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.