Thursday, April 20, 2017

News And Notes: Halley, Gazzola, Marcoux, Thomas, Willick, Maillet

Some roster news as the V-Reds now turn their attention to the 2017-2018 season:

- Earlier this week forward Philippe Halley became the latest in a long list of departures as he has signed with Amiens in France for next season.

After putting up 65 points (29 goals, 36 assists) in 69 games in his first three seasons at UNB, Halley saw his numbers slip a bit this year (18 points in 30 games) as he took on a more defensive role, frequently teaming up with Dylan Willick to form one of the most dangerous penalty killing duos in the league.

A native of Quebec City, the speedy forward will perhaps best be remembered for his clutch performances on the biggest stage. In 9 University Cup games over the last three years Halley found the back of the net a school-record 11 times, including firing three hat-tricks.

- In today's Daily Gleaner (subscription required), Bruce Hallihan talks to Randy Gazzola and the defenceman confirms that he will be returning for his 4th season in the fall despite receiving interest from a number of pro teams. He will be joined on the blue line next year by returnees Colin Suellentrop, Marcus McIvor, and Matt Murphy as well as former St. FX X-Men Trey Lewis, who redshirted this year after transferring to UNB.

Gazzola also discussed the future of a number of his teammates. He says goaltender Etienne Marcoux, who came to UNB with two years of university credits already under his belt, will move on with the hopes of getting an AHL tryout. Also, forward Mike Thomas is expected to be back for his 5th and final season while graduating forward Dylan Willick, who recently landed a job in Fredericton with a software company, is "questionable" to return for his final season of eligibility.

- The recognition keeps coming for former V-Reds forward Philippe Maillet as he has been named one of four finalists - and the AUS representative - for the BLG Award/Doug Mitchell Trophy, which is given annually to the U Sports male athlete of the year.

The 25th annual BLG Awards honouring the U Sports male and female athlete of the year will be presented on Monday, May 1st and will air on Sportsnet later in May. Each winner will receive a $10 000 post-graduate scholarship.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Murray Signs With AHL's Senators

Varsity Reds defenceman Jordan Murray has signed an Amateur Tryout Agreement with the Binghamton Senators, the AHL affiliate of the Ottawa Senators.

Murray capped off his university career with a career best 40 points (14 goals, 26 assists) in helping UNB to a second consecutive University Cup. He also captured his second straight U Sports Defenceman of the Year honour.

The native of Riverview, New Brunswick leaves the Varsity Reds as arguably the best defenceman in program history. In addition to the above accolades, he is also the highest scoring rearguard in school history with 133 points (38 goals, 94 assists) in 138 games as well as being named an All-Canadian in each of his last three years after being named to the All-Rookie team following his freshman campaign.

Murray joins Philippe Maillet, Francis Beauvillier, and Cam Braes as V-Reds who have signed AHL contracts since the end of the season.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Maillet Signs With AHL's Reign

The exodus of players from the University Cup champion Varsity Reds continues as forward Philippe Maillet has signed a one year professional contract with the Ontario Reign, the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. The contract will cove the rest of this season as well as the 2017-2018 campaign. Coincidentally, Maillet tried out with the Reign when they were an ECHL team just prior to joining UNB in the fall of 2013.

The 24 year old native of Terrebonne, Quebec is coming off of one of the most decorated seasons in school history, which included:

- 71 points (55 regular season + 6 playoffs + 10 University Cup), second only to Rob Hennigar's 72 in 2008.
- AUS first team all-star
- AUS MVP
- U Sports first team all-Canadian
- U Sports Player of the Year
- University Cup all-star team
- University Cup MVP

Maillet leaves the Varsity Reds as the fourth leading scorer in school history, having amassed 201 points (76 goals, 125 assists) in 131 games.

Head Coach Gardiner MacDougall will have his work cut out for himself this off-season with Maillet joining Cam Braes (graduation), Rob Mignardi (graduation), Cameron Critchlow (graduation), Francis Beauvillier (pro), and Matt Petgrave (pro) as players who definitely will not be returning next season.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

News And Notes: Braes, Petgrave, Critchlow, MacDougall

Although the season has been over for less than a week, a number of Varsity Reds have found new homes:

- Forward Cam Braes has signed an amateur tryout with the Stockton Heat, the AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames. The 5th year native of Shawinigan Lake, BC capped his university career with a four goal performance in UNB's 5-3 win over Saskatchewan in last Sunday's University Cup final. It was Braes 3rd national championship (2013, 2016, 2017) to go along with a silver medal finish in 2015.

- 4th year defenceman Matt Petgrave has signed a standard player contract with the Brampton Beast, the ECHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Petgrave, who is from Brampton, leaves the Varsity Reds after having registered exactly 15 points in each of his four seasons, spanning 108 regular season games. He scored 13 goals, dished out 47 assists, and threw a number of highlight-reel hip checks while helping lead UNB to two national championships and a runner-up finish during his career.

- Graduating team captain Cameron Critchlow has been signed by the Adelaide Adrenaline of the eight team Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) for their upcoming season. Critchlow put up 72 points (29 goals, 43 assists) in 132 points during his five seasons at UNB and, like Braes, was part of three gold medal and one silver medal winning teams. He will join former UPEI Panthers captain Cole MacMillan with the Adrenaline.

- Jason Simmons of PEI's Journal Pioneer has a pair of articles about head coach Gardiner MacDougall, one discussing the University Cup victory and another talking about the upcoming busy offseason as the V-Reds will have a number of holes to fill.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

News And Notes: Maillet, Beauvillier, Willick, UCup Stories

Some post-University Cup notes as the Varsity Reds and their fans continue to celebrate the team's seventh national championship:

- In the wake of leading all players with 10 points at the University Cup, forward Philippe Maillet capped off his incredible season by winning both the Subway AUS male athlete of the week and ArcelorMittal Dofasco U SPORTS male athlete of the week.

- Varsity Reds forward Francis Beauvillier has signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Manitoba Moose, the AHL affiliate of the Winnipeg Jets.

- Brendan Pawliw of www.myprincegeorgenow.com talks with Dylan Willick about his second University Cup victory as well as what the future may hold for the graduating fourth year forward.

- Prior to Saturday's semi-final game against Saskatchewan, St. FX X-Men Brent Turbull along with some of his teammates found themselves in a scary situation as they helped rescue a women who had just been involved in a car accident.

- Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix discusses the Huskies gained a new fan during their week in Fredericton.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

BACK TO BACK!


The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds successfully defended their National Championship and captured the 7th title in school history with a 5-3 victory over the Saskatchewan Huskies before a raucous sold-out AUC crowd this afternoon. Cam Braes paced the offense with four goals in his final university game to give the V-Reds back to back championships for the first time in program history.

- When asked how they were going to beat Goaltender of the Year Jordon Cooke, head coach Gardiner MacDougall said they would have to get "to the blue paint" and that is exactly what they did to score the game's opening goal 4:04 into the first period. Christopher Clapperton carried the puck into the Huskies zone and made a nice move to get around the defenceman to get the puck on net. Cooke couldn't control the rebound and the puck laid in the crease during a goal-mouth scramble before Cam Braes got a stick on it and slid it under the Huskies goaltender, who was down in his back. Philippe Maillet and Clapperton picked up the assists on the goal.

- The Huskies responded at 10:47 to tie the game and quiet the sold-out crowd. Connor Gay took the puck the length of the ice before letting go a wrist shot from a sharp angle near the right wing hash marks that seemed to handcuff Etienne Marcoux and sneak in for an unassisted goal.

- Just like they did on Thursday day when Queen's opened the scoring, the Varsity Reds struck back in a hurry and it was another "ugly" goal off of a scramble in front of the Huskies net. Matt Petgrave brought the puck deep into the Huskies zone and found Philippe Halley trailing the play, coming down the slot untouched. Halley's shot went wide, but the puck bounced hard off the end boards and back out near the side of the net where Mark Simpson was able to whack it off Cooke's left pad and into the corner of the net. The marker restored UNB's lead at 12:19 of the opening period - just 92 seconds after the Huskies netted the tying goal.

- UNB would take a 2-1 lead into the dressing room after a period in which Saskatchewan held an 11-8 shot advantage.

- The Varsity Reds looked to be well on their way to an easy win early in the second period when they scored a pair of quick goals to build a 4-1 advantage. At 3:17 Cam Braes got his second of the game when he finished off a tic (Clapperton) - tac (Maillet) - toe passing play on a three-on-two rush by redirected the puck past Cooke from the top of the crease to give UNB a two goal lead. Just under three minutes later Braes (Maillet, Mignardi) struck again, this time only 7 seconds into their first power play of the game to complete his hat-trick. The puck was worked down low to Braes at the side of the net and after grabbing his own rebound he was able to sneak the puck between Cooke, and the post from a tough angle on his second attempt to make it 4-1 and send a shower of hats to the ice.

