Friday, December 30, 2016

Varsity Reds Flex Muscle In Kelly Cup Finale

Unlike last night, there would be no late heroics needed this evening as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds rolled to an impressive 6-1 victory over the visiting York Lions to capture the Peterbilt Pete Kelly Cup. The V-Reds outscored their OUA opponents 12-4 in sweeping the two game series.

After the two teams played a fairly even first ten minutes, the V-Reds started to come on in the latter stages of the period. Stephen Anderson (Halley, Suellentrop) would give UNB the lead with his first of three on the night when he picked up the rebound from a point shot and banged it past goaltender Alex Fotinos at 15:03. Shots in the period ended up 16-9 for UNB.

The V-Reds doubled their lead on the power play 4:13 into the middle period when Anderson (Cooper, Brace) scored his second of the game. His original shot from the slot was blocked in front, but he followed up on the play, grabbed the loose puck, and found the back of the net with a wrist shot. The Lions responded with a power play goal of their own - their third in the two games - at 7:57 to cut the deficit in half, however UNB would grab control of the game with a pair of goals shortly afterwards. At 9:21 Anderson (Halley, Clapperton) was the beneficiary of some nice passing in the offensive zone after two Lions collided , tapping in the puck at the side of the net to complete his hat-trick. Just under two minutes later Cam Braes (Halley, Maillet) received the puck in the slot, made a quick deke move, and backhanded the puck between Fotinos' legs for a power play marker. The V-Reds would exit the period with a 4-1 lead after out-shooting the Lions 14-4 in the frame.

The final twenty minutes would prove to be fairly uneventful with Philippe Halley (Beauvillier, Petgrave) making it 5-1 at 12:23 after sniping a shot off the crossbar with both teams playing with four skaters aside and Cameron Brace (unassisted) rounding out at 19:02 after getting loose for a breakaway. Shots were 10-6 for UNB in the period.

- Peter Trainor and Oliver Cooper drew into the line-up while Chris Caissy and Mike Thomas both sat out.

- Shots were 40-19 in favour of UNB.

- Anderson (3 goals) and Milner (1 goal) were named the player of the game for their respective teams.

- Alex Dubeau got the start in net for the V-Reds and came up with a very solid, if not spectacular, outing.

- UNB was 2 for 6 with the power play. The Lions were 1 for 7.

- The Varsity Reds took two penalties in the first 68 seconds of the game. They killed of the entirety of a 1:07 two man disadvantage before York took a penalty of their own to wipe out the rest of the 5-on-4.

- UNB won 43 out of 69 face-offs with Dylan Willick leading the way with 17 wins on 20 attempts.

- Attendance was 1704.

- Philippe Maillet was named the MVP of the series after collecting 3 goals and 2 assists in the two games.

- The V-Reds resume their regular season schedule next weekend with a pair of home games. On Friday night they welcome the St. FX X-Men to the AUC before the Dalhousie Tigers come to town the following night. Both games are set for a 7PM puck drop.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

V-Reds Pull Away From Lions Late

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds found themselves in a tight contest with the visiting York Lions tonight, but struck for three late goals en route to a 6-3 victory in the first game of the 12th annual Peterbilt Pete Kelly Cup.

The Varsity Reds have dominated OUA competition in recent years and it looked like the trend would continue when Philippe Halley (Maillet, Braes) banged in a cross-crease pass from the side of the net on UNB's first shot of the game just 1:41 in. However, just under three minutes later the Lions would even the score after Trevor Petersen made a nice toe-drag around the stick of a defender before ripping a wrist shot past the out-stretched glove hand of Etienne Marcoux and into the top right corner. The V-Reds restored their lead at 15:24 after a lucky bounce off the end boards came to Christopher Clapperton at the side of the net. He quickly found Maillet who put it into a wide open net before goaltender Mack Shields was able to scramble back into position. Braes recorded his second assist of the night on the goal. Shots in the period were 15-6 for UNB.

The two teams exchanged goals in the middle frame with the Lions holding a 13-8 advantage in shots. Maillet gave UNB a 3-1 lead at 9:53 with his second of the night after taking a breakaway pass through the middle of the neutral zone from Matt Murphy. York responded late in the period while on the power play to get back within a goal when Tyler Mort blasted in a slap shot from the blue line at 19:36.

