Sunday, March 20, 2016

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