Friday, March 18, 2016

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.