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.

Maillet Named MVP, Other Varsity Reds Honoured

The AUS has announced the 2016-2017 men's hockey major award winners and all-stars and the Varsity Reds are well represented.

- Forward Philippe Maillet was awarded the Kelly Trophy as most valuable player following a season in which he led the country in scoring with 23 goals and 32 assists. He is the 4th V-Red to earn this award and the first to do so twice, having also accomplished the feat in 2014-2015. Maillet will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Senator Joseph A. Sullivan trophy as the U Sports MVP.

- Maillet and Jordan Murray were both named first team all-stars for the third consecutive year. Joining them are goaltender Chase Marchand (St. FX), forwards Hunter Garlent (Saint Mary's), Jean-Francois Plante (Moncton), and defenceman Geoff Schemitsch (Acadia).

- Cam Braes and Etienne Marcoux were named second team all-stars, the first such honour for each. They are joined by forwards Eric Locke (St. FX) and Alex Saulnier (Moncton) and defencemen Matthew Pufahl (Acadia) and Jagger Dirk (St. FX).

- Defenceman Matt Murphy was named to the all-rookie team alongside goaltender Chase Marchand (St. FX), forwards Hunter Garlent (Saint Mary's), Stephen Harper (Acadia), and Bronson Beaton (Saint Mary's), and defenceman Cole MacDonald (St. FX).

- Gardiner MacDougall has been named the recipient of the Bob Boucher Trophy as coach of the year for the 5th time. He will now be the AUS nominee for the Father George Kehoe Memorial Award as the U Sports coach of the year, an award he has won twice previously (2009-2010 and 2014-2015).

- Other award winners include Saint Mary's Hunter Garlent (A.J. MacAdam Trophy as rookie of the year), Acadia's Geoff Schemitsch (Don Well Trophy as the most sportsmanlike player), and St. FX's Eric Locke (The Godfrey Award for student-athlete community service).

Monday, February 20, 2017

AUS Semi-Final: #1 UNB vs. #4 Saint Mary's

The AUS and U Sports #1 ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds will get their playoffs started this Thursday night when they welcome the AUS #4 ranked Saint Mary's Huskies to the AUC in game 1 of the best 3-of-5 semi-finals.

The Huskies are fresh off of a dramatic, hard fought three game series win over the UPEI Panthers in the quarter-finals. Rookie of the year favourite Hunter Garlent netted the series clinching goal with only 32 seconds remaining in regulation to propel Saint Mary's to the next round and a date with the V-Reds.

This series could prove to be tighter than most may predict as the Huskies were the only team to defeat UNB twice this season. However, home-ice advantage may prove to be the difference. Saint Mary's won both games in Halifax by a goal - 3-2 on November 26th and 4-3 in OT on January 13th - while UNB won each of the three games at the AUC by a comfortable margin - 5-0 on November 5th, 8-3 on December 2nd, and 5-2 on January 20th.

A few notes:

- The full series schedule is as follows:

Game 1 - Thursday, February 23th at UNB
Game 2 - Friday, February 24th at UNB
Game 3 - Monday, February 27th at SMU
Game 4 - Tuesday, February 28th at SMU (*if necessary)
Game 5 - Thursday, March 2nd at UNB (*if necessary)

- This marks the 6th playoff series between the two teams since Gardiner MacDougall became head coach.

- UNB has emerged victorious in 3 of the previous 5 series.

- UNB has won 8 out of 14 games, although the Huskies have won 6 out of the last 9.

- The V-Reds are 6-2 at the AUC and 2-4 at the Forum.

- Interestingly, the teams have combined for only 57 goals in the 14 playoff games. The average score has been 2.2 (UNB) - 1.9 (SMU).

- There have been five games that went to overtime.

- Only one of the previous series was a best 3-of-5.

