The U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored four power play goals en route to a 6-2 victory over the UPEI Panthers tonight in Charlottetown, their 7th win in a row. UNB remains undefeated in regulation time this season as they improve to 11-0-2. On the flip side, the 5th place Panthers have now dropped three in a row to fall to 5-6-2 on the season.
The Varsity Reds opened the scoring just past the midway point of the opening period when Chris Caissy (Mignardi, Clapperton) had his quick shot from the top of the left face-off circle partially deflected by a defender. The fluttering puck fooled Panthers goaltender Matt Mahalak just enough to squeeze between his arm and body and into the back of the net. Although the Panthers would receive a 45 second two man advantage a few minutes later, that would prove to be the only goal of the period as UNB out-shot UPEI 10-5.
After taking four straight penalties to begin the game, the V-Reds would get three straight power play opportunities in the 2nd period and they would convert on their first two chances to make it a 3-0 game. At 11:22 it was Cameron Brace (Braes, Mignardi) coming in off the blue line and getting the puck all alone on the right side after a tie-up on an offensive zone face-off. Brace skated in and fired a hard wrist shot that beat Mahalak cleanly on the far side. Just under 6 minutes later it was Caissy (Gazzola, Thomas) getting his 2nd of the night after picking up a loose puck at the top of the left face-off circle after a collision between Thomas and two Panthers. He had an open lane to the net and sniped a shot into the top left corner. UNB would take a three goal lead to the 3rd period after a period in which they out-shot the Panthers 15-4.
The Panthers scored two goals in the first 4:33 of the 3rd period as they attempted to make a comeback, but that was sandwiched around Brace's (Boudens, Petgrave) second goal of the night at 3:30 as he jammed in a loose puck during a scramble in the crease. UNB would then go on a four minute power play at 11:05 and put the game away with a goals on each end of the double-minor. First, it was Christopher Clapperton (Caissy, Anderson) scoring for the second straight game on the rush at 12:21 and then, just 47 seconds later, Brace (Murray, Maillet) would complete his hat-trick with a one-time from the left side after some nice puck movement and patience in the offensive zone had the defense out of position. That would cap the scoring in this on as the Panthers did hold a slight 9-8 advantage in shots in the period.
- Shots in the game were 33-18 for UNB.
- Etienne Marcoux turned aside 16 shots on the night in improving to 7-0-1 on the season and 23-2-1 in his career.
- Cam Braes made his return to the line-up after missing two games with an injury. Cameron Critchlow, Colin Suellentrop, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were the scratches. UNB once again played with 13 forwards and 5 defenceman.
- The V-Reds special teams were the difference tonight. They went 4 for 5 on the power play and killed off all five of the Panthers man-advantage opportunities. UNB currently leads the AUS in both power play percentage (31.3%) and penalty killing percentage (90.7%).
- UNB had a good night in the face-off circle, winning 45 out of 76.
- Brace (3 goals) was named the player of the game.
- Caissy also had three points (2 goals, 1 assist) while Clapperton (goal, assist) and Mignardi (2 assists) also had multi-point efforts.
- Attendance was 749.
- UNB is now on a 25-0-2 run in conference play dating back to the final game of the 1st half of last season (November 27th). Overall, they are 35-2-2 against CIS competition since that date.
- While UNB still has yet to lose a game in regulation, every other team in the country has lost at least twice in regulation thus far.
- The V-Reds have scored 20 more goals than the next best team in the country. St. FX has 52 goals in 14 games and Carleton has 52 in 12 games. Their 1.96 GAA is also tops in the country, edging York (2.05).
- In the only other game in the AUS tonight the St, FX X-Men edged the Acadia Axemen 3-2 in overtime in Antigonish. The win ensures the X-Men (10-4-0) remain four points behind the V-Reds while increasing their advantage over the 3rd place Axemen (7-5-1) to five points.
- The Varsity Reds are back home on Saturday night for the first time in two weeks when they host the last place Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus on Teddy Bear Toss night. Game time is 7PM.