Tuesday, January 31, 2017

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

A couple of early-week notes of interest:

- For the 12th consecutive week the V-Reds are the #1 ranked U Sports team in the country. After picking up a pair of wins over the weekend UNB received all 15 first place votes and 150 points to stay ahead of the #2 ranked Saskatchewan Huskies. The Ryerson Rams move up three spots to #3 for the second time in school history while McGill and Acadia each drop a ranking, to 4th and 5th respectively. Alberta, Queen's, York, Mount Royal, and Concordia find themselves in the 6th-10th positions. St. FX was the only other AUS team to receive votes, garnering 7 votes.

- Forward Cam Braes has been named the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week. It was a big week for the 5th year senior as he collected 2 goals, 2 assists, and the Fallen Soldier Award in Friday night's 7-1 win over UPEI on Military Appreciation Night before potting another goal and adding an assist in Saturday's 6-3 road victory over Moncton.

The BC native is currently enjoying his best season as a V-Red as he sits 4th in the conference in goals (14), 6th in assists (22), 6th in points (36), and 2nd in +/- (+22). His production so far this season has vaulted Braes to 17th in school history in regular season scoring (117 points) and 13th in overall scoring (145 points).

- Victor Findlay has all the latest men's hockey news from around the country in his latest edition of Tuesday Morning Skate.

- The 2017 Winter Universiade has kicked off in Almaty, Kazakhstan and the men's hockey team - made up of all-stars from the OUA conference - got off to a great start with a dominating 6-0 victory over the United States yesterday. They are back in action tomorrow morning when they face Great Britain.

Team Canada is looking to improve on the bronze medal the Canada West all-stars brought home from Granada, Spain in 2015. Canada last won gold in 2013 in Trentino, Italy when the team was made up of AUS players, including V-Reds Chris Culligan, Nick MacNeil, Tyler Carroll, and Marc-Antoine Desnoyers.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

V-Reds Keep Rolling

It wasn't always pretty, but the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds played well enough to come away with a 6-3 win in Moncton over the Aigles Bleus. UNB improves to 21-2-3 on the year, which includes a 7-0-1 mark since the Christmas break.

The V-Reds took it to the Aigles Bleus in the opening period as they held a 14-5 shot advantage and took a 1-0 lead at 6:58 on a Cam Braes goal that looked very similar to the two he scored on Friday night. Christopher Clapperton worked the puck down the left wing boards to Philippe Maillet, who was stationed behind the net. Maillet then made a deft backhanded touch pass between his legs out front to Braes and the 5th year senior fired a quick one-timer past goaltender Alexi Thibaudeau. Although UNB would have numerous high quality chances in the period, they would only strike the one time.

Thanks to a fortunate bounce Moncton was able to even the score just 50 seconds into the 2nd period while on the power play. Defenceman Pierre Durepos dumped the puck in around the end boards and goalie Alex Dubeau went behind the net with the intention of knocking it down and playing it. However, it took a strange hop off the glass and popped out in front of the net where Steve Lebel had a wide open net to shoot at. Although the goal seemed to give Moncton some momentum as they had a much period in terms of possession and chances, the V-Reds would strike three times in the latter half of the frame to take a 4-1 lead. At 12:30 Maillet outraced a defender for a bouncing, loose puck in the offensive zone and fed Rob Mignardi in the slot for a power play goal to regain the lead. Jordan Murray was credited with the secondary assist on the goal. UNB cushioned their lead with a pair of goals only 51 seconds apart late in the period. At 17:06 Dylan Willick (Cricthlow, Boudens) located a bouncing puck in front of the net during a rush and shoveled it in and then at 17:57 Matt Murphy (Gazzola, Halley) carried the puck into the Moncton zone and took a shot from the face-off circle that deflected off of Thibaudeau's glove and barely trickled across the goal line and into the corner of the net. Shots in the period were 15-9 for Moncton.

The opening minutes of the 3rd period saw a flurry of action as Moncton attempted to get back into the game. At 1:08 Carl Marois made it 4-2 after he got in behind the defence and beat Dubeau with a nice deke and backhander. This was quickly answered when Clapperton (Braes, Maillet) pounced on a loose puck that had got through Thibaudeau's legs and helped it across the line at 1:59 to push the lead to 5-2. The Aigles Bleus struck again just 81 seconds after that on an Alex Saulnier goal off of a rebound to get Moncton back within two goals. They would get a couple more good chances the rest of the way - including a power play - before Jordan Murray (Maillet, Clapperton) ended any hopes of a comeback with an empty net goal with 17 seconds remaining. Shots favoured UNB 9-3 in the period.