- Here is the recent history:

2003: UNB defeated SMU 2 games to 0 (2-0, 3-1) in quarter-finals
2008: UNB defeated SMU 2 games to 0 (3-2 OT, 3-2 OT2) in finals
2009: SMU defeated UNB 2 games to 1 (1-5, 3-2, 5-1) in finals
2013: UNB defeated SMU 2 games to 1 (1-0 OT, 2-5, 2-0) in finals
2014: SMU defeated UNB 3 games to 1 (2-1 OT2, 2-5, 2-1 OT2, 1-0)

- The Huskies can guarantee themselves a berth at the University Cup with a series win. However, if they lose they will get another chance as they will play a series against the loser of the Acadia/St. FX to determine the conference's third entry into the tournament.

- Acadia and St. FX will follow the same schedule as UNB/SMU.

- Who do you got? Make your prediction below:

UNB/SMU - Who Wins?

UNB in 3
UNB in 4
UNB in 5
SMU in 3
SMU in 4
SMU in 5

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Huskies Eliminate Panthers, To Face V-Reds

Hunter Garlent scored with just 32 seconds remaining in regulation to help lift the Saint Mary's Huskies over the visiting UPEI Panthers 4-3 tonight in Halifax. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Panthers, who had rallied from a 3-1 3rd period deficit to tie the game late.

The Huskies advance to play the Varsity Reds in a best 3-of-5 semi-final series beginning Thursday night at the AUC. Acadia and St. FX will play in the other series.

2016-2017 By The Numbers

As the Varsity Reds await the winner of tonight's game 3 between Saint Mary's and UPEI, lets take a look at how the 2016-2017 V-Reds stacked up against other AUS and U Sports teams this year, as well as previous UNB teams.

- UNB topped the country with 25 wins, the 10th consecutive season they have won at least 20 games. They have ripped off a regular season record of 234-33-15 over the last 10 years, which is good for a .830 winning percentage and 0.856 point percentage.

- They went a perfect 15-0-0 on home ice, the first time since 2010-2011 they have been unbeaten at the AUC. The V-Reds are 127-10-4 in regular season home games over the last decade, a winning percentage of .901.

- The V-Reds won at least 10 road games for the 5th straight year.

- UNB improved on a 12-1-2 first half with a 13-1-1 second half, the 5th consecutive season they posted a better record in the 2nd half.

- The Varsity Reds led the country with 148 goals scored and 4.93 goals/game. The Ryerson Rams (4.82) and Concordia Stingers (4.21) were the only two teams within a goal per game of UNB. Acadia was the next closest AUS team with 111 goals scored.

- UNB has now led the AUS in scoring in 8 straight seasons.

- This was the most prolific scoring UNB team since they put up 5.11 goals per game in 2009-2010.

- UNB outscored the opposition 79-19 at the AUC this year.

- The V-Reds got better as the game went along as they out-scored teams 36-20 in the 1st period, 49-22 in the 2nd period, and a remarkable 58-16 in the 3rd period. The 3rd period was UNB's most dominant period since they held a 61-17 advantage in the 2nd period in 2009-2010.

- The V-Reds played in 8 overtime games and won 5 of them this year. Both are their most in at least the last 11 seasons.

- UNB led the country with a goals against average of 1.90, edging York (2.00). This was their best since a 1.54 mark in 2010-2011.

- They have paced the AUS in goals allowed for 3 straight years - and 9 out of the last 10.

- UNB's +87 goal differential was by far the best in the country. Ryerson was next at +60.

- The Varsity Reds led the country with an average of 38.2 shots per game, just ahead of McGill's 37.6. It was their best season in this regard since averaging 39.5/game in 2008-2009.

- UNB was held below 30 shots only twice all season - November 4th against Acadia (27) and November 12th against Dalhousie (29). They went over 40 shots on 14 occasions.

- They also led the country in allowing only 19.3 shots per game, the first time they have held their opponents under 20 per game. The next closest team was Mount Royal, who surrendered an average of 25.7 shots per game.

- The V-Reds only gave up more than 30 shots in one game this season - 33 in the second game of the season on October 8th against UPEI. That game also marked the only time all year they were out-shot in a game (33-31).

