Saturday, November 26, 2016

Undefeated Streak Ends

As we have seen in the past, to beat the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds you most likely need to A) get a fantastic goaltending performance and B) win the special teams battle. The Acadia Axemen managed both tonight and, as a result, they handed the V-Reds their first regulation loss of the season, 2-1 in Wolfville. UNB falls to 12-1-2 on the season while the Axemen pull within a point of 2nd place with a 9-5-1 mark.

- Rob Mignardi (Simpson, McIvor) scored the lone goal for UNB, connecting for a shorthanded marker at 17:15 of the first period to tie the game.

- The Axemen received power play goals by Michael Clarke at 11:06 of the first period and Remy Giftopoulos at 9:00 of the middle stanza.

- UNB out-shot the the Axemen 39-14, including 28-5 over the final 40 minutes. Needless to say, Axemen goalie Robert Steeves was the difference maker as he came up with a pile of larcenous stops.

- The other difference? Special teams. UNB was an almost unbelievable 0 for 11 with the man advantage. This included a pair of 5-on-3 power plays and 7 straight power plays over a 22 minute span between the 2nd and 3rd periods. On the other hand, Acadia was 2 for 9 on the night.

- Colin Suellentrop returned to the line-up while Randy Gazzola was out due to an injury suffered last weekend. Cameron Critchlow, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were also scratched.

- The loss snaps a 26-0-2 regular season run by UNB dating back to November 27th last year. Coincidentally, their last regular season loss in regulation time was exactly one year ago today when they fell 7-4 to Moncton.

- The 28 game regular season undefeated streak matches the V-Reds best ever. They rang off 28 straight victories between 2008/09 and 2009/10.

- Out of UNB's last 23 regular season losses (regulation + OT/SO) dating back to the beginning of the 2012/13 season, 10 have been at the hands of the Axemen. They are only 8-5-5 against Acadia in that span.

- The Varsity Reds are 4-6-3 in their last 13 visits to Wolfville.

- In other AUS action tonight, Saint Mary's continued their recent hot streak with a 6-3 win over visiting UPEI and Moncton doubled up Dalhousie 4-2 at home.

- The V-Reds are back at it tomorrow night when they travel to Saint Mary's for a date against the Huskies. Game time is 7PM.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

News And Notes: Top 10, Braes, TMS, Beauvillier

A couple of early-week anecdotes:

- The Varsity Reds are once again the unanimous top team in the country according to the latest U Sports men's hockey top ten released earlier today. UNB received all 15 first place votes to maintain the top ranking for a 6th consecutive week. They were followed by Saskatchewan, Alberta, St. FX, and McGill, who jumped up a week-high three spots. Ryerson, UOIT, Queen's, UQTR, and Mount Royal, who dropped four spots from last week, make up the rest of the top ten. Acadia and UPEI were the other two AUS teams to receive votes.

- Forward Cam Braes has been named the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week. After missing three game due to injury Braes made a triumphant return to the line-up this past week, picking up an assist in a 6-2 win over UPEI on Wednesday and then contributing a career-high five points - including a hat-trick - in Saturday's 9-1 demolition of Moncton. On the season the 5th year native of Shawnigan Lake, BC ranks 5th in the conference with 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in only 11 games.

- Speaking of Braes, Victor Findlay names him one of his stars of the week in his latest edition of Tuesday Morning Skate.

- V-Reds forward Francis Beauvillier talks about his younger brother Anthony in an article by Cory Wright on NHL.com. The younger Beauvillier, who was selected 28th overall by the New York Islanders in the 2015 draft, made his NHL debut earlier this season.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

UNB Continues Dominance Over Moncton

The Universite de Moncton Aigles Bleus might have the most dangerous line in the AUS with the Saulnier twins and Jean Francois Plante accounting for 71 points thus far this season, but the Varsity Reds showed that their top unit is just as dangerous as Philippe Maillet, Cam Braes, and Stephen Anderson combined for 12 points in tonight's 9-1 rout in the 1st annual Teddy Bear Toss night. UNB's 8th win in a row gives them a 12-0-2 record, 6 points clear of the 2nd place St. FX X-Men with a game in hand. At the other end of the spectrum are the Aigles Bleus, now 4-9-1 and in last place.