- The Huskies quickly responded with a power play goal of their own to bring it back within two goals when defenceman Jordan Fransoo's (Gay, A. Johnson) wrist shot from the high slot found its way through traffic in front and beat Marcoux blocker side.

- There would be no more scoring in the period, despite the Varsity Reds dominating possession during the latter half of the period and forcing Cooke to make a number of larcenous saves, including one in which he had to reach back and pull the puck off the goal line after it trickled through him. Shots in the period were 21-5 for UNB.

- Things became tense for everyone in attendance early in the 3rd period as the Huskies narrowed the lead to 4-3 with their second power play goal of the game at 4:17. After Randy Gazzola and Rob Mignardi took penalties 31 seconds apart the V-Reds penalty killing was put to the test. They managed to kill off the 5-on-3, but with 16 seconds remaining in the second penalty Kohl Bauml (Gay, McVeigh) shoveled the puck in from the side of the net to make it a one goal game.

- Once again, the Varsity Reds had an answer. The Huskies took a penalty at 8:33 and 17 seconds later Cam Braes notched his fourth goal of the game with a slick spinning backhand to forehand move to work from the side of the net to the front of the net before putting the puck into the far corner to restore the two goal lead. Assists on the goal went to Maillet - his 4th of the game - and Jordan Murray.

- After the goal the UNB clamped down and limited Saskatchewan to few scoring chances, perhaps the biggest ones being a toe save from in tight on Logan McVeigh with just over 7 minutes remaining and then on a scramble off of a Huskies rush with 5 minutes left. The Huskies pulled Cooke with 1:33 but weren't able to generate anything dangerous as the time ran out on the game, and their season, giving the hometown Varsity Reds their second consecutive championship - and 7th overall.

- Shots in the 3rd period were 7-5 for UNB, who held a 36-21 advantage in the game. The V-Reds really tightened up defensively after allowing nine shots on goal in the first ten or so minutes of the game.

- Saskatchewan went 2 for 5 on the power play. The V-Reds went 2 for 3.

- Etienne Marcoux made 18 saves to improve to 6-0 all-time at the University Cup. This was the first time he allowed more than one goal in a game.

- Attendance was 3374. One lucky fan walked away with the biggest 50/50 jackpot in AUC history at more than $8600.

- Braes (4 goals) and Connor Gay (1 goal, 2 assists) were named the player's of the game.

- The V-Reds once again dominated the face-off circle, winning 46 out of 74 draws. Mark Simpson led the way with 15 wins in 21 chances while Braes (11 out of 16) and Dylan Willick (10 out of 18) also had big nights at the dot.

- Philippe Maillet was awarded the Major W.J. 'Danny' McLeod Award as the University Cup MVP. Maillet had 4 goals and 6 assists in the tournament. His 17 career points (5 goals, 12 assists) in 9 games at the University Cup is now a school record.

- Although his scoring prowess is obviously well documented, it should be noted that Maillet came up with a huge blocked shot in the final minute of regulation time to help kill valuable time off the clock. It's things like that which makes him the Player of the Year and one of the leaders on this year's squad.

- With his 1st period assist on Mark Simpson's goal, Philippe Halley moves into 2nd place in UNB history with 14 career University Cup points.

- Cam Braes 9 career University Cup goals are only behind Halley's 11. His four goals today ties a tournament record and is the second time he has accomplished the feat, having also done it against Windsor in 2015.

- UNB has received a hat-trick in 6 out of their last 9 University Cup games.

- Braes and Cameron Critchlow each finish their UNB careers with 3 national championships, joining Josh Hepditch and Lachlan MacIntosh (2007, 2009, 2011) and Travis Fullerton, Dion Campbell, and Daine Todd (2009, 2011, 2013) in the exclusive club.

- Rob Mignardi will also cap his 5th year with a national championship.

- Joining Maillet on the all-tournament team were Marcoux (G), Acadia's Geoffrey Schemitsch (D), Saskatchewan's Jesse Forsberg (D), Braes (F), and Saskatchewan's Levi Cable (F).

- UNB becomes the first host team to win since they also did it in 2011. Those are the only two instances since Alberta went 2 for 2 in 2004 and 2005.

- Saskatchewan falls to 1-6 all-time in title games.

- Over at his Twitter, Victor Findlay has post-game reaction from Gardiner MacDougall, Francis Beauvillier, Marcus McIvor, Stephen Anderson, and Randy Gazzola.

- UNB finishes the season with a record of 35-7-3 (35-5-3 against CIS competition). This includes a 4-2-0 exhibition record, 25-2-3 conference record, 3-3 playoff record, and 3-0 University Cup record. It is the 9th time in 10 seasons they have won at least 34 total games.

- They went 23-1-0 at the AUC this year.

- In the bronze medal game played this morning Acadia defeated St. FX 6-3.

- The Varsity Reds are back in action....in September.

(Photo Credit - U Sports Hockey on Twitter)

UNB In The National Championship Game, vs. Saskatchewan

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will look to win their 7th University Cup in school history as well as win back-to-back titles for the first time ever when they face the Saskatchewan Huskies in tomorrow's gold medal game at the AUC. Game time is scheduled for 1PM and will be broadcast live nationally on Sportsnet 360.

Overall, UNB will be making their 12th appearance in the National Championship game (3rd all-time), including their 8th in the last 11 years. It will be the 9th appearance since Gardiner MacDougall took the helm in 2000/2001.

Here is a breakdown of their previous 11 appearances:

1997: Lost to Guelph 4-3
1998: Defeated Acadia 6-3
2000: Lost to Alberta 5-2 in OT2
2004: Lost to St. FX 3-2 in OT
2007: Defeated Moncton 3-2 in OT
2008: Lost to Alberta 3-2
2009: Defeated Western Ontario 4-2
2011: Defeated McGill 4-0
2013: Defeated Saint Mary's 2-0
2015: Lost to Alberta 6-3
2016: Defeated St. FX 3-1

Conversely, the Huskies will move into 4th place all-time with their 7th title game appearance and will be trying to win the school's second championship.

Here is how they have fared in their previous 6 appearances:

1981: Lost to Moncton 4-2
1982: Lost to Moncton 3-2
1983: Defeated Concordia 6-2
1987: Lost to UQTR 6-3
2005: Lost to Alberta 4-3 in OT
2014: Lost to Alberta 3-1

A few notes of interest:

- UNB's 12 appearances rank behind only Alberta (20) and Toronto (13) all-time.

- Both teams have 5 losses, which is tied with Alberta and Saint Mary's for the most all-time.

- This is UNB's 3rd title game appearance in the 5 University Cup tournaments held in Fredericton. They lost 3-2 in OT to St. FX in 2004 and then defeated McGill 4-0 in 2011.

- Cam Braes will finish his UNB career by playing in his 4th gold medal game. He will match Josh Hepditch and Lachlan MacIntosh as the only V-Reds players to ever accomplish that feat. Cameron Critchlow, also a 5th year senior, was suspended for the 2013 tournament that UNB won in Saskatoon so if he suits up tomorrow it will only be his 3rd appearance.

- This is the second time the V-Reds will be appearing in three straight title games, having also accomplished the feat from 2007-2009.

- This proves to be a fitting match-up as UNB was the #1 ranked team virtually all season while the Huskies were ranked #2 more often than any other team this year.

- The Varsity Reds and Huskies have met four times previously, all at the University Cup and all ending with UNB victories. This will be the first time they have played each other in the championship game, however.

- UNB defeated Saskatchewan 5-4 in double overtime in Saskatoon in 2000, 2-1 in 2007 in Moncton, 4-0 in 2008 in Moncton, and 3-1 in 2013 in Saskatoon.

- The game will feature the Goaltender of the Year (Jordon Cooke), Defenceman of the Year (Jordan Murray), Player of the Year (Philippe Maillet), and Coach of the Year (Dave Adolph).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

2nd Period Explosion Propels Huskies Over X-Men

The #6 seeded and Canada West runner-up Saskatchewan Huskies erupted for 8 goals - including 6 in the middle period - in an 8-0 demolition over the #2 seeded and AUS champion St. FX X-Men this afternoon at the AUC. With the win the Huskies book a date with the Varsity Reds in tomorrow afternoon's gold medal game while the X-Men will battle the Acadia Axemen in the bronze medal contest

- The X-Men looked like a team that had played a game the night before throughout the contest as the Huskies constantly beat them to loose pucks, won battles all over the ice, and generally looked like the quicker and fresher team. Saskatchewan jumped ahead 4:29 into the game when Jesse Forsberg got around a defender and received a nice saucer pass just inside the X-Men blue-line, going in all alone and beating goaltender Chase Marchand with a nice move in tight. The Huskies would hold the 1-0 lead until intermission after out-shooting St. FX 8-7 in the period.

