Friday, October 7, 2016

UNB Raises Banner, Routs Aigles Bleus

(Photo Credit: UNB Varsity Reds on Facebook)

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds hung their 6th National Championship banner from the rafters and then went to work on defending it. The early returns are promising. The Varsity Reds scored on their first shot of the season and never let up, demolishing the visiting Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus 9-0 tonight at the AUC to extend their impressive streak to 28 straight home opening victories.

Reigning CIS defenceman of the year Jordan Murray (Simpson, Thomas), fresh off of a stint at Tampa Bays training camp, got the V-Reds off an running 2:31 into the contest when he beat netminder Brandon Thibeau with a shot from the top of the left face-off circle. Murray (Maillet, Beauvillier) would strike again at 6:46 when he took a pass just inside the offensive zone and was allowed to skate straight to the net without any resistance before flipping the puck over Thibeau's shoulder. UNB was then given a two man advantage and with the way they were playing on this night the result was unsurprising. Francis Beauvillier (Gazzola, Anderson) took a cross-slot pass and hammered it into the open net at 14:49, just seconds after the first penalty expired. The V-Reds would take the 3-0 lead into intermission, out-shooting Moncton 15-5 in the period.

UNB would extend their lead to 5-0 in the second period. Cam Braes (Murphy, Thomas) got his first of the year at 8:35 after taking a stretch pass and skating in all alone before making a nice move to put the puck in. Mike Thomas (Beauvillier, Anderson) notched the V-Reds second power play goal of the night at 11:25 after he received the puck at the top of the crease with his back to the goal. Thomas fooled Thibeau after faking to his left before spinning around to his right and sliding the puck past the out of position goalie. UNB held a shot advantage of 17-5 in the period.

The Aigles Bleus replaced Thibeau to begin the third period, summoning Alexi Thibaudeau to the crease. However, nothing would stop UNB on this night as they scored four more to close out the game with Randy Gazzola (Willick, Murphy), Philippe Halley (Gazzola, Murphy), Philippe Maillet (Murray, Anderson), and Marcus McIver (Willick, Thomas) - with his first as a V-Red - doing the honours. Shots were 13-4 in the period and 45-14 in the game for UNB.

- Christopher Clapperton (injured), Chris Caissy (personal), Peter Trainor, and Oliver Cooper were all out of the line-up for UNB.

- Etienne Marcoux got the start in net and was only challenged on a couple of occasions in picking up the shutout. It was UNB's 3rd straight shutout versus CIS competition to begin the year. They blanked UPEI and McGill 7-0 and 1-0, respectively, in pre-season play.

- UNB was 2 for 3 on the power play. Moncton was 0 for 5.

- UNB won 36 out of 63 face-offs in the game. Mark Simpson led the way by going 16 out of 23.

- Mike Thomas (1 goal, 3 assists, +6) was the player of the game and first star. Jordan Murray (2 goals, 1 assist) was the second star and Matt Murphy (3 assists) was the third star.

- Attendance was 2060.

- Dylan Willick is a new alternate captain this season to go along with holdovers Rob Mignardi and Cam Braes. Cameron Critchlow, of course, will be the team captain for a 3rd straight season.

- The V-Reds were sporting brand new white jerseys. The new threads are similar to the old ones with perhaps the most noticeable difference being the inclusion of red and black stripes just above and below the elbows. This is a similar design to their black jerseys. The old jerseys had one large red stripe and one large black stripe.

- This is UNB's 6th straight season opening win as well as their 9th straight home victory over Moncton.

- Elsewhere in the AUS tonight Acadia got past Saint Mary's 4-1 in Wolfville and St. FX beat up on Dalhousie 5-0 in Halifax.

- The Varsity Reds are back at it tomorrow night when they travel to Charlottetown to face the UPEI Panthers in their home opener. Game time is 7PM and once again all games this season can be streamed live at www.AUStv.ca.