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.