- It all fell apart for the X-Men in the 2nd period. Saskatchewan struck for goals at 1:54 (Levi Cable), 4:29 (Carson Stadnyk), 10:17 (Logan McVeigh), 12:32 (Parker Thomas), 18:38 (Wyatt Johnson), and 19:57 (Connor Gay) to shock pretty much everyone in the building and build a commanding 7-0 cushion after 40 minutes. Shots were 12-9 for Saskatchewan in the period.

- The Huskies added another goal at 4:50 of the 3rd period when McVeigh got his second of the game, this one on the power play, to make it 8-0. They had a chance to make things even worse when they received a five minute power play after X-Men defenceman Max Iafrate decided to blatantly elbow a Saskatchewan player in the face and then, seconds later, cross-check another up high. The Huskies seemed content to just kill the clock at this point of the game more than anything and were held scoreless the rest of the way. The X-Men had a flurry of chances in the final minutes but were unable to spoil Jordon Cooke's shutout bid. Shots in the period were 10 apiece.

- Saskatchewan was 2 for 6 on the power play. The X-Men were 0 for 5.

- Shots were 30-26 for the Huskies.

- Levi Cable and Craig Duininck were named the player's of the game.

- Cooke becomes the first goaltender since Travis Fullerton in 2011 to post back-to-back shutouts at the University Cup.

- AUS goaltender of the year Chase Marchand gave up 5 goals on 16 shots in 32:32 of action before giving away to Brandon Hope, who surrendered 3 goals on 14 shots the rest of the way.

- Attendace was 2774.

- This was the most lopsided game at the University Cup since the Huskies pounded Windsor 9-0 at the 2014 tournament in Saskatoon.

- Saskatchewan moves on to their second championship game since 2014 where they will face the Varsity Reds. The Huskies will be searching for their second University Cup in school history. They captured their lone title in 1983 in Moncton. Game time is 1PM and will be broadcast live on Sportsnet 360.

- The X-Men will try to regroup for tomorrow's bronze medal game against Acadia. Game time is 9:30AM.

V-Reds Shut Down Axemen, Earn Finals Berth

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored a goal in each period and a rode a second consecutive semi-final shut-out by Etienne Marcoux to defeat the Acadia Axemen 3-0 and advance to their third straight championship game.

- The Varsity Reds jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after some nifty passing with Francis Beauvillier finding Chris Caissy, who then fed Stephen Anderson a cross-ice pass at the side of the net for a wrist shot into a wide open net. The goal came at 4:28 of the first period and proved to be the only goal UNB would need.

- The Axemen thought they had the tying goal with 7:07 remaining in the period, but the goal was quickly waved off without much argument after it was ruled Brett Thompson was in the crease and interfered with goaltender Etienne Marcoux.

- The V-Reds were finally able to add to their lead at 16:57 of the second period when their struggling power play, as well as Jordan Murray, both snapped out of their recent funks. With the man advantage Murray (Maillet, Braes) let go of a wrist shot from the point that skipped past goaltender Robert Steeves and into the corner of the net for a 2-0 advantage.

- The Axemen had a golden opportunity to get back into the game early in the 3rd period as Mike Thomas was assessed a 5-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for charging 3:43 into the frame. However, as they have done all season long, the V-Reds penalty kill stepped up in a huge way, limiting the Axemen to only 3 shots during the power play.

- UNB put the game away at 18:47 with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker. Philippe Maillet (Clapperton, McIvor) chased down a loose puck deep into the Axemen zone, cut towards the slot, and found the empty net to make it 3-0.

- Mike Thomas replaced Cameron Critchlow in the line-up. Cameron Brace, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor all remained out.

- Shots in the game were 30-20 for the V-Reds with period totals of 5-6, 14-7, and 11-7.

- UNB went 1 for 4 on the power play, but the story of the game was their penalty killing. They held the Axemen scoreless on 7 opportunities and over 16 minutes of power play time.

- Etienne Marcoux had his best game of the postseason as he recorded his second career University Cup shut-out, previously turning the trick against Saint Mary's in last year's semi-finals. He improves to 5-0 with a 0.60 GAA  in his career at the University Cup.

- Marcoux and Axemen defenceman Geoff Schemitsch were named the player's of the game.

- The V-Reds dominated the face-off circle, winning 47 out of 72 draws. Dylan Willick (15 out of 21) and Mark Simpson (13 out of 18) both not only had big nights in the face-off dot, but also did yeoman's work while shorthanded, along with Philippe Halley and the rest of the penalty killers, in keeping the Axemen off the board.

- Attendance was a sell-out of 3374.

- With two more points today Philippe Maillet has tied Philippe Halley and Kyle Bailey for the most University Cup points in school history with 13. His 8 career assists are also tied for most all-time (with Bailey and Ryan Lindsay).

- Murray's goal was his first point of the postseason. He was held off the score sheet in four conference playoff games and in Thursday's game against Queen's. He was also held scoreless in 3 out his last 4 regular season games.

- UNB's power play had been 2 for their previous 45 prior to Murray's goal.

- This was only the second meeting between the two schools at the University Cup. UNB defeated Acadia 6-3 for their first National Championship in 1998.

- The Varsity Reds will have chance to defend their 2016 title on home-ice Sunday afternoon when they face the winner of the upcoming St. FX/Saskatchewan semi-final. Game time is scheduled for 1PM and can be seen live on Sportsnet 360. The Axemen will face the loser in the bronze medal game at 9:30AM.

X-Men Set-Up Rematch With Huskies

The similarities to last season's University Cup continue as the St. FX X-Men defeated the McGill Redmen 4-1 tonight to set up a rematch of last year' semi-finals with the Saskatchewan Huskies.

- The X-Men opened the scoring 2:27 into the game when a rush up the ice pulled Redmen goalie Jacob Gervais-Chouinard well out of his net and Jagger Dirk found Matt Needham from behind the net all alone in front for an easy tap-in.

- Michael Clarke extended the lead to 2-0 at 14:35 of the second period when he batted the puck into an empty net at the side of the cage.

- McGill made a game of it 4:04 into the 3rd period while on a 5-on-3 advantage after Christophe Lalonde beat X-Men goaltender Chase Marchand with a fluttering shot from the point.

- St. FX was able to secure the victory with two goals in less than a minute just after the mid-point of the 3rd period. At 12:09 Mark Tremaine drove to the net and redirected a Nathan Pancel cross-ice past just inside the post and out of the reach of the left leg of Gervais-Chouinard and then at 13:01 Holden Cook, who had left the game earlier in the period with an apparent shoulder injury, gained possession of a loose puck in the slot and made no mistake firing it in for a 4-1 lead.

- Shots were 35-22 for St. FX.

- McGill was 1 for 6 on the power play while the X-Men were scoreless on four opportunities.

- Face-offs were almost even with McGill holding a slight 36-35 edge.

- Cook (1 goal) and Etienne Boutet were named the players of the game.

- Attendance was 3269.

- Redmen defenceman Nathan Chiarlitti was facing his former team for the first time.

- For the second consecutive year the AUS will have three teams in the final four. The X-Men advance to face the Saskatchewan Huskies in tomorrow afternoon's 4PM semi-final while the Acadia Axemen and UNB Varsity Reds play each other in the 12PM semi-final. The winners will move on to Sunday's 1PM gold medal game and the losers play in the 9:30AM bronze medal contest.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Huskies Advance With OT Win

Forward Levi Cable scored the only goal of the game 1:01 into overtime to lift the #6 seeded and Canada West runner-up Saskatchewan Huskies over the #3 seeded and OUA Champion York Lions 1-0 in the third quarter-final match-up of the 2017 University Cup.

- Cable broke down the right side and put what appeared to be an innocent looking shot towards the net, but it somehow snuck past goaltender Mack Shields and trickled over the goal line to send the Huskies on to tomorrow's semi-final.

- The anticipated goaltending duel between first-team All-Canadian and Goaltender of the Year Jordon Cooke from Saskatchewan and second-team All-Canadian Shields certainly lived up to the hype as both were stellar throughout.

- Although Shields was the busier of the two - shots favoured Saskatchewan 32-24 - it was Cooke who made the save of the tournament thus far. With less than a second remaining in the opening period Cooke dove back across his crease to snag the puck out of the air, denying the Lions a sure goal into a wide open net.

- Saskatchewan was 0 for 6 with the power play while York was 0 for 4.

- The Huskies went 40-23 in the face-off dot.

- Attendance was 3027.

- This is the 3rd overtime game the Huskies have played at the University Cup over the last two years, although this one took a little less time to settle. You may recall they played two of the longest games in University Cup history at last year's event - defeating Carleton 3-2 in quadruple overtime in the quarter-finals before finally succumbing to St. FX 2-1 in triple overtime in the semi-finals.