Once again the V-Reds came out flying, and almost scored in the first minute when a shot got through goaltender Brandon Thibeau and rolled towards the open net. However, a defenceman was able to pick the puck off the goal line just in time to keep the game scoreless. After a few more close calls UNB finally got the Teddy Bear Toss goal at 10:59 when Cam Braes (Anderson, Murray) jammed in a rebound at the side of the net, triggering a shower of stuffed animals on to the ice surface. After a five minute delay to clean up a truck load of stuffed animals the game resumed and V-Reds would strike twice more before the end of the period. At 15:37 Braes connected again after some nice work by Philippe Maillet. Maillet tracked down a long Marcus McIvor pass just before it reached the goal line for an icing, fended off two defenders, and found Braes all alone in front of the net for a quick snap shot. Maillet (Murray, Brace) then scored one of his own, this time on the power play, at 19:08 when he one-timed a shot from the left face-off circle. Shots in the very one-sided period were 16-2 for UNB.

The Aigles Bleus got some momentum to begin the 2nd period when Jean-Francois Plante scored his AUS-leading 16th goal of the year on the power play 40 seconds into the period to cut the deficit to 3-1. The momentum was short-lived though as Plante took a penalty at 6:16 and Mike Thomas (Gazzola) made Moncton pay 36 seconds later when he was the last player to touch a ping-ponging puck in front of the goal. The V-Reds would, for all intents and purposes, put the game away with a pair of late goals 37 seconds apart. At 17:15 Philippe Halley took Matt Petgrave's missed shot off the end boards and banged it in. Rob Mignardi was credited with the secondary assist on the goal. Then at 17:52 Cam Braes (Maillet, Anderson) took a pass from behind the net in the slot and fired it past Thibeau. Shots in the period were 11-5 for the Varsity Reds.

The game began to deteriorate in the 3rd period as both teams took a number of penalties and were essentially playing out the string. The Aigles Bleus put in back-up goaltender Alexi Thibaudeau to begin the period but he was unable to slow down the high-flying V-Reds either, surrendering three more goals. Philippe Maillet (Braes, Mignardi) made it 7-1 with his second goal of the night from almost the exact same spot as his first while on the power play at 5:39, Jordan Murray (Braes, Beauvillier) took a cross-ice pass in the offensive zone and picked the top corner, and then, for good measure, Christopher Clapperton (Caissy, Bouden) deflected a point shot for a power play goal with just four seconds remaining. UNB out-shot Moncton 14-2 in the period.

- Cameron Critchlow drew back into the line-up, replacing Mark Simpson. Colin Suellentrop, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor all remained out. UNB once again played with only five defenceman.

- Defenceman Randy Gazzola left the game late in the 2nd period and never returned.

- When Jordan Murray received a 10-minute misconduct to begin the 3rd period, the V-Reds were down to only 3 defenceman for the duration of the misconduct. This forced forward Matt Boudens to slide back and play defence for the period.

- Shots in the game were 40-9 for UNB. The V-Reds had as many goals as Moncton had shots on goal.

- Alex Dubeau was hardly challenged all night, turning aside 8 out of 9 shots directed his way to improve to 5-0-1 on the season.

- All teddy bears collected tonight will benefit the Salvation Army.

- UNB's power play continued to be red hot as they went 4 for 6. Moncton was 1 for 5. The V-Reds are now operating at 33% with the man advantage this season.

- Attendance was 2398.

- Braes (3 goals, 2 assists), Maillet (2 goals, 2 assists), and Murray (1 goal, 2 assists) were the three stars of the game.

- The V-Reds won 46 out of 85 face-offs.

- UNB has out-scored Moncton 27-3 in three game so far this year.

- Maillet (25 points), Murray (23), and Braes (22) currently rank 2nd, 3rd, and 5th respectively in AUS scoring.

- UNB has now won 10 straight home games over the Aigles Bleus.

- The V-Reds are averaging 5.71 goals per game this year. The next best team is Acadia at 3.71 goals per game.

- In their last 7 games UNB has out-scored the opposition 42-8. They have not trailed at any point during that span.

- Saint Mary's defeated Dalhousie 5-3 in the only other AUS game tonight.