- Oliver Cooper drew back into the line-up to replace Mike Thomas, who is still recovering from being on the receiving end of an ugly hit the night before against UPEI. Cam Brace, Francis Beauvillier, and Peter Trainor were also out.

- Alex Dubeau saw his first action since January 13th against Saint Mary's and improved to 8-1-2 on the season.

- Final shots were 32-23 for UNB.

- Moncton held the edge in the face-off circle, winning 36 out of 70 draws,

- Both teams went 1 for 5 on the power play. Moncton's goal marked the first power play goal UNB has given up in 6 games (since January 7th against Dalhousie).

- Philippe Maillet (4 assists) was named the player of the game. He continues to lead the country in scoring and now has 49 points (20 goals, 29 assists) in 26 games this season.

- Maillet is up to 6th in school history in overall scoring (Conference + Playoffs + Nationals) with 179 career points, behind only Hunter Tremblay, Chris Culligan, Rob Hennigar, Kyle Bailey, and Dax MacLean. His 160 career regular season points put him behind only Tremblay, Hennigar, and Culligan.

- Attendance was 660.

- In the only other AUS game Acadia rallied from a 2-0 2nd period deficit to defeat Saint Mary's 4-3 in Halifax,

- UNB is on the road for a pair of games next weekend. They are at St. FX on Friday night before facing Dalhousie on Saturday evening.

Friday, January 27, 2017

UNB Clinches 1st With Romp Over Panthers

For the 10th consecutive season the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds have won not only 20 games but also the AUS regular season title, accomplishing both feats with a 7-1 thumping over the visiting UPEI Panthers in a feisty game on Military Appreciation Night at the AUC. UNB moves to 20-2-3 on the season, 9 points ahead of the 16-8-2 Acadia Axemen.

The V-Reds came out flying in this one, generating the game's first 8 shots on goal. They were rewarded at 6:38 when Mark Simpson (Critchlow, Thomas) followed up on the play after the original shot was stopped and jammed in a rebound past Panthers back-up goalie Michael Giugovaz. Despite being dominated early the Panthers tied the game on just their third shot at 11:35 after UPEI's leading goal scorer Cody Payne intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and went in all alone, beating Etienne Marcoux with a backhanded shot glove side for the equalizing tally. A Panthers penalty shortly after the goal snuffed out any potential momentum and put the vaunted Varsity Reds power play to work and, like usual, they capitalized as it took only 35 seconds for Rob Mignardi (Braes, Maillet) to flip the puck in from the side of the net. UNB held a 2-1 lead after twenty minutes, out-shooting UPEI 17-7 in the period.

UNB extended their lead in the middle period with the only goal of the frame. After extended offensive zone pressure Matt Petgrave (Maillet, Suellentrop) ripped a shot from the point through traffic that hit the post, deflected off Giugovaz, and went in. The goal came at 13:05 and made it 3-1, a lead that the V-Reds would take into the locker room. Shots in the period were 12-8 for UNB.

The V-Reds blew the game open early in the 3rd period thanks to some undisciplined play from the visitors. The Panthers took a four minute penalty at the end of the 2nd period and another penalty 48 seconds into the 3rd, which resulted in a 5-on-3 goal from Cam Braes (Caissy, Clapperton) at 2:01. After a UNB penalty evened things up, Dylan Willick (Murphy, Anderson) busted down the right wing before sliding the puck between Giugovaz's legs to make it 5-1 with a 4-on-4 goal at 3:45. Jordan Murray (Braes, Maillet), with a shot from the high slot, extended the lead to 6-1 at 6:32 and then Braes (Mignardi, Clapperton) capped the outburst with his second power play goal of the period at 8:20. The goal came during a five minute power play after the Panthers RT Rice was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for contact to the head of Mike Thomas. Rice leveled Thomas with an ugly, blindside high hit in the neutral zone that clearly shook up the V-Reds forward to the point where he needed helped off the ice and never returned. UNB received two more power plays later in the period, including another two man advantage, but were unable to capitalize. However, it was a moot point by that time as the V-Reds skated to the 7-1 win. Shots in the period favoured UNB 15-3.