- The Huskies will now face the winner of tonight's St. FX/McGill game in tomorrow's 4PM semi-final. The Acadia Axemen and UNB Varsity Reds will play in the 12PM semi.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Maillet Does Maillet Things, V-Reds Roll

Newly crowned U Sports player of the year Philippe Maillet scored a hat-trick and added an assist as the #5 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds began their University Cup quest with a convincing 5-1 tonight over the travel-weary #4 ranked Queen's Gaels much to the delight of a sold-out AUC crowd.

- The game couldn't have started any better for the Gaels as defenceman Spencer Abraham ripped their first shot directed at Etienne Marcoux off the far post and in to quiet the boisterous crowd just 2:21 into the contest.

- However, the V-Reds quickly responded. On their next shift Philippe Maillet picked up the rebound off of a Philippe Halley shot and backhanded the puck into an open cage. The goal tied the game at 3:08, only 47 seconds after Queen's had taken the lead.

- The Varsity Reds took the lead at 18:00 of the opening period. A clearing attempt by a Gaels defenceman hit Maillet in the slot. After locating the puck the V-Reds forward fired a shot that Kevin Bailie had to make a tough save on, however the rebound bounced out to Christopher Clapperton at the left side of the net and he slid a backhanded shot along the ice and into the net before Bailie could get reset. Mark Simpson also received an assist on the goal.

- UNB put the game away with three goals on four shots in a span 4:28 midway through the 2nd period. At 7:43 Maillet (Gazzola, Clapperton) carried the puck all the way from his own zone and into Gaels territory before sniping the top right corner coming down the left wing. Then, at 11:49 Philippe Halley (Mignardi, Boudens) gathered the puck in the slot and floated a backhander into the top of the net after a lengthy shift in the offensive zone. Finally, Maillet completed his hat-trick 22 seconds later when he found himself in the right place at the right time as Colin Suellentrop's point shot deflected off of his skate and past Bailie, prompting a wave of hats to be thrown onto the ice. After a brief conference among the four officials, the goal was confirmed to be good. Cam Braes was credited with the secondary assist on the goal.

- The two teams skated through a fairly uneventful 3rd period as both realized the game was well in hand.

- Jordan Murray returned to the line-up after serving a two game suspension. Scratches for UNB were Cameron Brace, Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor.

- Shots in the game favoured UNB 40-15 with period totals of 15-6, 18-4, and 7-5.

- The V-Reds power play had another underwhelming night, going 0 for 5. Queen's was 0 for 6 with the man advantage.

- UNB won 41 out of 78 face-offs.

- Etienne Marcoux turned aside 14 of 15 shots in improving to 4-0 with a 0.75 GAA in his career at the University Cup.

- Gaels goaltender Kevin Bailie stopped 31 out of 36 shots before giving away to back-up Jacob Brennan. Brennan stopped all 4 shots he saw in just over 9 minutes of action. It has been reported that Bailie agreed to be pulled to allow Brennan, a Halifax native who played junior hockey for Acadie-Bathurst, to play in a game close to his home.

- Maillet (3 goals, 1 assist) and Abraham (1 goal) were named the player's of the game for their respective teams.

- One lucky fan out of the 3374 in attendance walked away with over $4600 from the 50/50.

- Philippe Halley goal was his 11th all-time at the University Cup, extending his school record. Daine Todd is 2nd with 6.

- With two points tonight, Halley now has 13 career points at the University Cup, tying Kyle Bailey for most in school history. Maillet has moved into 3rd with 11.

- Maillet's hat-trick is UNB's 5th in their last 7 University Cup games. Cam Braes (vs. Windsor) and Philippe Halley (vs. Guelph) both had four goal games in 2014 and Halley had back to back three goal efforts (vs. Western and Saint Mary's) last year.

- UNB has won their opening game at each of their last 14 University Cups.

- The V-Reds will now enjoy a day off before preparing to face a familiar foe in the Acadia Axemen, who are fresh off of a 4-1 win over Alberta earlier in the day, in the semi-finals on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 12PM AST and it will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360 if you can't make it to the rink.

- Tomorrow's action will feature #3 York vs. #6 Saskatchewan in the 1PM game and #2 St. FX and #7 McGill in the 7PM tilt.

- The parallels to last season continue. Last year the #5 ranked Varsity Reds defeated the #4 ranked OUA runner-up (Western) 5-1 to move on to face an 8th ranked AUS team (Saint Mary's), who had eliminated the #1 team in the tournament (UQTR).


Axemen Take Down Bears

The first game of the 2017 University Cup saw the top team in the tournament eliminated as the #8 ranked and AUS 3rd place Acadia Axemen took down the #1 ranked and Canada West champion Alberta Golden Bears 4-1 this afternoon at the AUC.

- After the Axemen had the better chances in the opening five minutes of play, the Bears took control of the rest of the first period and grabbed a 1-0 lead at 10:07 when Taylor Cooper's seemingly harmless shot from the left face-off circle got past Robert Steeves.

- Acadia tied things up just 1:07 into the 2nd period after Kyle Farrell banked a shot from the side of net off of Golden Bears Brendan Burke and in and then took the lead at 14:19 when Boston Leier jumped on a loose puck in the crease and poked it in.

- The Bears applied all kinds of pressure in the early parts of the 3rd period but to no avail. The Axemen then got an insurance marker at 15:32 when Stephen Harper got his second breakaway of the game. After getting stopped on his first attempt he didn't miss this time, firing the puck between Burke's legs for a 3-1 lead. Daniel Pettersson rounded out the scoring with a slap shot into an empty net with just under 7 seconds remaining.

- Shots in the game were 35-26 for Alberta.

- Alberta won 39 out of the 71 face-offs in the game.

- The Golden Bears can point to an ineffective power play as one of the main reason they lost, going 0 for 5 with the man advantage. Acadia was 0 for 2.

- Players of the game were Taylor Cooper (1 goal) from Alberta and Robert Steeves (34 saves) from Acadia.

- Attendance was 3109.

- The Axemen will now await the winner of tonight's quarter-final match-up. They will face either UNB or Queen's in Saturday's first semi-final, scheduled for 12PM AST.

- For the Bears, their season comes to a disappointing end after dropping their 5th consecutive game at the AUC. They had previously lost to McGill and St. FX at the 2012 University Cup and Dalhousie and UNB at the 2004 tournament.

University Cup Kicks Off Today


UPDATE - Tonight's UNB/Queen's game scheduled for 7PM has been moved to 8PM AST.


(Photo Credit - UNB Varsity Reds Twitter)
The 2017 University Cup finally gets underway today as the Acadia Axemen and Alberta Golden Bears are set to tangle at 1PM. The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds open their tournament tonight at 7PM against the Queen's Gaels in front of what should be a sold-out crowd.

- Speaking of the Gaels, it has been an eventful week for them to say the least. After being stranded in Quebec last night due to road closures they are finally on their way to Fredericton as they left Quebec City at 5AM this morning. Although they missed last night's awards gala, they had some fun with it and created their own 'Gaels Road-Trip Awards'.

- The McGill Redmen were also stuck in Quebec for the night. They made it as far as Riviere-du-Loup and will make the rest of the journey today. Unlike Queen's, at least the Redmed don't play until tomorrow evening.

- U Sports hockey insider Victor Findlay has posted his University Cup preview, looking at the AUS, OUA, and Canada West teams. Findlay will be posting daily recaps from Fredericton so if you aren't already following him, now is the time.

- Also give a follow to the official University Cup Twitter for the latest news.

- Bob McKenzie gets it

V-Reds Recognized At Awards Gala

The annual U Sports men's hockey awards gala to honour the best in Canadian university hockey took place last night at the Currie Center and it was a big night for the Varsity Reds. Forward Philippe Maillet was awarded the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy as the national player of the year and defenceman Jordan Murray took home the top defenceman award for a second consecutive season. Both players were also named first team all-Canadians. Defenceman Matt Murphy was also recognized as he placed on the all-rookie team.

Here are the complete winners:

Senator Joseph A. Sullivan Trophy (Player of the Year) - Philippe Maillet, UNB
Defenceman of the Year - Jordan Murray, UNB
Goaltender of the Year - Jordon Cooke, Saskatchewan
Clare Drake Award (Rookie of the Year) - Anthony De Luca, Concordia
R.W. Pugh Award (Most Sportsmanlike Player) - Elgin Pearce, Calgary
Father George Kehoe Memorial Award (Coach of the Year) - Dave Adolph, Saskatchewan
Dr. Randy Gregg Award (Student-Athlete Community Service) - Aaron Armstrong, Ryerson

First Team All-Canadians

F - Phillipe Maillet, UNB
F - Elgin Pearce, Calgary
F - Michael McNamee, Carleton
D - Jordan Murray, UNB
D - Martin Lefebvre - UQTR
G - Jordon Cooke, Saskatchewan

Second Team All-Canadians

F - Hunter Garlent, Saint Mary's
F - Connor Rankin, Mount Royal
F - Aaron Armstrong, Ryerson
D - Jesse Forsberg, Saskatchewan
D - Geoffrey Schemitsch, Acadia
G - Mack Shields, York

All-Rookie Team

F - Anthony De Luca, Concordia|
F - Hunter Garlent, Saint Mary's
F - Tyson Baille, Alberta
D - Matt Murphy, UNB
D - Jesse Lees, Mount Royal
G - Mack Shields, York

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Semi-Final/Medal Game Tickets On Sale Wednesday

It has been announced that single game tickets for Saturday's two semi-final games as well as Sunday's bronze medal and gold medal games will go on sale at 9AM on Wednesday, March 15th.