- The Varsity Reds head back on the road next weekend when they face Acadia on Friday night and Saint Mary's on Saturday night. Both games are set for a 7PM puck drop and can be viewed online at www.AUStv.ca.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

V-Reds Power Past Panthers

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.

News And Notes: Top 10, TMS, World Juniors, Teddy Bear Toss

Some mid-week news items as the V-Reds take the ice to face UPEI shortly:

- The Varsity Reds were the unanimous choice for the top spot in this week's USports men's hockey Top Ten rankings. This marks the 200th consecutive week UNB has been ranked, the 3rd longest streak of all-time behind only Alberta (276) and Saskatchewan (222). Behind the V-Reds were the St. FX X-Men, Saskatchewan Huskies, UOIT Ridgebacks, and Alberta Golden Bears. Mount Royal, Ryerson, McGill, Concordia, and Queen's - ranked for the first time in three seasons - round out the top ten. Acadia and UPEI were the only other AUS teams to receive votes.

- Victor Findlay discusses the V-Reds recent winning ways in his latest Tuesday Morning Skate.

- Also according to Findlay, a team of USports Hockey selects will face Team Canada World Junior hopefuls for a pair games on December 12th and December 13th in Quebec. It is believed that the roster will be finalized in the coming weeks, although it has been announced that St. FX head coach Brad Peddle will be the AUS representative on the coaching staff.

- A reminder that this Saturday's game against Moncton will be the 1st Annual Teddy Bear Toss night. All stuffed animals are welcome and if you don't have one to bring you can purchase one at the game. All stuffed animals go to the Salvation Army.

For those of you who don't know what a Teddy Bear Toss night is, here is an example from the WHL's Calgary Hitmen:


Saturday, November 12, 2016

V-Reds Win Again

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds extended their season-opening undefeated streak to 12 games with a 4-1 victory over the Dalhousie Tigers in a penalty-filled afair tonight in Halifax. The V-Reds are now 10-0-2 on the season and maintain a four point their lead over the 2nd place St. FX X-Men with a game in hand. Meanwhile, the Tigers fall to 5-5-3.

The opening period was fairly uneventful until 14:58 when Mark Simpson (Mignardi) got UNB on the board first with their first shorthanded goal of the season. Simpson blocked a shot out near the blue line and was able to retrieve the puck in the neutral zone behind the defence and go in on a breakaway, beating Corbin Boes with a quick snap shot. The Varsity Reds special teams came through again at 19:26, this time on the power play, when Boes made the original save but didn't pick up the rebound right away as it rolled off his left pad. Christopher Clapperton (Murray, Mignardi) was at the side of the net and quickly banged the puck in for the 2-0 lead. That is how the teams would head to the intermission as UNB out-shot the Tigers 10-9 in the period.

The V-Reds scored the only goal in the 2nd period to extend their lead. At 5:03 Philippe Maillet skated the puck into the offensive zone and left a perfect drop-pass for Jordan Murray, who took a few strides before blasting a slap shot that beat Boes clean between the legs to make it 3-0. Philippe Halley was credited with the secondary assist on the goal. UNB held a 7-2 shot advantage in the frame.

Despite being granted four consecutive power plays to begin the 3rd period - including a 38 second two man advantage - UNB was unable to extend their lead. Then, at 15:57, the Tigers finally broke through, ending Alex Dubeau's shutout attempt when Jackson Playfair scored from the side of the net after an offensive zone face-off win. That would be as close as the Tigers would get, however, as Randy Gazzola iced the game with a shorthanded goal from the neutral zone into an empty net at 18:28. Shots in the period were 12-7 for UNB in the game.

- Oliver Cooper drew back into the line-up, replacing Cam Critchlow. Cam Braes (injury), Colin Suellentrop (injury), and Peter Trainor all remained sidelined.

- Shots in the game were 29-17 for UNB.

- UNB was 1 for 10 on the power play while the Tigers went scoreless on nine attempts.

- The Tigers held a slight advantage in the face-off circle, winning 34 out of the 67 draws. Philippe Halley led the way for the V-Reds, winning 12 out of 16.

- Alex Dubeau wasn't forced to make many big saves, but did what he had to do in improving to 4-0-1 on the season.

- Mignardi (2 assists), Murray (1 goal, 1 assist), and Playfair (1 goal) were named the game's three stars.