- Defenceman Colin Suellentrop returned to the line-up after missing a couple of games. Cam Brace served the final game of his four game suspension while Francis Beauvillier (injury), Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were also out.

- Final shots were 44-18.

- Much like the last few games, Etienne Marcoux gave up an early goal only to lock it down the rest of the way. He also produced a save of the year candidate in the 3rd period after his stretch pass attempt from the side of his net was picked off in the slot by a Panthers forward. With a wide open net to shoot at it looked like a sure goal except, in the words of @UNBHockey, Marcoux pulled a "Henderson sliding into 2nd base head first" to block the shot.

- It is starting to sound like a broken record, but once again the Varsity Reds special teams had a big night. They went 3 for 8 on the power play and also killed off all four shorthanded situations. For the season UNB is operating at 29.2% with the man advantage and 92.3% while shorthanded. They have also currently killed off 25 straight penalties.

- The Panthers took 47 out of the 51 penalty minutes handed out in the 3rd period. They had 69 penalty minutes on 16 infractions in the game compared to just 26 minutes and 9 infractions by UNB.

- UNB won 39 out of 68 face-offs. Braes was 10 out of 11 in the dot.

- For the second straight year Cam Braes was named the recipient of the "Fallen Soldier Award" for being the player of the game. Marcoux and Mignardi were the 2nd and 3rd stars, respectively.

- Attendance was 2917, which included hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

- UNB was sporting special edition "winter camo" jerseys for the occasion.

- By clinching the regular season title the Varsity Reds have guaranteed themselves a first round playoff bye as well as home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.

- With three more assists tonight Philippe Maillet has opened up a seven point lead in the conference scoring race over Moncton's Allain Saulnier.

- Elsewhere around the AUS tonight Saint Mary's stunned St. FX with five goals in the last seven minutes to emerge with a 6-2 road win and, in Wolfville, Acadia defeated Dalhousie 5-2.

- The Varsity Reds travel to Moncton tomorrow night for a match-up with the Aigles Bleus. Game time is scheduled for 7PM.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Maillet Comes Through In OT

Philippe Maillet showed why he is arguably the top player in the country tonight as he scored the game tying goal and then netted the game winning goal in overtime as the #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds snuck past the #5 ranked Acadia Axemen 2-1 at the AUC. UNB is now 19-2-3 on the season and have clinched a first round playoff bye. Meanwhile, the 2nd place Axemen fell to 15-7-2.

After a slow start that saw only one shot on goal in the first 7 minutes of the game, the Axemen were the first team on the board at 11:30. Remy Giftopoulos' shot missed wide to the far side, but when the puck bounced hard off the end boards back out to the side of the net Geoff Schemitsch was there to bang it past Etienne Marcoux. The V-Reds would pick up their play as the period went along, however Acadia would take a 1-0 lead into the intermission despite being out-shot 11-3.

The Varsity Reds found themselves in all kinds of penalty trouble in the first half of the second period. First, Mike Thomas took a four minute double minor at 6:53 and then, just 14 seconds before the man advantage was set to expire, Mark Simpson was called for slashing giving the Axemen almost 6 straight minutes of continuous power play time. The UNB penalty kill, like they have done time and time again this year, stepped up in a big way to keep the deficit at a goal. Only 30 seconds later it was the V-Reds top ranked power play that got a chance of their own and they made it count as Maillet (Murray, Braes) corralled a deflected puck at the left face-off circle and fired it into a wide open net for his 13th power play marker of the season. The score would remain tied 1-1 after 40 minutes as each team had 9 shots apiece in the period.   

Each team had a number of high quality scoring chances in the 3rd period - including a power play each - but both goalies stood their ground to send the game into overtime. The Axemen would hold the puck in the UNB zone for the first minute of the extra session before the V-Reds were able to gain control. Fortunately for the home team, it only took one opportunity to end the game. Maillet (Petgrave) gathered the puck in his own zone and picked up speed as he cut across the neutral zone and down the left side of the Axemen zone. The AUS' scoring leader went wide to shake a defender before cutting in towards the goal, lifting a forehand shot over goaltender Robert Steeves and into the top of the net just before he went tumbling into the end boards to give the V-Reds a dramatic victory. UNB held a 14-9 advantage on the shot clock in the 3rd period and had the only shot on goal in overtime.