The semi-finals are scheduled 12PM and 4PM on Saturday, March 18th. If the Varsity Reds win their quarter-final game and advance they will be playing in the early game. Ticket prices are $30 (Adult), $25 (Senior), and $20 (Student/Youth).

The bronze medal game will take place at 9:30AM on Sunday, March 19th. The prices are the same as the quarter-final games - $25 (Adult), $20 (Senior), and $15 (Student/Youth).

The gold medal game is scheduled for 1PM on Sunday, March 19th. Prices are as follows - $40 (Adult), $35 (Senior), and $30 (Student/Youth).

Tickets can be purchased in person at the AUC box office or by calling (506) 453-5054.

UNB vs. Queen's: Preview, Prediction, Poll

(The Queen's Gaels held their first practice at the AUC today. Unfortunately, the majority of the team was still stranded in Ontario as bad weather canceled their flight. Photo credit to Victor Findlay)
The hometown - and favoured - #5 seeded University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will open their 2017 University Cup at 7PM on Thursday night against the #4 seeded Queen's Gaels, the OUA silver medalists.

The Gaels University Cup experience is already off to an eventful start as their scheduled flight from Kingston to Fredericton today was cancelled due to the weather. As a result, the team is now taking a bus the entire way and is expected to be in town tomorrow. Despite this, head coach Brett Gibson, along with a few players and coaches, who arrived earlier in the week practiced today. As you can see from the picture above, they were a little undermanned.

This will mark only the 3rd meeting all-time between the two schools and first at the University Cup. UNB won both previous encounters, a 4-3 OT pre-season win on October 11th, 1990 at the AUC and a 9-6 triumph on December 29th, 1993 at a tournament hosted by Concordia.

The Gaels are back at the University Cup for the first time since 1981 and are the only team in the field who have yet to win a National Championship. They finished 3rd in the OUA East division after posting a 18-7-3 regular season record and then went 6-2 in winning their first three playoff rounds. They ultimately lost 4-3 to the York Lions in the Queen's Cup game last Saturday.

In looking at Queen's stats, they closely resemble those of the York Lions, who UNB played in a pair of games over Christmas. The Gaels scored only 79 goals this season, which ranked only 25th (out of 35) in the country. Their 2.82 goals scored per game was well off the pace of the Varsity Reds country-leading 4.93. They also ranked in the bottom half of the country in averaging 30.7 shots per game, compared to UNB's 38.2. In fact, the Gaels have failed to record at least 20 shots on goal in 4 out of their last 5 games.

However, like the Lions, they were one of the stingiest teams in the nation, only surrendering 2.37 goals per game and posting a 0.920 save percentage, which ranked them 6th and 3rd in the country, respectively. Of course, in addition to leading the country in goals per game, UNB also led the nation in goals against average at 1.90, although their save percentage was only 0.899.

Perhaps the one thing Queen's does best is stay out of the penalty box, which could be key against the Varsity Reds lethal, albeit recently struggling, power play. The Gaels remarkably only accumulated 219 penalty minutes (or 7.82 per game) as a team this season, 99 fewer than the next lowest team. As a result, they were shorthanded only 74 times this season (61 fewer times than the next closest team) and gave up a U Sports-low 8 shorthanded goals. Their 89.2% penalty killing percentage ranked 3rd in the country, just behind UNB's 89.3%. By comparison, the V-Reds surrendered 18 power play goals in 169 shorthanded situations.

Offensively, Queen's is very top-heavy. The trio of forwards Slater Doggett (13 goals, 20 assists and an OUA East second-team all-star), Eric Ming (13 goals, 15 assists), and Ryan Bloom (10 goals, 14 assists) accounted for over 45% of the team's goals. No one else on the team potted more than 5 and they only had nine players hit the 10 point plateau.

On defense they are led by OUA East first-team all-star Spencer Abraham, who finished 4th on the team in scoring with 3 goals and 13 assists in 22 games. Team captain and New Maryland native Patrick Downe will get to finish his university hockey career in his hometown after chipping in 3 goals and 9 assists this season.

As one would expect from a team that is as good defensively as the Gaels are, they have an outstanding goaltender. In fact, they have two. Kevin Bailie, the expected starter, has proven to be one of the finest in the country over the last few years and he put together another great season this year with a 2.31 goals against average and a 0.925 save percentage in 856 minutes. Meanwhile, Jacob Brennan was even better. The 2nd year native of Halifax put up a 2.08 GAA and 0.927 save percentage in 865 minutes.

At the end of the day, this is a game the Varsity Reds should be heavily favoured to win. While Queen's has the unquestioned advantage in goal, the V-Reds offensive and defensive strength and depth should prove to be too much for the Golden Gaels to handle over the course of 60 minutes. Queen's has struggled all year putting the puck in the net, and more recently at generating many shots, and the Varsity Reds are the best in the country at keeping the puck out of the net and limiting shots, so it stands to reason the Gaels are going to have a really hard time scoring. On the flip side, UNB puts more pucks on net than any other team and even with Bailie putting up his usual ridiculous numbers, given the sheer number of shots they will likely throw at the Queen's goalie, they should be able to sneak enough pucks past him to come away with the win. Having said that, in a single elimination tournament anything can happen and, as Saint Mary's and St. FX just showed, it isn't out of the realm of possibility for a team to score a couple of timely goals on their limited opportunities while also having their goaltender stand on his head and steal a game against UNB.

Who do you got, UNB or Queen's?

Who wins?

UNB
Queen's
Poll Maker

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Seedings And Schedule Released

The seedings and schedule for the University Cup have been revealed. As expected, the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will go into the tournament ranked 5th and will draw the 4th ranked and OUA runner-up Queen's Gaels in the first round.

The complete schedule looks like this:

THURSDAY

1PM AST - #1 Alberta vs. #8 Acadia
7PM AST - #4 Queen's vs. #5 UNB

FRIDAY

1PM AST - #3 York vs. #6 Saskatchewan
7PM AST - #2 St. FX vs. #7 McGill

SATURDAY

12PM AST - Winner of 1/8 vs. Winner of 4/5
4PPM AST - Winner of 3/6 vs. Winner of 2/7

SUNDAY

9:30 AM AST - Bronze Medal Game
1PM AST - Gold Medal Game

- Note: Both semi-final games and the Championship final will be broadcast on Sportsnet 360.

UNB At The University Cup

When the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds hit the AUC ice on Thursday night for their first game of the 2017 University Cup they will be making their 16th appearance all-time at the tournament, including their 14th since 1997 and 11th under head coach Gardiner MacDougall.

Here is how they have fared at the previous 15 tournaments:

1964: 1-1 (Lost in semi-final)
1984: 0-2 (Lost in Atlantic regional)
1997: 1-1 (Lost in final)
1998: 3-0 (Won championship)
2000: 2-1 (Lost in final)
2003: 1-2 (Lost in semi-final + bronze medal game)
2004: 2-1 (Lost in final)
2007: 3-0 (Won championship)
2008: 2-1 (Lost in final)
2009: 3-0 (Won championship)
2011: 3-0 (Won championship)
2012: 1-1 (Lost in semi-final)
2013: 3-0 (Won championship)
2015: 2-1 (Lost in final)
2016: 3-0 (Won championship)

Some notes of interest:

- UNB's 6 championships and 11 championship games rank 3rd to Alberta (15 and 20) and Toronto (13 and 10).

- Their 5 championship game losses are tied with Alberta, Saint Mary's, and Saskatchewan for the most all-time.

- The V-Reds have won 5 titles and appeared in 7 title games in the last 10 years.

- UNB has a 0.732 winning percentage all-time at the University Cup. They are 30-11 in 41 career games, including 23-6 under Gardiner MacDougall.

- This includes 15 wins in their last 17 games and 20 wins in their last 23 games.

- They have out-scored the opposition 163-103 in those games.

- UNB has recorded 6 shut-outs at the University Cup. They have never been shut-out.

- UNB has never played Queen's or York at the University Cup. Their all-time University Cup record against the other participants is 1-0 against Acadia, 4-5 against Alberta, 4-0 against Saskatchewan, and 1-1 against St. FX.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Playoffs Wrap Up, University Cup Teams Set

The U Sports men's hockey conference playoffs finished up this weekend with the OUA crowning their champion as well as bronze medalist, which finalized the eight teams that will compete in next week's University Cup.

