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.