- UNB went with the same line-up as last night as Cameron Brace, Colin Suellentrop, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were all out.

- Francis Beauvillier left the game in the 2nd period and never returned. He appeared to go into the boards awkwardly, injuring his left leg. He needed to be helped off the ice by his teammates and carried into the dressing room as he wasn't putting any pressure on his leg.

- Shots in the game were 35-21 for UNB.

- UNB was 1 for 4 on the power play. Acadia was 0 for 5.

- The V-Reds won 47 out of the 73 face-offs. Cam Braes (16 out of 20) and Mark Simpson (11 out of 14) were the standouts.

- Etienne Marcoux got his second start of the weekend. It was the first time all season UNB went with the same goalie in both weekend games. Marcoux has now allowed only five goals in his last four games.

- Maillet, Marcoux, and Steeves were named the three stars of the game.

- The Axemen almost made it 2-0 late in the first period, but had a potential goal waved off after it was determined the referee blew his whistle before the puck went in.

- Attendance was 2691.

- UNB has surrendered the first goal in nine of their last ten regular season games.

- Jordan Murray's 2nd period assist gives him 125 career points (Conference + Playoffs + Nationals), passing Luke Gallant and Mike Cavanagh for the most by a defenceman in school history.

- With his two goals tonight Maillet has a career-high 42 points (20 goals, 22 assists) on the season. According to @VRedsHckyStats, he is only the 7th player in team history to have multiple 40+ point seasons. He now has 153 career regular season points, tying Kyle Bailey for 6th all-time.

- Maillet's 13 power play goals are 6 more than anyone else in the league. He only had 8 power play goals in his first three seasons.  

- Elsewhere around the conference tonight, St. FX scored a pair of 3rd period goal to pick up a 3-2 road win in Moncton and UPEI shut-out Saint Mary's 2-0 at home. 

- UNB is back on home ice next Friday night when they host the UPEI Panthers on Military Appreciation Night. Puck drop is scheduled for 7PM. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

UNB Handles Huskies

The U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds avenged last week's loss to the Saint Mary's Huskies with a 5-2 victory tonight before a boisterous crowd on Northside Elementary School Night at the AUC. UNB improves to 18-2-3 on the season and still hold an 8 point lead over the 2nd place Acadia Axemen.

After a back and forth start that saw both teams exchange quality scoring chances it was the visitors getting on the board first when Anthony Repaci had some time and space coming down the left wing and beat Etienne Marcoux with a snap shot between the legs at 16:15. The large crowd was not disappointed for long, however, as Philippe Maillet (McIvor, Clapperton) crashed the net and banged in a rebound past Cole Cheveldave just 43 seconds later. The score would remain tied through the first twenty minutes with UNB holding a 17-6 shots on goal advantage.

The Huskies were able to regain the lead 2:54 into the 2nd period with the teams skating four-on-four. It was Repaci once again doing the honours with his second goal of the game into a wide open net. The V-Reds tied the game just under 9 minutes later with a goal that was a bit of a role reversal. Forward Mike Thomas navigated a pass from the blueline that found defenseman Matt Murphy at the far side of the net. Murphy's first shot was stopped but he followed up his own rebound and was able to lift it up and over Cheveldave on his second try. UNB took their first lead of the night with a power play goal at 16:42 after some nice passing on a rush up the ice. Chris Caissy found Philippe Halley and then Halley quickly fed Francis Beauvillier with a cross-crease pass that Beauvillier was able to tap in from the doorstep. The Varsity Reds would maintain the 3-2 advantage for the remainder of the period as they out-shot the Huskies 15-6 in the frame.

UNB added some insurance at 4:05 of the 3rd period. Matt Petgrave (Halley, Murphy) carried the puck up the ice and negotiated through a trio of defenders just inside the Huskies zone to go in all alone on Cheveldave, finishing the highlight-reel goal with a backhanded shot just under the crossbar. Christopher Clapperton put the finishing touches on the victory at 15:15 when he picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone, skated down the left side, and blasted a slap shot from the face-off circle for an unassisted goal. Shots in the period were 10-8 for UNB.

