's Cup
#1 UQTR defeated #2 Western 4-3 OT

Bronze Medal Game
#3 Carleton defeated #4 Guelph 4-1


Finals (best 2-of-3)
#1 Saskatchewan defeated #2 Alberta 2 games to 0 (4-0, 3-2)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

X-Men Claim AUS Crown

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds got out to a 2-0 1st period lead but the hometown St. FX X-Men rallied for a 5-3 victory before a sold-out crowd tonight in Antigonish to claim their AUS-record 25th conference championship, and first since 2004.

The V-Reds went up 2-0 on goals by Philippe Halley at 5:06 of the 1st period and Alex Wall at 14:56, but a penalty just after the second goal proved to be costly as St. FX scored on the ensuing power play, just 44 seconds later, to cut the lead to 2-1. After that it was a pretty typical X-Men game we have become accustomed to as they took advantage of another power play to tie the game at 7:51 of the 2nd period and then, after Christopher Clapperton restored UNB's lead at 10:07, the X-Men once again wasted no time in responding, scoring just 55 second later. St. FX took their first lead of the game 1:59, off a broken-stick shot no less, and played a dominant defensive game the rest of the way, blocking a pile of shots and intercepting pass after pass to deny the potent V-Reds attack from getting anything going. UNB's best chance game late in the game on a power play when Philippe Maillet took a cross-slot pass and fired a one-timer that Drew Owsley made a larcenous save on. The X-Men kept the puck in UNB's zone for most of the final minute and put it away with a goal with only 19 seconds left, which of course went off a ref and came right to an X-Men player. Yup, it was that kind of series for the Varsity Reds.

- Shots in the game were 38-28 for the X-Men.

- Special teams proved to be huge with UNB going 0 for 4 on the power play tonight, and 0 for the series. St. FX was 2 for 4 with the man advantage to go along with a power play goal in the first game.

- UNB has now lost 4 straight playoff games in Antigonish.

- The V-Reds will now have to regroup and get ready for the University Cup next week in Halifax. They are most likely going to be seeded 5th in the tournament and will face the #4 seed - the OUA runner-up (either UQTR or Western) - in their first round match-up. If this is indeed the case they will also be grouped with the #1 and #8 seeds.

- We will have more in the coming days.

Monday, March 7, 2016

UNB Drops Game 1

The visiting St. FX X-Men jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held off a furious final push by the V-Reds as they took game 1 by a 3-2 score, shocking the 3003 in attendance tonight at the AUC. They will have a chance to win the AUS Championship on home ice on Wednesday night while UNB will try to bring the series back to Fredericton for a deciding game 3 on Friday night.

It was a familiar story - one UNB fans have seen on a few occasions - against the X-Men. The V-Reds could not capitalize during an opening push, taking the game's first 9 shots, as goaltender Drew Owsley was sharp from the opening face-off. Of course, St. FX then took advantage of their chances and scored two goals in 62 seconds late in the the 1st period. The first coming off a nice give and go in the offensive zone and then doubling their lead on their first power play when a shot deflected off a defender and past Etienne Marcoux, just moments after Philippe Halley was stopped on a shorthanded break.

St. FX made it 3-0 early in the 2nd period on an odd-man rush and the deficit proved insurmountable on this night. Randy Gazzola got UNB on the board at 18:19 of the 2nd period and Philippe Maillet made it 3-2 with 5:34 remaining, but they could not tie it up despite a late flurry with the extra attacker.

- The V-Reds also hit two posts on the night, including one late in the game off of a Francis Beauvillier shot when it was 3-2.

- Shots in the game were 38-29 for UNB

- Cam Brace, Peter Trainor, Chris Caissy, and Colin Suellentrop were all out of the line-up.

- This is the first game UNB has lost at home in regulation since a 4-3 setback against Saint Mary's on November 14th, 2014. They had been on a 33-0-2 run at the AUC before tonight.

- UNB had won 14 straight home games against St. FX, dating back to a 2-1 OT loss in game 2 of the 2011 AUS Final. In fact, no current member of the X-Men had ever won a game at the AUC before tonight.

- The loss also snaps the V-Reds 19 game winning streak this season. They hadn't suffered a loss since November 25th in Moncton.

- Game 2 goes Wednesday night in Antigonish. Game time is 7PM and can be viewed on AUStv.ca.

CIS Playoff Update

The UQTR Patriotes and Western Mustangs both clinched berths at the University Cup by virtue of series victories over the weekend. This means 7 out of the 8 spots at the tournament are now filled with the Guelph Gryphons and Carleton Ravens facing off Saturday to determine the final berth.