Last night in Montreal, the McGill Redmen (21-4-3) clinched their first appearance at Nationals since 2014 with a 6-3 victory over the visiting Windsor Lancers (13-13-2) in the OUA bronze medal game. The Redmen appeared at both the 2011 and 2012 tournaments in Fredericton, losing in the title game in 2011 before capturing their only National Championship in school history the following year.

In the Queen's Cup game, played tonight in Toronto, the hometown York Lions (18-6-4) won their first OUA Championship since 2004 with a 4-3 come from behind win over the Queen's Gaels (18-7-3). Interestingly, this is York's first conference championship and trip to the University Cup since 2004, when the tournament was also held in Fredericton.

So, the eight teams competing at this year's University Cup are:

University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds (AUS runner-up, host)
St. Francis Xavier X-Men (AUS Champions)
Acadia Axemen (AUS bronze medalists)
Alberta Golden Bears (Canada West Champions)
Saskatchewan Huskies (Canada West runner-up)
York Lions (OUA Champions)
Queen's Gaels (OUA runner-up)
McGill Redmen (OUA bronze medalists)

The seedings and schedule are expected to be released tomorrow afternoon, however we are quite confident, based on the U Sports playing regulations, it will look like this:

1 - Alberta
2 - St. FX
3 - York
4 - Queen's
5 - UNB
6 - Saskatchewan
7 - McGill
8 - Acadia

- The three conference champions have to be ranked 1-2-3 and the order is based on their final top ten rankings (ie/ Alberta was ranked higher than St. FX, who was ranked higher than York). 

- The OUA runner-up is always seeded 4th.

- UNB and Saskatchewan were the other two conference runner-ups so they will be seeded 5th and 6th in some order. The V-Reds were consistently ranked higher than the Huskies all season so it is likely they will get slotted into the 5th spot while Saskatchewan will be 6th.

- McGill and Acadia are the two 3rd place teams and cannot be seeded higher than any of the conference runner-ups so they have to be placed 7th and 8th. The hosting committee always tries to avoid inter-conference match-ups in the opening round, which means if St. FX is 2nd then Acadia almost certainly will not be 7th. This can easily be solved by putting McGill as the 7th seed and Acadia as the 8th seed.

- This will give us Alberta/Acadia and Queen's/UNB on one side of the draw and St. FX/McGill and York/Saskatchewan on the other side. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

University Cup Single Game Tickets Go On Sale Monday

The Varsity Reds have announced that single game tickets for the University Cup will go on sale on at 9:00am on Monday, March 13th.

- Tickets will ONLY be available for the quarter-final games played at 1:00PM and 7:00PM on Thursday, March 16th and Friday, March 17th.

- Single game tickets for semi-final Saturday and Sunday's medal games will be available at a later date.

- Single game tickets can be purchased in person, at the AUC box office, or by phone at (506) 453-5054.

- Prices will be $25 for an adult, $20 for a senior, and $15 for youth/student.

- Of course you can still purchase 8 game championship packages for $175 (adult), $150 (senior), and $75 (child/youth/student/UNB student). These can also be purchased online along with the above mentioned methods.

Varsity Reds Alumni Rally

The UNB alumni will be hosting a rally/social prior to the Varsity Reds first game at the University Cup. See below for more info and follow the link to register.
We are hosting a UNB Alumni - Varsity Reds UCup Rally/Social before UNB's first game on Thursday night. Join us at the 3rd Floor Ballroom at the Student Union Building for a few beverages and food. The Rally/Social will start at 5:00 p.m.and concludes at 6:30 p.m.when we will head up the hill to cheer on our Varsity Reds!
Registration ($10.00 + HST) for the event includes:
  • One Proudly UNB Red and Black Scarf - sho wyour red and black colors!
  • One Drink Ticket to be used at event (good for one domestic beer, wine, pop, or water)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

X-Men Repeat

Just like in game 1, tonight's game 2 of the AUS Final between St. FX and the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds followed a similar script to their series last year. The Varsity Reds jumped out to a two goal lead, only to have the resilient X-Men rally for the win - in this case, 5-4 - to sweep the series and capture the AUS Championship.

- UNB got on the board first at 16:04 of the opening frame when Philippe Maillet (Braes, Clapperton) found the top corner to beat Chase Marchand and make it 1-0.

- The X-Men answered just 25 seconds later as Max Iafrate blasted a loose puck that squirted out into the slot past Etienne Marcoux.

- The V-Reds struck for two quick goals to begin the 2nd period to take a 3-1 lead. Philippe Halley (Simpson) kept the puck on a partial 2-on-1 and beat Marchand five-hole at 1:02 and then Maillet struck again for his second of the night only 19 seconds later when he somehow snuck the puck in at the side of the net.

- The wheels then fell off and within 10 minutes the X-Men had the lead. Holden Cook took advantage of a defensive zone turnover to make it 3-2 at 3:03, Sam Studnicka skated down the left side and wired a wrist shot into the top corner at 9:25, and Adam Stevens scored St. FX's second 5-on-3 goal of the series at 11:27 and all of a sudden it was a 4-3 game.

- Michael Clarke extended the lead to 5-3 at 12:59 with a wrist shot from the high slot. The goal came 28 seconds after a failed UNB power play.

- Christopher Clapperton (Caissy) made it interesting with a goal at 2:28 to make it 5-4, but that was as close as UNB would get as St. FX clinched their second straight conference championship.

- Stephen Anderson drew back into the line-up, replacing Cameron Critchlow. Jordan Murray (suspended), Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were also out.

- Shots were 35-28 for UNB with period totals of 10-8, 13-15, and 12-5.

- The Varsity Reds power play continues to struggle, going 0 for 4 including two chances in the first half of the 3rd period when they were looking for the tying goal. St. FX was 1 for 3 with the man advantage.

- Attendance was 2050, a sell-out.

- UNB has now lost 5 straight playoff games Keating Millenium Centre and are only 6-11 in their last 17 playoff games overall against St. FX.

- St. FX went a perfect 7-0 in the playoffs.

- UNB heads into the University Cup having lost 3 out of their last 4 games. Prior to that they had only dropped 3 of their previous 28 games.

- In the consolation final, the Acadia Axemen booked their place at the University Cup with a 3-0 win over Saint Mary's in Halifax. The Axemen sweep the series 2 games to 0.

- With the V-Reds loss, none of the four regular season conference champions (Saskatchewan, Ryerson, McGill, UNB) won their respective championships.

- UNB will now look to regroup and get prepared for Nationals next week. In another similarity to last season, it is likely the Varsity Reds will be seeded 5th in the tournament and will face the OUA runner-up (either York or Queen's) in their first game. They will be on the same side of the draw as the number 1 and 8 seeds (likely Alberta and Acadia).


Monday, March 6, 2017

Deja Vu All Over Again

It is a movie we have saw before. For the second straight season the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds entered game 1 of the AUS Final against St. FX X-Men without having suffered a regulation loss on home-ice (or any loss for that matter this season) and for the second consecutive season find themselves down 1-0 in the best 2-of-3 series after the visiting X-Men rode a 49 save performance from goaltender Chase Marchand to claim a 2-1 victory tonight at the AUC.

- The X-Men struck first with a 5-on-3 power play goal from Michael Clarke 6:34 into the game. Clarke ripped a long shot through traffic off the post and in to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

- UNB answered back just under 6 minutes later with a power play goal of their own. Cameron Brace (Caissy, Gazzola) skated around a couple of defenders to collect a soft area pass, streaked down the right side, cut in and roofed a backhander over Marchand. 

- Eric Locke restored the St. FX lead, and scored what proved to be the game winning goal, at 14:48 of the first period when he banged home the puck from just outside the crease after some sustained pressure in the offensive zone.

- Jordan Murray served the first game of a two game suspension following an incident towards the end of game 3 against Saint Mary's. Stephen Anderson, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were also out.

- Shots in the game were 50-19 for UNB with period totals of 20-10, 13-7, and 17-2. To say Chase Marchand was the difference would be a massive understatement. 

- This is the second time in three games UNB has hit the 50 shot plateau after not doing it once during the regular season. In the last three games they have out-shot their opposition 136-46, yet have been out-scored 6-5 and are 1-2 in those games. 

- UNB went 1 for 5 on the power play. The X-Men were 1 for 4.

- UNB won 47 out of 87 face-offs in the contest.

- Attendance was 3121.

- The Varsity Reds were 20-0-0 at home this season and entered the game on a 53-1-1 run at the AUC dating back to November of 2014. The only two blemishes were a 3-2 shootout loss to Acadia on October 30th, 2015 and the aforementioned loss to St. FX almost exactly one year ago - 3-2 on March 7th, 2016.