- The V-Reds played with only 5 defenceman as Colin Suellentrop was out of the line-up. Forwards Cameron Brace, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were also scratched.

- Shots in the game were 42-20 for UNB.

- Although he only faced 20 shots, Etienne Marcoux was forced to make a number of tough saves, especially early in the game. He is now 11-1-1 on the season.

- Murphy, Clapperton, and Repaci were named the game's three stars.

- Once again UNB's special teams were great. They went 1 for 4 on the power play and also killed off all 7 shorthanded situations.

- Attendance was 3374.

- The V-Reds dominated in the face-off circle, winning 52 out of 87 draws. Dylan Willick had a big night (15 out of 19) while Cam Braes wasn't far behind (12 out of 17).

- UNB has now won six straight home games against Saint Mary's, including all three this year.

- In other AUS action tonight the Dalhousie Tigers upset St. FX 3-1 in Antigonish and Acadia eked out a 2-1 road win over UPEI despite mustering a mere 13 shots on goal.

- With the X-Men's loss, UNB is on the verge of clinching a first round playoff bye. They are 13 points ahead of St. FX with 7 games remaining.

- The V-Reds are back on home ice tomorrow night when they welcome the second place Acadia Axemen into town. Game time is 7PM.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

U Sports Top Ten: V-Reds Hang On To Top Spot

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds' hold as the number one hockey team in the country became more tenuous this week as the Saskatchewan Huskies gained ground on the defending champions in the latest U Sports rankings.

The V-Reds received 8 first place votes and 134 points overall to barely edge the Huskies, who gained the 6 first place votes and 130 points after posting an impressive two game weekend sweep of the Calgary Dinos. UNB, for their part, picked up 3 out of a possible 4 points on the road against two perennial contenders in Acadia and Saint Mary's.

The Queen's Golden Gaels moved up two spots to 3rd, their highest ranking in school history. As a result, McGill and Acadia both drop a spot to 4th and 5th, respectively.

Alberta, Ryerson, Mount Royal, Concordia, and Carleton - breaking into the top ten for the first time this year - make up the rest of the rankings.

Calgary, St. FX, UQTR, and Saint Mary's also received votes.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

V-Reds Bounce Back In Big Way

The Acadia Axemen scored on their first shot of the game, but the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds responded by rattling off six unanswered goals to pick up a big 6-1 victory in a battle between the AUS' top two squads. UNB is now 17-2-3 on the season and push their lead over the Axemen to 8 points with 8 games remaining.

After the Varsity Reds generated a few good scoring chances in the game's opening minutes, it was Acadia's Boston Leier who would open the scoring at 2:45 after an end to end rush that saw him split three defenders and beat goaltender Etienne Marcoux with a backhanded shot high on the glove side. Unfortunately for Acadia, that was about as good as things would get on this night. Just 89 seconds later Mike Thomas (Critchlow, Simpson) swatted the puck out of the air after Mark Simpson's shot hit high off the glass behind the net and bounced back out front to tie the game. UNB would finally grab their first lead of the weekend at 11:42 when Randy Gazzola (Simpson, Maillet) snapped a wrist shot from the high slot that eluded traffic in front and beat Axemen goaltender Robert Steeves. The 2-1 advantage would hold up until the end of the period despite UNB having a number of high quality chances to extend the lead and out-shooting Acadia 16-4.

The Varsity Reds took control of the game during a 1:47 stretch in the early part of the 2nd period. At 5:49 Axemen defenceman Matthew Pufahl was sent off for holding and just 49 seconds later Rob Mignardi (Murray, Clapperton) picked up a rebound in front and put it between Steeve's legs for a 3-1 lead. Then at 7:21 UNB went back to the power play and this time it only took 15 seconds to convert as Jordan Murray (Braes, Clapperton) skated the puck from the blue line down to the left face-off circle before beating Steeve's five-hole with a wrist shot. The goal gave UNB a 4-1 lead and spelled the end of the night for Steeve's as he was replaced with Devin Williams. The three goal advantage would stand for the remainder of the period as the V-Reds out-shot Acadia 9-7 in the middle stanza.