- This was UNB's 20th consecutive win over Dalhousie over the last five seasons. They have also won 11 straight road games over the Tigers.

- The V-Reds have now won 5 straight regular season games by 3+ goals. This is their longest such streak since they rang off an incredible 8 straight 3+ goal victories in October and November of 2010.

- In other games around the conference tonight the St. FX X-Men rebounded from last night's loss by storming out to an 8-0 lead over the visiting UPEI Panthers in a game that ended 8-4. In Moncton, the Acadia Axemen erased a 5-1 deficit over the final 11:37 before defeating the Aigles Bleus 6-5 in overtime.

- The Varsity Reds are back in action on Wednesday night when they travel to PEI to face the Panthers. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM. They return to the AUC next Saturday night when they welcome Moncton to town on Teddy Bear Toss Night.

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

News And Notes: Top 10, MacDougall, TMS, Wall

Some news as the V-Reds prepare for a rough road test against St. FX tonight:

- UNB is once again #1 in the latest USports men's hockey rankings. The Varsity Reds received all but one first place vote to take the top spot for the fourth straight week. Following them are the St. FX X-Men, up one spot, and Alberta Golden Bears, who had the other first place nod and moved up two spots to 3rd. The Saskatchewan Huskies and UOIT Ridgebacks make up the rest of the top five. Concordia, Mount Royal, McGill - ranked for the first time all season, UPEI, and Ryerson round out the top ten. Acadia, who fell out of the rankings, and Dalhousie are the only other AUS teams to receive votes.

- Last Saturday night's victory marked head coach Gardiner MacDougall's 500th career win at UNB. This includes 323 regular season wins, 56 playoff wins, 23 University Cup wins, and 98 exhibition wins. He accomplished the feat in only 719 games.

- In this week's Tuesday Morning Skate, Victor Findlay discusses Philippe Maillet and Cam Braes along with a host of other men's hockey topics from around the country.

- Earlier this week former Varsity Reds defenceman Alex Wall was called up to the AHL's Albany Devils after posting a goal and five assists in his first six games with the ECHL's Adirondack Thunder. However, it appears that he did not see any action with the Devils and has since been returned to Adirondack.

The smooth-skating Wall played three seasons with UPEI before joining UNB prior to the 2014-2015 season. In two years as a V-Red Wall had 25 points in 38 games, helping the team win a national championship last season.

- A reminder that UNB is on the road for a pair of crucial games this weekend. They face St. FX tonight before moving on to Halifax for a date against the Dalhousie Tigers tomorrow evening. Both games are scheduled for a 7PM puck drop and can be viewed live at www.AUStv.ca.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Impressive Streak Continues

The top ranked team in the country continued their strong play tonight as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds rolled over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies 5-0 at the AUC. The first place V-Reds run their record to 8-0-2 while the banged up Huskies fall to 3-6-1 and remain in 6th place.

After a scoreless first period that saw the V-Reds out-shoot Saint Mary's 8-4 UNB really got rolling in the middle period as they scored three times and had 17 shots to only 7 for SMU. At 6:11 Francis Beauvillier (Boudens) drew first blood after skating the puck down the left side and simply winding up and blasting a slap shot from the face-off dot that beat Cole Cheveldave through the legs. Cam Critchlow (Simpson, Petgrave) made it 2-0 at 12:33 with his first goal of the season thanks to some persistence and determination in front of the net. After his original shot was stopped Critchlow dove and jammed the puck past the outstretched arm of Cheveldave. UNB made it 3-0 just over 4 minutes later at 16:40 when Matt Petgrave circled behind the Huskies goal with the puck before finding Philippe Halley in the high slot. Halley quickly worked it down low to Stephen Anderson at the bottom of the face-off circle, and he wasted no time in backhanding the puck into the top of the net.

The Varsity Reds salted the game away late in the 3rd period with a pair of goals within 67 seconds of one another. Shortly after coming up empty on a lengthy two man advantage, Dylan Willick (Petgrave, McIvor) pushed the lead to 4-0 at 15:07 when he found a seam in the defense and, after taking a pass just outside the blueline, skated into the offensive zone and snapped a shot in. Stephen Anderson capped the scoring at 16:14 with his second goal of the night after Matt Murphy made a nice jumping play to barely hold the puck in the zone. Murphy then skated in and made a slap-pass to Anderson at the far side of the net and the forward did the rest of the work, making a couple of quick moves to get the puck around Cheveldave. Shots favoured UNB 16-7 in the period and 41-18 in the game. 