- UNB's shooting percentage of 12.9% was their highest since 2009-2010 (13.6%).

- The V-Reds outscored teams 93-42 at even strength.

- They led the country in power play goals (51), opportunities (192), and percentage (26.6%). Saskatchewan ranked 2nd in goals with 35 while Concordia was 2nd in effectiveness at 24.5%.

- This was UNB's best year with the man advantage since they converted at 29.1% in 2007-2008.

- By comparison, UNB had scored 53 power play goals in the previous two years combined (in 292 opportunities).

- For the 3rd straight season, the V-Reds only allowed a single shorthanded goal.

- UNB ranked 1st in the AUS and 2nd in the country in penalty killing at 89.3%. Only Carleton (90.4%) was better. This is their best mark since 2010-2011 (90.5%).

- The V-Reds had the 3rd most shorthanded situations in the the AUS - and country - with 169.

- It appears the AUS is still being called tighter than anywhere else as the conference made up the top 5 most penalized teams in the country. By comparison, Queen's was only shorthanded 74 times this year.

- They were tied for 9th in the country with 4 shorthanded goals scored.

- UNB did not allow an empty net goal for the 2nd straight year. They have only given up 3 in the last 8 years.

- Their save percentage of .899 was the lowest in the last 5 years. Although it ranked 2nd in the AUS, it was only 19th in the country. York led the way at .928.

- Having said that, UNB led the AUS in shutouts for the 10th time in 11 seasons with 3.

- UNB once again led the AUS and country in attendance, averaging 2436 fans per game. This is the highest since drawing 2518/game in 2012-2013.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

V-Reds Wrap Up Season With A Win

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds concluded another very successful regular season with an entertaining 3-1 victory over the visiting UPEI Panthers tonight at the AUC. UNB has now won nine straight games and finishes their first 30 game season in 1st place with a record of 25-2-3, including a perfect 15-0-0 at home. The Panthers head into the playoffs in 5th place on the heels of an 11-15-4 season.

UNB stifled their visitors in the opening period, out-shooting the Panthers 10-1 and grabbing a 1-0 lead. At 4:16 Christopher Clapperton spotted Philippe Maillet flying down the left wing and found the nation's leading scorer with a cross-ice saucer pass. Maillet had a lane to the net and all kinds of time to skate in and fire a wrist shot from the face-off circle past Panthers goalie Connor Wilkinson. Cam Braes had the other assist on the goal.

The Panthers responded with a much better period in the 2nd, holding a 14-13 shot advantage, but it was the Varsity Reds extending their lead at the 7:07 mark. Cam Critchlow came out of a scramble at the side of the net with the puck and found himself all alone in front. His shot was stopped but Mark Simpson followed the play and nudged the rebound just over the goal line for a 2-0 lead, which they would take into the 3rd period.

The V-Reds added an insurance goal 6:40 into the 3rd period when Randy Gazzola got the puck after a Stephen Anderson face-off win and navigated a low wrist shot through traffic that beat Michael Giugovaz, who entered the game after Wilkinson appeared to pull something while making a save earlier in the period. The Panthers were given some life at the mid-point of the period when they received a four minute power play and they were able to convert just 28 seconds into it to cut the deficit to 3-1. Sam Aulie took a pass up the middle and split the defense, going in all alone and beating Etienne Marcoux high glove-side to get UPEI on the board. UNB managed to kill off the back half of the penalty and two Panthers penalties in the final 6+ minutes essentially ended any hopes of a comeback. The V-Reds out-shot UPEI 16-9 in the period.

- Rob Mignardi was back in the line-up while Cameron Brace, Matt Boudens, Mike Thomas, and Peter Trainor were all out.

- Mignardi's return was short-lived, however. He left the game in the 2nd period and never returned after taking a hard hit in the neutral zone from former St. Thomas Tommie J.C. Campagna. Campagna received a 2 minute penalty for contact to the head and a 10 minute misconduct.

- Shots were 39-24 for UNB.