After having to kill off two penalties early in the 3rd period, UNB received three consecutive power plays. The third one was the charm as Jordan Murray (Mailet, Thomas) scored his second power play goal of the night at 13:56 with a backhander from the lip of the crease. Matt Boudens (Willick, McIvor) put the finishing touches on this one at 18:46 when he redirected a point shot from just outside the crease. Shots in the period were 11-8 in favour of Acadia.

- UNB was without Cameron Brace and Stephen Anderson. Peter Trainor and Oliver Cooper were also out.

- Etienne Marcoux improves to 10-1-1 on the season. He ranks 1st in the AUS in wins, 1st in GAA (1.68) and 4th in save percentage (0.907).

- The V-Reds were 3 for 8 on the power play while Acadia was 0 for 7. UNB is 7 for 19 with the man advantage in their last two games against the Axemen.

- Christopher Clapperton (2 assists) was named the player of the game. Murray (2 PPG, 1 assist) was the 3rd star.

- Acadia won 40 out of the 74 face-offs in the game.

- Attendance was 2015.

- With his three point night, Jordan Murray now has 124 career points (Regular Season + Playoffs + Nationals). This ties Luke Gallant and Mike Cavanagh for the most by a defenceman in school history.

- Philippe Maillet now has 169 career points, pulling him into a tie for 7th on the career scoring list.

- While UNB has had their hands full with Acadia in the first half in recent years, they are 18-1-0 in post-Christmas games against the Axemen since the 2008/09 season.

- Having said that, this was only UNB's 5th win in their last 14 trips to Wolfville. They are 5-6-3 during that span.

- The 6 goals scored tonight were the V-Reds most in Wolfville since a 7-3 win on February 9th, 2008.

- In other action around the conference tonight, Moncton blew a two goal lead in the 3rd period before recovering for a 6-5 overtime win over St. FX in Antigonish. In Halifax, Saint Mary's pulled out a 3-2 overtime win over UPEI. The Huskies tied the game with only 11 seconds remaining and then won it 58 seconds into overtime.

- Next weekend the Varsity Reds return home to face the same two teams they just played. On Friday night Saint Mary's is in town and on Saturday night it is Acadia's turn. Game time is scheduled for 7PM.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Huskies Claim OT Victory

Newly acquired Aaron Berisha scored the overtime winner moments after an unsuccessful power play as the Saint Mary's came up with a 4-3 victory over the visiting University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds tonight in Halifax. UNB falls to 16-2-3 on the season, 6 points ahead of the 2nd place Acadia Axemen.

- The V-Reds never led in this one as they fell behind 2-0 in the 1st period before Christopher Caissy (Brace) pulled UNB back within a goal at 17:44 of the opening period. An early 2nd period goal by Anthony Repaci pushed the lead back to two goals, only to be answered once again by Caissy (Halley, Braes), his second of the night coming on the power play at 18:29. Matt Boudens (Beauvillier) tied the game 3-3 at 13:15 of the 3rd period.

- Shots in the game were 39-22 for UNB with period totals of 9-7. 13-3, 17-6, and 0-6.

- Alex Dubeau suffered the loss in goal.

- Stephen Anderson, Cameron Critchlow, Peter Trainor, and Oliver Cooper were all scratches tonight.

- UNB will look to salvage a win on their weekend road trip when they travel to Wolfville for a crucial contest against the Acadia Axemen. Game time is 7PM.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

News And Notes: Top 10, Maillet, Murray, Murphy, TMS, CUSN

A few mid-week tidbits as the V-Reds prepare for an important weekend in Nova Scotia:

- The Varsity Reds received 12 out of a possible 14 first place votes to once again top the U Sports men's hockey rankings, which were released yesterday. The Saskatchewan Huskies were the recipients of the other two first place nods to stay in 2nd spot. The McGill Redmen, Acadia Axemen, and Queen's Golden Gaels were the biggest risers this week, moving up three spots each to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th spots respectively. Alberta, Calgary, Ryerson, Concordia, and Mount Royal make up the rest of the top ten. The St. FX X-Men were the only other AUS team to receive votes.

- Forward Philippe Maillet has been named the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week for the second time this season. Maillet contributed 3 goals and 2 assists in a pair of wins over the weekend, giving him 37 points in 20 games thus far this season. Not only did Maillet take over the top spot in the conference scoring race, as the press release notes, he has now moved into 7th place on UNB's career scoring list.