Semi-finals (best 3-of-5)
#1 UNB defeated #6 UPEI 3 games to 0
#2 St. FX defeated #4 Saint Mary's 3 games to 1

Finals (best 2-of-3) - Begins Monday
#1 UNB vs. #2 St. FX


East Division Final (best 2-of-3)
#1 UQTR defeated #3 Carleton 2 games to 0

West Division Final (best 2-of-3)
#2 Western defeated #4 Guelph 2 games to 1

OUA Championship - Queen's Cup (Single Game)
#1 UQTR at #2 Western

Bronze Medal Game
#4 Guelph at #3 Carleton


Finals (best 2-of-3)
#1 Saskatchewan defeated #2 Alberta 2 games to 0

Sunday, March 6, 2016

UNB vs. St. FX - Preview, Prediction, Poll

The AUS Final will finally get underway tomorrow night when the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds welcome the rival St. FX X-Men to to the AUC for game 1 of the best 2-of-3 series. While both teams have already clinched a berth at next weeks University Cup the winner of this series will be guaranteed a top-3 seed at the tournament, while the loser can not be ranked any higher than 5th.

As mentioned earlier this week the V-Reds and X-Men are certainly no strangers to one another at this time of the year. Although UNB has come out on top in 5 of the last 6 playoff meetings, the last two - 2011 and 2015 - have both gone the distance. We can probably expect something similar this year as three out of the four regular season games were decided by a single goal, with two going into overtime. Overall, the Varsity Reds went 3-1-0 against X this year while St. FX went 1-1-2 against UNB. On October 16th Randy Gazzola scored the OT winner to lift UNB to a 4-3 home win. The X-Men prevailed 6-5 at home on November 20th as the V-Reds were going through a tough stretch due to a number of injuries at the time. UNB swept both 2nd half meetings. This included a 6-2 home win on January 9th in a game that was marred by 192 minutes in penalties and a 3-2 OT win in Antigonish on January 16th with Jordan Murray getting the winner.

Despite losing arguably their top two players from last year's squad - former Saint John Sea Dog Michael Kirkpatrick and former AHLer Robert Slaney - due to graduation this year's edition of the X-Men might be their best in recent memory thanks to the improvement of many of their returning players and a strong recruiting class. Although they only ranked 4th in the conference with 105 goals scored, this was their highest total since 2008-2009 season. They are led up front by a pair of sophomores in AUS MVP Eric Locke (35 points, 3rd in AUS) and Kristoff Kontos (27 points) and a trio of freshmen - Holden Cook (27 points), Michael Clarke (21 points), and Nathan Pancel (18 points). They also feature 8 others who posted 10+ points this year. Surprisingly, they feature one of the weakest power plays in the conference as they finished only 7th in the regular season with only a 13.4 success rate

Defensively, the X-Men also ranked 4th with 75 goals allowed. This was higher than last year but as many AUS fans know, goaltender Drew Owsley (24 GP, 2.54 GAA, 0.914) is more than capable of stealing a game. The X-Men also struggled on the penalty kill this season, again placing 7th in the conference with a 81.7% percentage. The X-Men will also have to make due without the services of defenceman Max Iafrate for the duration of the series as he was given a 4 game suspension after picking up a major penalty in game 3 of their semi-final series against Saint Mary's.

Overall, the X-Men will undoubtedly provide another stiff test for the V-Reds thanks to their improved offense and always strong defensive play. They key for UNB, like it always is against St. FX, will be to get the lead and force the X-Men to play their style of game. If the X-Men take a lead and go into a defensive shell we have all seen how effective and frustrating that can be for the V-Reds. I don't expect the X-Men to generate the same number of shots and scoring chances as UNB so the Varsity Reds - and goaltender Etienne Marcoux - will need to ensure St. FX doesn't take advantage of their limited opportunities to give them any confidence and momentum. I expect the series to be tightly contested and would not be surprised to see an overtime game (or even a 3rd game), but the V-Reds are just on too much of a roll right now and appear to be as healthy as they have been in quite sometime. As long as UNB plays their game they should prevail and capture another AUS Championship.


What do you think?

Your Prediction?

UNB in 2
UNB in 3
St. FX in 2
St. FX in 3

UNB Camo Jersey Up For Auction

Just a reminder that today is the last day to bid on the the "blank" UNB Varsity Reds Camo Jersey, which was created for Military Appreciation Night on February 5th, 2016.