The Lions knotted the game 4:29 into the third period with another power play goal. Colton Vannucci got the puck all alone in front of the net and fired a quick snap shot between Marcoux's legs. The Varsity Reds would dominate the period, but the score would remain deadlocked 3-3 until the 15:35 mark when Randy Gazzola's (Mignardi, Clapperton) point shot found it's way through traffic. Just 58 seconds later Maillet (Braes) came down the left wing and completed his hat-trick with a snipe into the short side top corner to make it a 5-3 game. The Lions pulled their goalie in a desperate attempt to get back in the game, but the strategy quickly backfired as Francis Beauvillier (Gazzola) won a race for a loose puck in the offensive zone and found the empty net at 17:27 to make it 6-3 and complete the scoring. Shots in the period favoured UNB 20-3.

- Oliver Cooper and Peter Trainor were the lone scratches for UNB.

- The Lions were missing their top player in defenceman Derek Sheppard. Sheppard, who has 23 points in 18 games thus far this season, is participating in an evaluation camp for OUA players in hopes of representing Team Canada at the upcoming FISU Games.

- The V-Reds have added former St. Thomas goalie Luke-Lee Knight as their 3rd goaltender.

- Shots in the game were 43-22 for UNB.

- Face-offs were 37-26 for the V-Reds.

- York scored on two of their three power plays. UNB was 0 for 4 with the man advantage.

- Maillet (3 goals, 1 assist) was named the UNB player of the game after continuing his recent torrid stretch. He has 11 points in his last three games. Colton Vannucci (1 goal) earned player of the game honours for York.

- Attendance was 1639.

- The Varsity Reds hit no less than 4 posts in the game.

- UNB has now won 35 straight exhibition games against OUA competition. They are on a 47-1-0 streak overall (exhibition + Nationals) against OUA teams dating back to 2004.

- The two teams are back at it at 7PM tomorrow night for the final game of the Pete Kelly Cup.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

News And Notes: Top Ten, Pete Kelly Cup, Maillet, Murray, And More

After a 10 day vacation there is a lot of news to catch up on:

- The final U Sports men's hockey top ten rankings of the year were released today and once again the Varsity Reds are in the top spot. UNB received 12 out of 15 first place votes to take top billing for the 8th consecutive week. The Saskatchewan Huskies, fresh off a two game sweep of rival Alberta, received two first place votes to move up to 2nd. The Ryerson Rams picked up the other first place vote and are ranked 3rd, their highest ranking in program history. The Alberta Golden Bears and Mount Royal Cougars - up four spots - round out the top five. McGill, Acadia, Queen's, St. FX - down four spots - and UQTR make up the rest of the top ten.

- The York Lions of the OUA West division have been named as the opponent for the upcoming 13th annual Pete Kelly Cup. The Lions currently sit in 2nd place in their division with an 11-5-2 record and sport the 3rd best GAA in the country at 2.11. This should prove to be an intriguing match-up as the V-Reds have far and away the most explosive offense in the country, lighting the lamp 5.33 times per game.

The two game series is scheduled for Thursday, December 29th and Friday, December 30th at the AUC. Both games begin at 7PM.

UNB and York have played once previously. The two teams met in December of 2003 at the Lakehead Bell Cup with the V-Reds emerging with a 9-1 victory.

- It was quite a week for forward Philippe Maillet. Not only was the 4th year veteran awarded the Mark Jeffrey Memorial Scholarship prior to Saturday's game, but he has also been named both the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza Athlete of the Week and the Subway AUS male Athlete of the Week. After going scoreless in back to back games the previous weekend, Maillet was back to his dominant self this past weekend as he registered 2 goals and an assist in Friday's 8-3 win over Saint Mary's and then added another 2 goals and 2 assists in UNB's 5-2 victory over Acadia the next night.

Maillet has put together yet another outstanding season thus far. He currently ranks 2nd in the AUS in goals (14), 3rd in assists (18), 2nd in point (32), 1st in +/- (+20),  1st in power play goals (9), and 3rd in shots on goal (70) while playing in all 18 games.

- The good news kept coming for Maillet as he, along with teammate Jordan Murray, have been named to the U Sports all-star team that will face the Team Canada Junior Team prospects. The two game series will take place in Blaineville-Boisbriand on Monday, December 12th at 7PM EST and Tuesday, December 13th at 1PM EST.

Murray, the reigning U Sports Defenseman of the Year, has elevated his game even further this year as he currently leads the country in scoring amongst defencemen with 9 goals and 19 assists in 18 games. His 29 points put him 5th overall in the country in scoring.

The 23 man roster consists of 11 players from the OUA and 6 each from Canada West and the AUS. Other players representing the AUS include goaltender Corbin Boes from Dalhousie, forwards Allain Saulnier from Moncton and Holden Cook from St. FX, and defenceman Geoff Schemitsch from Acadia.

Last season the teams split their two games. The U Sports all-start team won the first game 5-4 in a shootout before Team Canada rebounded with a 5-0 victory.

- Victor Findlay has posted his latest Tuesday Morning Skate.