- According to @VRedsHckyStats, with a pair of assists on Saturday night Jordan Murray now has 100 regular season points. He is only the 4th defenceman in school history to reach that plateau, joining Mike Cavanagh (113), Dave Bluteau (113), and Luke Gallant (106), and Dave Bluteau (113). His 121 career points (regular season + playoffs + Nationals) trail only Cavanagh (124) and Gallant (124) all-time.

- Rookie defenceman Matt Murphy was the focus of a recent edition of the Halifax Mooseheads Memorial Cup Memories series. Interestingly, in the trade that brought him from the Val-d'or Foreurs to Halifax it was current teammate Randy Gazzola who was going the other way.

- Victor Findlay is back with his first edition of Tuesday Morning Skate of 2017, which can now be found at the recently created Canadian University Sports Network. CUSN is an independent outlet whose aim ins to share the stories of the athletes and staff that make up Canadian athletics' best kept secret - Canadian University Sports. Although the site just launched on January 1st, there has already been a lot of great content posted. It is definitely worth a look.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Maillet Sparks V-Reds

Philippe Maillet scored a power play goal in each period and goaltender Alex Dubeau and the defense did the rest as the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds shut down the visiting Dalhousie Tigers 5-1 tonight at the AUC. UNB moves to 16-2-2 on the season and remain 7 points clear of the 2nd place Acadia Axemen.

- The V-Reds scored a pair of power play goals in the opening period to grab a 2-0 lead. At 11:28 Philippe Halley (Gazzola, Brace) got the puck all alone in front of the net and made a quick backhand to forehand move to beat goaltender Jacob Fancy. The goal came moments after he had missed a glorious opportunity when his shot dribbled just wide of the post. Maillet (Braes, Mignardi) scored his first goal of the night at 18:54 when he fired a quick wrist shot along the ice from his usual power play spot near the left face-off dot. The shots on goal in the period were 14-3 for UNB.

- The Varsity Reds scored twice more in the 2nd period to double their lead. Chris Caissy (Maillet, Suellentrop) brought the puck out from behind the net and threw it towards the goal where it deflected off of a stick or body in the crease to make it 3-0 at 3:43 before Maillet (Murray, Beauvillier) got his second power play goal of the game at 9:23 when he skated into the slot off the half-boards and beat Fancy between the legs. UNB would take a 4-0 lead to the dressing room after a period in which they out-shot the Tigers 15-3.

- Maillet (Murray, Clapperton) completed his hat-trick - his second this season at the AUC against the Tigers - at 12:37 of the 3rd period with yet another goal from the left face-off circle. This time it was courtesy of a one-timer after a cross-ice feed. With a 5-0 lead the only remaining suspense was whether the V-Reds would finish off the shut-out. Unfortunately, the Tigers spoiled the bid with a power play goal of their own after a deflected puck beat Dubeau at 14:11. That would be prove to be the final goal of the evening as UNB out-shot Dalhousie 15-13 in the period.

- Chris Caissy was back in the line-up, replacing Cameron Critchlow. Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor all remained out.

- Matt Petgrave left the game at some point and never did return as he was absent for the 3rd period.

- Shots ended up 44-19 in UNB's favour.

- The Tigers have lost all-star goaltender Corbin Boes for the remainder of the season due to a broken ankle he suffered on New Year's Eve. Despite having the unenviable task of starting his first career game at the AUC against the defending national champions, Jacob Fancy more than held his own, turning aside 39 shots and only surrendering one even strength goal.

- UNB won 37 out of  70 face-offs.

- Dalhousie had a goal waved off at the end of the first period when Jesse Lussier's shot beat Dubeau, but not the buzzer.

- After last night's playoff-like intensity, tonight's game was noticeably missing the same type of atmosphere.

- UNB was 4 for 9 on the power play. Dalhousie was 1 for 5 with the man advantage.

- Attendance was 2550.

- The game's three stars were Maillet, Randy Gazzola, and Halley.

- Before the game Etienne Marcoux and Philippe Halley were presented with this year's 'Punch' Walker Memorial Merit Awards.

- The Tigers are probably just about sick of seeing Philippe Maillet by now. He has 7 goals and 3 assists in four games against them this season. He has also added a pair of shoot-out goals.