- Cam Braes was out of the line-up after injuring his hand in last night's game with Cam Critchlow drawing back in. Christopher Clapperton (high ankle sprain), Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor all remained sidelined.

- Defenceman Colin Suellentrop left the game halfway through the 1st period and never returned after a hard hit into the boards.

- Etienne Marcoux turned aside all 18 shots he faced, including a couple great chances early in the game, to pick up his 3rd shutout in 5 starts thus far. He is now 5-0-1 on the season with an AUS-leading 1.45 GAA.

- Neither team scored on the power play with UNB going scoreless on four opportunities and SMU on three.

- Attendance was 2143.

- Before the game 5th year senior Cam Braes was presented with the annual Rod Pike Memorial Scholarship Award. 

- AUS leading scorer Philippe Maillet was held off the score sheet for the first time all year. It wasn't for lack of trying though, as he did generate a game-high 6 shots on goal.

- The Huskies were playing with only three natural defencemen as injuries to Austyn Hardie, Stephen Gillard, and Mark Trickett, and the sudden departure of veteran Justin Weller, have put them in a tough position and is undoubtedly one of the main reasons they have got off to an uncharacteristic slow start. 

- UNB has now outscored the opposition 19-1 over their last 10 periods of play (3-0 in the 3rd period against Dalhousie, 6-0 against St. FX, 5-1 against Acadia, and 5-0 tonight). They have a 54-21 goal differential so far this season.

- Gardiner MacDougall collected his 500th career win at UNB. This includes 323 regular season wins, 56 playoff wins, 23 University Cup wins, and 98 exhibition wins. He accomplished the feat in only 719 games.

- This was UNB's 2nd straight shutout over SMU following their 4-0 win in the University Cup semi-finals last March. 

- With the win UNB is now on a 27-0-1 run in regular season games at the AUC. They are 40-1-1 at home in their last 42 games overall with the only loss being a 3-2 setback to St. FX in last year's AUS Final. 

- The five goal margin of victory is the biggest UNB has had against SMU since a 10-3 pre-season victory in 2010

- In other AUS action tonight UPEI handed Acadia their 2nd road loss of the weekend 3-2 and St. FX rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Moncton 4-2 on the road.

- Next weekend the V-Reds begin arguably their most arduous stretch of the season with 5 of their next 6 games on the road. On Friday night they are back in Antigonish for a date with the St. FX X-Men and then on Saturday they move on to Halifax for a game against the Dalhousie Tigers. Both games are scheduled for a 7PM puck drop.

Friday, November 4, 2016

UNB Extends Undefeated Streak

The AUS-leading and USports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds extended their undefeated streak to nine straight games to open the regular season with a convincing 5-1 win over the visiting Acadia Axemen tonight at the AUC. UNB moves to 7-0-2 on the season while Acadia falls to 4th place with a 5-4-0 record.

The Varsity Reds scored the lone goal of the opening period on their first shot of the game thanks to Mike Thomas and a horrendous Axemen turnover in their own end. An Acadia forward attempted to clear the puck from his own corner by passing it across the offensive zone which Thomas, charging in from the neutral zone, promptly intercepted just inside the blue line before blasting a shot past goalie Brandon Glover. UNB out-shot the Axemen 7-5 in the period.

The majority of the offense in this one came in the 2nd period with four goals being scored. The V-Reds managed to extend their lead just 42 seconds into the period while on the power play when Cameron Brace (Murray, Maillet) gathered the puck near the right circle and waited just long enough for a screen to form in front before unleashing a wrist shot along the ice that evaded the traffic and found the back of the net. The Axemen responded only 87 seconds later when a rush up the ice resulted in goaltender Alex Dubeau being taken out of the play after a couple players crashed the net. The puck came out front to Alexander Lepkowski and he had no trouble putting it in to the yawning cage. This was as close as Acadia would get, however, as UNB answered twice more before the end of the period. At 6:35 Stephen Anderson (Willick, McIvor) picked up a loose puck in the crease and was able to sweep it between Glover's legs and then at 16:41 Cam Braes scored the prettiest goal of the night after some nifty passing. Jordan Murray gained control of the puck near the UNB bench after an offensive zone face-off win and quickly zipped it across the ice to Philippe Maillet at the far boards. Maillet then found Braes at the side of the net for an easy tap-in and a 4-1 lead. UNB held an 11-9 shot advantage in the period.