Follow the link for more information and to place a bid.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

AUS Final Schedule Announced, UNB/X Playoff History

The AUS has announced the full schedule for the upcoming best 2-of-3 AUS Final between the St. FX X-Men and UNB Varsity Reds. We already knew that game 1 was taking place Monday night at the AUC, but we now know game 2 will be held Wednesday in Antigonish and game 3, if necessary, will be back in Fredericton on Friday, March 11th. All games are scheduled for 7PM and will be streamed live at AUStv.ca.

The V-Reds and X-Men are certainly no stranger to one another at this time of the year. This will mark the 9th playoff series between the two teams since Gardiner MacDougall took over as head coach in, the most common playoff opponent for the V-Reds during that span (Acadia is next with 6 series) 2000-2001.

This will be the 9th time the two teams have met in the playoffs since 2000-2001, the most common playoff opponent for the V-Reds during that span. UNB has gone 17-12 (13-3 at home, 4-9 on road) in winning 6 out of the previous 8 series. 7 of those game have gone into overtime.

Here is the breakdown:

2000-2001: Lost 2 game to 1 in semi-finals
2002-2003: Won 3 game to 1 in finals
2004-2005: Won 2 games to 0 in quarter-finals
2005-2006: Won 2 games to 1 in quarter-finals
2006-2007: Won 3 games to 1 in semi-finals
2009-2010: Lost 3 games to 0 in semi-finals
2010-2011: Won 3 games to 2 in finals
2014-2015: Won 3 games to 2 in semi-finals 

- This is the 3rd time the two have faced in the finals with UNB winning both of the previous instances (2003 and 2011).

- The last two series have gone the distance, with Kyle Bailey's overtime goal in game 5 clinching an AUS Championship on home ice in 2011 and the V-Reds blowing a 2-0 series lead before recovering to win game 5 in last year's semi-finals.

- Each of the last 4 series were best 3-of-5 affairs. This is the first best 2-of-3 meeting since 2006.

- Of course, both teams have already clinched berths in the University Cup. However, the winner will receive a higher seed at the University Cup and, presumably, the easier path to the final. If UNB's wins they will almost certainly enter the tournament as the #1 seed. If they lose they cannot be ranked any higher than 5th,

- Tickets for game 1 are now on sale, both online and at the AUC box office. Lets pack the rink and show why the Varsity Reds have the best fans in the country.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

X-Men Advance To Final

The Varsity Reds and X-Men will renew their rivalry, this time with an AUS Championship on the line. St. FX rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat the Saint Mary's Huskies 4-3 in game 4 of their semi-final series tonight in Halifax. The X-Men take the series 3 games to 1 and move on to face the V-Reds in the AUS Final. They have also ensured a berth at the University Cup, joining UNB and Saint Mary's, who were already guaranteed a spot because they are the host.

Game 1 of the best 2-of-3 AUS Final is scheduled for Monday, March 7th at the AUC. Game time is 7PM and tickets are now available for purchase at the box office as well as online.

We will have more on the series in the coming days.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

AUS Final To Begin Monday

According to the UNB Hockey Twitter...

UNB In The AUS Final

Last night's 4-0 victory over the UPEI Panthers in game 3 of their semi-final series has propelled the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds to their 16th AUS Finals appearance since 1973. It is their 10th appearance since current head coach Gardiner MacDougall took the helm in 2010-2011. Here is how they have fared historically:

1984: Defeated Moncton 2 games to 0
1993: Lost to Acadia 2 games to 0
1994: Lost to Acadia 2 games to 0
1997: Defeated Acadia 2 games to 0
1998: Defeated Acadia 2 games to 1
2000: Defeated Acadia 3 games to 1
2003: Defeated St. FX 3 games to 1
2006: Lost to Acadia 3 games to 0
2007: Lost to Moncton 2 games to 0
2008: Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 0
2009: Lost to Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2011: Defeated St. FX 3 games to 2
2012: Defeated Moncton 3 games to 0
2013: Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2015: Defeated Acadia 2 games to 0

Overall: 25-17, 10 series wins and 5 series losses
Under MacDougall: 16-11, 6 series wins and 3 series losses

- UNB's 10 AUS titles since 1984 are the most in the conference, ahead of the 6 won by both Moncton and Acadia.

- Although they rank 2nd all-time with 14 AUS titles, UNB is still well behind the 24 championships won by St. FX.

- This is UNB's 9th appearance in the final in the last 11 seasons.

- It will also mark the 7th straight appearance where the V-Reds will have home-ice advantage. They have taken game 1 at home in each of the last 6 instances, ultimately winning 5 of those series.