 - Maillet has now opened up a four point cushion over Moncton's Allain Saulnier in the league's scoring race. He has an impressive 37 points (17 goals, 20 assists) in 20 games thus far.

- With a pair of assists tonight, defenceman Jordan Murray has reached the 30 point plateau for the first time in his career.

- UNB has won 20 straight home games and 21 in a row overall against Dalhousie. Their last home loss against the Tigers came almost a decade ago - a 4-3 decision on February 3rd, 2007.

- Elsewhere around the league tonight, Acadia kept pace with a 4-1 home win over Moncton and UPEI rallied for a big 4-2 home victory against St. FX.

- The Varsity Reds hit the road next weekend looking to avenge their only two regulation losses of the season. On Friday night they are in Halifax to battle Saint Mary's and then on Saturday they travel to Wolfville for a date against the Acadia Axemen. Game time for both contests is set for 7PM and they can be seen live on www.AUStv.ca.

Friday, January 6, 2017

V-Reds Prevail In OT Thriller

Mark Simpson played the role of hero as he scored a shorthanded goal with 45 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds to a 2-1 victory over the St. FX X-Men in a playoff-like game tonight at the AUC. UNB is now 15-2-2 on the season, maintaining a 7 point lead over the 12-6-1 Acadia Axemen.

After the two teams skated through a scoreless opening twenty minutes, despite the V-Reds peppering X-Men goalie Chase Marchand with 15 shots, it was the visitors getting on the board first at 10:12 of the second period. Forward Michael Clarke took a pass in the slot with his back to the net and spun around, firing the puck along the ice and between Etienne Marcoux's legs to give St. FX the 1-0 lead. UNB out-shot the X-Men 12-7 in the period, but trailed heading into the third.

As expected, the V-Reds came on strong in final period as they sought the tying goal. They were finally rewarded at 9:35 when Philippe Maillet spotted Matt Petgrave pinching in down the left side and fired a pass across the offensive zone that Petgrave snapped in. The shot appeared to fool Marchand, or he didn't see it, as the X-Men goalie hardly moved. The score would remain tied 1-1 after 60 minutes of play with UNB holding a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal in the period.

Things looked dire for the V-Reds in the 4-on-4 five minute overtime period. First, Petgrave took a delay of game penalty with only 0.8 seconds remaining in regulation and then, just 24 seconds after killing it off, UNB took a too many men on the ice penalty. However, Marcoux came up with some big saves to hold the fort, including robbing Kristopher Kontos at the side of the net early in overtime. With the second penalty winding down, rookie Mark Simpson broke up a play at the blue-line before chasing down a loose puck inside the X-Men zone. He gathered the puck and went in all alone on Marchand, beating him between the legs for the game winning goal. It was UNB's only shot on goal in the extra session compared to four for St. FX.

- Forwards Chris Caissy, Oliver Cooper, Mike Thomas, and Peter Trainor were all out of the line-up.

- Shots in the game were 43-21 for UNB.

- UNB won 38 out of 68 face-offs. Simpson (11 for 16) and Dylan Willick (10 for 15) led the way.

- Both teams were scoreless on four opportunities on the power play.

- Attendance was 2609.

- Players of the game were Marchand, Simpson, and Petgrave.

- Since St. FX ended UNB's pursuit of a perfect regular season with a 4-3 win at the AUC on February 12th, 2010, the Varsity Reds have won 14 straight regular season home games against their rivals from Antigonish.

- UNB is 31-0-1 in their last 32 regular season home games since November 28th, 2014. This includes a current streak of 20 in a row. The only blemish during that time is a 3-2 shootout loss to Acadia on October 30th, 2015.

- The V-Reds are 46-1-1 in their last 48 home games overall (exhibition + regular season + playoffs), including a perfect 13-0-0 mark so far this season. Their only loss was a 3-2 setback against ST. FX in game 1 of the AUS Finals last year.

- In other AUS action tonight the UPEI Panthers scored four goals in the 3rd period to pull away from Dalhousie 5-0 in Charlottetown while the Acadia Axemen scored four 3rd period goals of their own to pick up a big 4-1 road win over Saint Mary's.

- The Varsity Reds are back at the AUC tomorrow night when they host the Dalhousie Tigers. Game time is 7PM.