Friday, November 11, 2016

Defence Leads The V-Reds

The USports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds received three goals from their defencemen as they went into Antigonish and emerged with a emphatic 7-3 victory this evening over the #2 ranked St. FX X-Men. UNB improves their record to 9-0-2 on the season while St. FX falls to 8-4-0.

The Varsity Reds came out and immediately took control of the game with an outstanding first period, out-shooting the X-Men 18-4 and taking a 3-0 lead. Jordan Murray (Halley, Beauvillier) got UNB on the board 4:30 into the contest when he flipped a seeing-eye shot through a maze of bodies that beat goaltender Chase Marchand up high, blocker side. They doubled their lead at 13:56 when Matt Petgrave picked up the puck just inside the offensive zone and went for a skate, carrying the puck down the left side and behind the net before circling back up to the point. He then took a wrist shot that Cam Critchlow, screening the goalie in front, deflected just enough of to have trickle it over the goal line. The V-Reds were then given a late power play and Philippe Maillet (Gazzola, Beauvillier) was able to convert with just 8 seconds left in the period when he unleashed a wrist shot from the left face-off circle short side on Marchand.

The X-Men looked to regroup during the intermission and dominated play in the early going of the 2nd period, however Etienne Marcoux was up to the task as he made several big saves to preserve the 3-0 lead. After coming up empty on three straight power plays, including a 1:50 two-man advantage, St. FX finally got on the board at 17:06 when Max Iafrate streaked down the right side and blasted a slap shot just inside the far post. The momentum was short-lived, however. Much like the 1st period the V-Reds went on a late power play and once again they came through. This time it was Randy Gazzola (Beauvillier, Anderson) floating a wrist shot from the top of the left face-off circle through traffic - including Mike Thomas, who was providing an effective screen in front - and in for his first goal of the season at 19:42. Shots in the period were 15-12 for the X-Men.

UNB extended their lead to 5-1 5:40 into the 3rd period with an almost carbon copy of the previous goal. With Thomas again causing a distraction in front of the goal, Petgrave (Gazzola, Caissy) waited for the screen to form before firing a wrist shot from the point in. After Michael Clarke pulled the X-Men within 5-2 at 7:05, the V-Reds responded just 50 seconds later when Mark Simpson (Anderson) jabbed a bouncing puck through Marchand's legs for hist first career AUS goal. UNB then made it 7-2 at 12:29 after a lengthy shift in the offensive zone eventually resulted in Cameron Brace (Caissy, Maillet) banging in a cross-crease pass. Matt Needham  made the score line a bit more respectable just 22 seconds later when he picked up a loose puck during on a goal-mouth scramble in front of Marcoux and deposited it into the back of the net. That would cap the scoring on the night as the Varsity Reds came away with a 7-3 final. Shots in the period were 12-6 for UNB.

- Christopher Clapperton saw his first regular season action of the year as he returned to the line-up. Cam Braes missed his second consecutive game and Colin Suellentrop was also out after leaving last Saturday's game early after a hit into the boards. Oliver Cooper and Peter Trainor remained out.

- Marcus McIvor left the game in the 1st period after a hard check from behind into the boards resulted in a cut over his eye that needed nine stitches to close. This left UNB with only four defenceman until he returned later in the game.

- Final shots were 42-25 in favour of UNB.

- Etienne Marcoux improved his record to 6-0-1 on the season.

- St. FX was 0 for 7 on the power play while the V-Reds had a big night, going 3 for 8 with the man advantage.

- UNB won 39 out the 70 face-offs in the game.

- Gazzola (1 goal, 2 assists) was named the player of the game. Matt Petgrave (1 goal, 1 assist) and X-Men forward Matt Needham were the other two stars.

- UNB entered the game having lost 5 of their last 6 games in Antigonish.

- This is the latest the V-Reds have gone into a season without a regulations loss since 2009-2010 when they started the season 26-0-0.

- This is UNB's 4th straight game where they have won by 4 or more goals. The last time they accomplished that feat was during the 2007-2008 pre-season when they defeated St. Thomas 8-1, Brock 5-1, Waterloo 7-1, and Laurier 10-2. The last time it occurred in the regular season was in 1979-1980 when they beat St. Thomas 11-3, UPEI 13-9, Mount Allison 10-5, and Memorial 14-1 in succession.

- In other AUS game tonight Dalhousie got another sparkling game in net from Corbin Boes (36 saves) as they defeated UPEI 3-1 in Halifax and Saint Mary's scored five unanswered goals to top Moncton 5-1 on the road.

- Tomorrow night the V-Reds continue their road trip as they travel to Halifax to face the Dalhousie Tigers. Game time is 7PM and can be seen live at www.AUStv.ca