Despite trailing, the Axemen were never a threat in the 3rd as they took a total of four penalties in the period. The Varsity Reds took advantage on their 2nd opportunity when Dubeau made a long stretch pass from his own goal up to Maillet at the Axemen blueline. Maillet patiently waited for Braes to split two defenders before feathering him a pass, sending the 5th year senior in all alone. Braes went forehand to backhand, beating Glover up high to give UNB a 5-1 lead and round out the scoring. Shots in the period were 9-6 for UNB.

- Francis Beauvillier was back in the line-up after serving his suspension after last Friday night's game misconduct. Cameron Critchlow, Chris Clapperton, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were all scratched.

- Shots in the game ended up 27-20 for UNB, marking the first time they have failed to register at least 31 shots on goal in a game this season.

- Dubeau stopped 19 shots to improve to 3-0-1 on the year.

- Braes, Dubeau, and Lepkowski were named the game's three stars.

- Mike Thomas had an eventful evening. He scored a goal, took three minor penalties, drew another three penalties, and certainly had the attention of the Axemen all game long. He was buzzing around all night and definitely provided a spark and a ton of energy every time he was on the ice.

- Attendance was a solid 2140.

- UNB was 2 for 8 on the power play. The Axemen were 0 for 8 with the man advantage, which included a 5-on-3 chance in the 3rd period.

- The V-Reds held a slight 35-33 advantage on face-offs.

- Maillet's three assists give him an AUS-leading 18 points on the season. Murray and Braes are tied for 3rd with 16 points apiece.

- This is the third time in four years UNB has been undefeated through their first 9 regular season games. They began the season 8-0-1 last year as well as in 2013-2014.

- This is the first time since the 2012-2013 season the Varsity Reds have beaten the Axemen in the first half. They had previously lost 3-2 in a shootout and 4-3 in overtime last year, 4-3 in overtime twice in 2014, and 4-3 in a shootout and 5-1 in 2013.

- In other games around the AUS tonight, St. FX defeated Dalhousie 4-1 in Antigonish and Saint Mary's outlasted UPEI 8-6 in a wild one on the island.

- Tomorrow night the V-Reds are back on home ice as they welcome the Saint Mary's Huskies to town for a 7PM tilt.

News And Notes: Top 10, Maillet, Murray, TMS, Weekend

Some mid-week V-Reds related news:

- For the 3rd consecutive week, UNB is ranked at the top of the USports men's hockey rankings. The Varsity Reds received 14 out of the 15 first place votes and 149 points overall. There was considerable shake-up amongst the rest of the top ten as no other team maintained their previous ranking. Saskatchewan, St FX, UOIT, and Alberta made up the rest of the top five while Concordia, Mount Royal, Ryerson, UPEI, and Acadia were ranked 6th to 10th.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the absence of the UQTR Patriotes, who are unranked for the first time since the end of the 2013/14 season. This breaks a streak of 42 straight weeks being ranked.

- Philippe Maillet, not surprisingly, has been named the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week after his heroics last weekend. On Friday night Maillet scored 4 points - including a natural hat-trick in the 3rd period to erase a 4-1 deficit - before adding the clinching goal in a shootout to lead UNB to a 5-4 win over Dalhousie. He then had two assists in a big 6-0 victory over 2nd place St. FX the next night.

- Defenceman Jordan Murray's spectacular start to the season has earned him the UNB Varsity Reds/Valley Graphics male Athlete of the Month for October. Murray, the reigning CIS Defenceman of the Year, is currently 2nd in the conference in scoring with 6 goals and 9 assists in 8 games.

- In his latest installment of Tuesday Morning Skate Victor Findlay gives his thoughts about the week that was in men's hockey, including naming Philippe Maillet his AUS first star of the week.

- A reminder that UNB is back on home ice for a pair of important games this weekend as they get their first look at the Acadia Axemen and Saint Mary's Huskies on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. Both games are set for a 7PM start.