- In the AUS bronze medal series, Acadia got by Saint Mary's by a 5-1 count in Wolfville. The Axemen move within one win of qualifying for next week's University Cup.

- Over the weekend the Alberta Golden Bears defeated the Saskatchewan Huskies 2 games to 1 to win the Canada West title. Both teams had already qualified for Nationals. In the OUA the York Lions eliminated the Windsor Lancers 2 games to 1 and the Queen's Gaels upset the McGill Redmen 2 games to 0. York and Queen's both punched their ticket to the University Cup and will now play on Saturday in the Queen's Cup to determine the OUA Champion. Windsor and McGill will face-off in a bronze medal game to decide the OUA's third berth at Nationals.

- The Varsity Reds will look to extend the series on Wednesday night when they travel to Antigonish for game 2. Game time is scheduled for 7PM. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Varsity Reds/X-Men To Renew Acquaintances In Final

The AUS and U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds and AUS #3 ranked will add another chapter to their rivalry when the two teams meet in the best 2-of-3 AUS Final beginning Monday night in Fredericton.

Here is everything you need to know to get prepared for the series:

- The schedule looks like this:

Game 1 - Monday, March 6th at UNB
Game 2 - Wednesday, March 8th at St. FX
Game 3 - Friday, March 10th at UNB (if necessary)

All games can be viewed live on www.AUStv.ca.

- After receiving a first round playoff bye, the Varsity Reds defeated Saint Mary's 3 games to 1 in the semi-final. St. FX, on the other hand, seems to be hitting their stride at the right time. They took down Moncton in two straight games in the quarter-finals before upsetting the #2 ranked Acadia Axemen in a three game sweep in the semi-finals. By virtue of making the finals, the X-Men have guaranteed themselves a berth at the University Cup for a third consecutive season.

- This is the 10th time under Gardiner MacDougall the V-Reds have faced the X-Men in the playoffs. Three of those meetings have come in the finals, including last year when St. FX bested UNB in two straight games to claim the championship.

2001 - Lost 2 games to 1 in semi-finals
2003 - Won 3 games to 1 in finals
2005 - Won 2 games to 0 in quarter-finals
2006 - Won 2 games to 1 in quarter-finals
2007 - Won 3 games to 1 in semi-finals
2010 - Lost 3 games to 0 in semi-finals
2011 - Won 3 games to 2 in finals
2015 - Won 3 games to 2 in semi-finals
2016 - Lost 2 games to 0 in finals

Overall, UNB has won 6 out of the previous 9 series with a 17-14 overall record. Of note, while the V-Reds are 13-4 at the AUC, they are only 4-10 in Antigonish.

- UNB has been in 10 previous finals under MacDougall, with this year marking their 6th appearance in 7 seasons. They have won 6 AUS titles with an overall record of 16-13 in that span.

2003 - Defeated St. FX 3 games to 1 
2006 - Lost to Acadia 3 games to 0
2007 - Lost to Moncton 2 games to 0
2008 - Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 0
2009 - Lost to Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2011 - Defeated St. FX 3 games to 2
2012 - Defeated Moncton 3 games to 0
2013 - Defeated Saint Mary's 2 games to 1
2015 - Defeated Acadia 2 games to 0
2016 - Lost to St. FX 2 games to 0

- UNB's 14 AUS titles are second all-time to St. FX's 25.

- The Varsity Reds went 4-0-1 against the X-Men this season. They lost their first meeting of the season 5-4 in overtime in Antigonish on October 22nd before reeling off four straight wins - 6-0 at home on October 29th, 7-3 in Antigonish on November 11th, 2-1 in overtime at the AUC on January 6th, and 5-3 on the road on February 3rd.

- Players to watch for on the X-Men include leading scorers Michael Clarke (9 goals, 19 assists) and last season's AUS MVP Eric Locke (13 goals, 15 assists), Holden Cook (12 goals - including 4 against UNB in their first meeting, 15 assists), Kristoff Kontos (5 goals, 18 assists), Bryson Cianfrone (10 goals, 11 assists), and AUS second-team all-star defenceman Jagger Dirk (3 goals, 13 asssists). Chase Marchand (2.78 GAA, 0.913 save percentage) has been in goal for every playoff minute thus far.

- While both teams know they will be at Nationals, the outcome of this series will have big implications on seeding. If UNB wins they will almost certainly go in to the tournament ranked #1 and face the #8 seed in their first game. Not to mention they will be the designated home team and have last change for every game. If the V-Reds lose, however, the best they can hope for is the #5 seed, which would make them the road team for their first game and also put them in the same pool as the #1 ranked team.

- The Acadia Axemen and Saint Mary's Huskies will play a best 2-of-3 series to determine the third AUS entry at the University Cup. The schedule for that series will mirror that of the finals - Monday in Wolfville, Wednesday in Halifax, and Friday back in Acadia if necessary.

- Out west, the Saskatchewan Huskies and Alberta Golden Bears will battle for Canada West supremacy with a best 2-of-3 series beginning on Friday. Both teams have already guaranteed a spot at the University Cup.

- In the OUA, York and Windsor will face-off in a best 2-of-3 series in the West division final while McGill/Queen's will do likewise in the East division final. The two winners will not only punch their ticket to the Queen's Cup game, but also to the University Cup. The two losers will play a bronze medal game to decide the OUA's third representative in Fredericton.

- Who wins the AUS Final?


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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

V-Reds Advance To Finals

The undermanned Saint Mary's Huskies gave a valiant effort, but in the end it wasn't quite enough as the #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds survived a scare with a 2-1 victory in game 4 of the best 3-of-5 semi-final series. With the win the V-Reds take the series 3 games to 1 and set up a rematch of last year's AUS and U Sports final with the St. FX X-Men.

- For the second consecutive night UNB opened the scoring. Matt Murphy made a beautiful stretch pass up the middle of the ice, springing Christopher Clapperton for a breakaway. Clapperton went forehand to backhand to beat Cole Cheveldave for a 1-0 lead 11:57 into the game. Randy Gazzola also picked up an assist on the goal, his third of the postseason.

- The Huskies tied the game with just under a minute left in the first period on a similar play. Anthony Repaci found Hunter Garlent, who had a step on the defense, with a pass through the neutral zone and Garlent skated in on a semi-breakaway, beating Etienne Marcoux with a quick snap shot through his legs.

- After more than five periods of having glorious chance after glorious chance turned away, the Varsity Reds took the lead 3:07 into the 3rd period thanks to a fortunate bounce. While killing a penalty Mark Simpson (Mignardi) carried the puck up the ice and was joined by a pair of teammates to make it a 3-on-2 rush. Simpson fumbled the puck in the slot just enough to allow another Husky to catch up and help out defensively and it looked like a missed opportunity. In a desperation move Simpson tried to find a teammate to his left with a cross-slot pass, but the puck bounced off a defenders skate and past Cheveldave to give UNB a 2-1 lead.

- The fortuitous goal ended up being the series-clinching tally as the Varsity Reds held the fort the rest of the way. Saint Mary's pulled their goalie with just over a minute remaining and were able to generate a couple of great chances, but Marcoux stood tall to preserve the victory.

- Cameron Brace and Mike Thomas drew back in the line-up at the expense of Cameron Critchlow and Stephen Anderson. Oliver Cooper and Peter Trainor remained out.

- Saint Mary's once again played with only 14 skaters.

- Shots in the game favoured UNB 36-11. The V-Reds out-shot the Huskies 164-64 in the series.

- Face-offs also favoured UNB, 46-37.

- The Varsity Reds power play has gone cold for probably the first time all season, going 0 for 6 in the game and 1 for 18 in the series. Their penalty killing remained excellent though as they killed off all four of the Huskies opportunities with the man advantage. They killed off 21 out of 23 penalties in the series and scored three shorthanded goals.

- After being held without a power play goal in only 5 of their first 28 regular season games, UNB has been shutout on the power play in 5 out of the last 6 games (the final two games of the regular season + 3 out of 4 games in this series).  5 out of their 10 scoreless games this season have come against Saint Mary's.

- The V-Reds will now face rival, and defending conference champions, St. FX in the best 2-of-3 AUS Final. Of course, the X-Men swept UNB 2 games to 0 in the final last year before the Varsity Reds exacted their revenge with a 3-1 win in the University Cup final. The schedule has yet to be released, but we do know UNB will be hosting game 1, and game 3 if necessary, at the AUC. It is likely to get started sometime this weekend.

- The Huskies will now regroup and get ready to face the Acadia Axemen in a best 2-of-3 bronze medal series to determine the third, and final, AUS representative at the University Cup.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Huskies Force Game 4

Cole Cheveldave turned aside 48 out of 50 shots as the Saint Mary's Huskies staved off elimination with a 3-2 victory over the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds 3-2 tonight in Halifax. The V-Reds hold a 2 games to 1 series lead in the best 3-of-5 semi-final series.

- Cam Braes (Maillet, Clapperton) opened the scoring 7:43 into the contest with a wrist shot from the top of the face-off circle.

- After that it was all Cole Cheveldave as he weathered the constant storm of shots directed his way and allowed his teammates to take advantage of three of their limited chances. Anothony Repaci (8:27 of the 1st period), Kyle Pereira (9:27 of the 1st period), and Bronson Beaton (7:06 of the 3rd period) all struck for the Huskies to open up a 3-1 lead.

- Francis Beauvillier (Caissy, Anderson) gave the Varsity Reds a glimmer of hope with a goal with 1:53 remaining, but a late penalty negated any serious chance of a comeback.

- Shots were 50-16 for UNB.

- The V-Reds won 47 out of 83 face-offs.

- The number of penalties continued to be a problem for UNB as SMU went 1 for 8 on the power play. The Varsity Reds went 0 for 4.

- Captain Kyle Pereira returned to the line-up for Saint Mary's, but they still dressed only 14 out of a possible 18 skaters.

- Etienne Marcoux took the loss in goal.

- The Varsity Reds struggles on the road against Saint Mary's continue. They have now lost 15 out of their last 23 road games against the Huskies, including 5 straight playoff games and all 3 games this season.

- 3 out of UNB's 6 losses this year have come against SMU at the Halifax Forum.

- In the other semi-final series, St. FX rallied from a 4-1 3rd period deficit to beat Acadia 5-4 in overtime. The X-Men sweep the series and move on to the AUS Final where they will look to defend their title. They have also earned a trip to the University Cup, joining Canada West finalists Alberta and Saskatchewan, and host UNB as the first four teams to punch their ticket. Meanwhile, Acadia waits and hopes they will get a second chance in a 3rd place series against Saint Mary's.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Varsity Reds Wear Down Huskies

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds received a better effort from the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies tonight, but the V-Reds pulled away for a 7-3 victory to take a 2 games to 0 series lead in the best 3-of-5 AUS semi-final.

After a scoreless first period in which UNB out-shot SMU 13-6, the two teams exploded for six goals in the middle frame. The Varsity Reds opened the scoring at 3:48 when Randy Gazzola floated a shot from the blue line into the top corner after a clean face-off win by Cam Braes and then doubled their lead just 95 seconds later after Rob Mignardi (Halley, Beauvillier) found himself all alone in front of the net to redirect a centering pass. However, just when it looked like the game was going to turn into a rout, the shorthanded Huskies showed their resiliency by tying the game up with two quick goals of their own - the first by Anthony Repaci, converting a beautiful feed from AUS rookie of the year Hunter Garlent on a 2-on-1 at 7:32, and then by Francis Menard, firing the puck into a wide open net from the side of the cage at 10:20, just seconds after their power play had expired. Although it may have seemed improbable, the game was tied just over halfway through. The V-Reds quickly extinguished any momentum the Huskies may have been building, though, as Stephen Anderson dug the puck out of the SMU corner after a defender had blown a tire and found Chris Caissy streaking down the slot. Caissy made an nice deke before roofing the puck up and over Cole Cheveldave to restore the lead at 11:12. The turning point of the game came at 15:58. UNB took three penalties in a 3:01 span, forcing them to kill off an 11 second and then 48 second 5-on-3. Just after killing off the latter two man disadvantage Matt Boudens came out of the penalty box, went in to the offensive zone on the forecheck, and got hauled down without a call (much to the chagrin of the large crowd who had witnessed five straight SMU power plays at that point). Boudens stuck with the play and forced a turnover, gaining control of the puck in front of the net and roofing it for a shorthanded goal to extend the lead to 4-2. The period would end with the Huskies holding an 11-10 shot advantage.

The V-Reds finally got a chance on the power play - only their second of the game up to this point - in the early going of the 3rd period and it only took 7 seconds for Philippe Maillet (Mignardi, Clapperton) to jam the puck in during a scramble in front to make it 5-2. More penalty trouble for UNB led to the Huskies getting that one back. Just 4 seconds after killing off another 5-on-3 Anthony Repaci poked the puck past Etienne Marcoux for a power play goal that was made worse when Jordan Murray took an unsportsmanlike penalty at the same time, sending the Huskies right back to the man advantage. The Varsity Reds penalty killing came through with the big kill to keep it a two goal game and they put it away with a pair of goals in the final two minutes. Maillet (Critchlow, Petgrave) notched his second of the night into an empty net tally at 18:05 and Matt Murphy (Anderson) put the icing on the cake when he spun and fired a loose puck from the slot past Cheveldave at 19:21. Shots in the period were 15-6 for UNB.

- The V-Reds went with the same line-up as last night as Cam Brace, Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were all scratched.

- The Huskies played with only 13 skaters.

- Shots ended up 38-23 for UNB.

- Etienne Marcoux stopped 20 shots out of 23 to pick up the victory.

- Saint Mary's went 1 for 9 on the power play while UNB scored once on only three opportunities.

- UNB won 42 out of 79 face-offs.

- Mignardi, Repaci, and Boudens were named the game's three stars.

- Attendance was a solid 2986.

- UNB has now won 9 out of their last 10 playoff games at the AUC.

- They have won 8 straight home games over the Huskies.

- They are 20-0-0 at home this season.

- The St. FX X-Men have also grabbed a 2-0 series lead as they defeated Acadia 4-2 tonight in Wolfville in the other semi-final.

- UNB will look to punch their ticket to the AUS Final on Monday night when game 3 goes in Halifax. Game time is scheduled for 7PM.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

V-Reds Too Much For Shorthanded Huskies

The #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds did not show any signs of rust in their first playoff game after a first round bye as they were in complete control all game long in a 5-1 victory over the visiting Saint Mary's Huskies tonight at the AUC. UNB leads the best 3-of-5 semi-final 1 game to 0.

The Huskies, playing with only 15 skaters to begin the game, looked like a team who had just came off of a grueling playoff series and were playing a well-rested - and well-oiled - team in the first period. The V-Reds out-shot Saint Mary's 16-3 and struck for a pair of goals to quickly set the tone for the night. UNB got on the board 3:51 into the contest while shorthanded when noted playoff performer Philippe Halley (Petgrave) took a pass in the neutral zone and had a breakaway from the centre line. Halley made a move to get goaltender Erik Brassard moving from right to left and slid a backhanded shot along the ice between Brassard's legs. Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Huskies shortly after the goal when they lost their best defenceman Kyle Pereira for the game with an apparent lower body injury after he was the recipient of a Jordan Murray kneeing penalty. UNB was able to double the lead at 17:26 when Francis Beauvillier (Mignardi, Halley) finished off a nice cross-ice feed from Rob Mignardi by roofing the puck up and over Brassard's shoulder from just outside the crease.

Things didn't get any better for the visitors in the middle frame with the V-Reds holding a 15-5 shot advantage and striking for three more goals. Just 1:41 into the period Christopher Caissy (Gazzola) scored arguably the goal of the year when he picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and stickhandled around and through the defence before roofing a backhanded shot into the top corner to make it 3-0. Just over 9 minutes later Beauvillier (Gazzola) scored his second of the game after he skated down the right side, got around a defender, and once again beat Brassard with a perfectly placed shot into the top corner on the short side. The V-Reds kept applying pressure and at 13:36 Cam Braes (McIvor, Maillet) was rewarded after a long shift in the offensive zone with a deflection of a Marcus McIvor blast from the point. Saint Mary's finally got on the board 80 seconds later on a bit of a confusing play as Francis Menard knocked the puck out of the air and in after Etienne Marcoux made the original stop. One referee originally waved off the goal, but the call was reversed and the goal stood. It proved to be much too little and much too late on this night for the Huskies. The two teams skated through a fairly uneventful final period with UNB out-shooting SMU 9-6.

- Cameron Brace, Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were all scratched for UNB.

- In addition to Pereira, the Huskies also lost defenseman Adam Bateman in the 2nd period and he never returned, meaning they finished the game with only 13 out of 18 possible skaters.

- Final shots were 40-14.

- UNB also won 51 out of 78 face-offs with Dylan Willick (10 out of 12), Cam Braes (10 out of 17), and Mark Simpson (13 out of 19) all having excellent nights.

- If there was one thing to nitpick it was UNB's power play. They went 0 for 6 on the night. The penalty killing was superb, though. SMU was 0 for 5 with the man advantage.

- Marcoux stopped 13 out of 14 shots to improve his career postseason record to 7-2.

- Beauvillier, Halley, and Caissy were named the game's three stars.

- Here is Caissy's goal (courtesy Victor Findlay):

- Attendance was 2523.

- In game 1 of the other semi-final tonight, defenceman Cole MacDonald scored in double overtime to lift the visiting St. FX X-Men over the Acadia Axemen.

- The series resumes tomorrow night with the Varsity Reds looking to take a stranglehold on the series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM at the AUC.