- After getting next to no action in the 1st period, Etienne Marcoux came up big over the final 40 minutes. Among his 23 saves on the night were a number of big stops, including a couple off of odd-man rushes.

- UPEI was 1 for 5 on the power play while UNB went scoreless on 6 attempts.

- UNB won 44 out of 68 face-offs.

- Attendance was 2213.

- Marcoux, Gazzola, and Aulie were the game's three stars.

- Before the game Jordan Murray was honoured for recently becoming the highest scoring defenceman in UNB history. Rob Mignardi was named the recipient of the Brian Johnson Family Scholarship.

- After dropping their first game to the Panthers this season (4-3 in a shootout), the V-Reds won the last four contests by a combined score of 19-5.

- UNB has had at least a nine game regular season winning streak in four straight seasons.

- For the 10th straight year the V-Reds have won their home season finale.

- This is the 3rd time in the last 10 years UNB has hit the 25 win plateau. They won 26 in 2007-2008 and 27 in 2009-2010. Of course, those were both in 28 game schedules.

-  The last time the V-Reds had a perfect home regular season record was in 2010-2011 when they went 14-0-0. They are 28-0-1 at the AUC in regular season games over the last two seasons.

- In other AUS games tonight Saint Mary's defeated Dalhousie 4-1 and Acadia won a wild 8-5 affair over St. FX in Wolfville.

- The final AUS standings look like this:

UNB: 25-2-3 = 53 points
ACA: 20-8-2 = 42
SFX: 16-12-2 = 34
SMU: 15-14-1 = 31
UPEI: 11-15-4 = 26
UDM: 10-17-3 = 23
DAL: 8-19-3 = 19

- UNB and Acadia will receive 1st round playoff byes while St. FX/Moncton and Saint Mary's/UPEI will battle in the best-of-3 quarter-finals. Interestingly, UNB and Acadia were the only two AUS teams to outscore their opposition this season.

- The Varsity Reds next games will take place at the AUC on Thursday, February 23rd and Friday, February 24th in games 1 and 2 of the best-of-5 semi-finals. They will face the lowest ranked remaining team, either Saint Mary's, UPEI, or Moncton.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Varsity Reds Work Overtime In Moncton

Although they dominated much of the game, it took a Jordan Murray overtime goal for the #1 ranked University of New New Brunswick Varsity Reds to finally put away the Moncton Aigles Bleus 2-1 tonight in Moncton. The V-Reds improve to 24-2-3 on the season while Moncton is 10-17-2 and now three points up on Dalhousie for the final playoff spot with two games left for the Tigers and one for Moncton.

- Moncton struck first on the power play with four seconds remaining in the 1st period thanks to Jean-Francois Plante's nation-leading 28th goal of the season.

- Christopher Clapperton (Braes, Murray) tied the game at 12:03 of the 2nd period when he went down on one knee for a one-timer from the left face-off circle.

- Murray (Braes, Maillet) won the game 1:44 into the extra session with a bullet from the left boards into the top corner.

- Francis Beauvillier and Oliver Cooper were back in the line-up. Cameron Brace, Rob Mignardi, Mike Thomas, and Peter Trainor were all out.

- Shots were 37-12 for UNB with period totals of 9-7, 12-2, 14-3, and 2-0.

- UNB was 0 for 5 on the power play. Moncton was 1 for 7.

- Alex Dubeau didn't get much action but did what he needed to do to pick up the win in his third start in four games.

- Moncton held a slight 30-29 edge in face-offs.

- Attendance was 762.

- UNB won all five meetings between the two teams this season, outscoring Moncton 35-7.

- The Varsity Reds play their final game of the regular season at the AUC on Saturday night against the UPEI Panthers.

News And Notes: Top 10, Critchlow, Maillet, 2007 Champs, TMS, Universiade, Think Pink

Some items of note as the Varsity Reds prepare to face the Aigles Bleus tonight in Moncton:

- UNB was once again the unanimous number one ranked team in the country in the latest top 10 rankings. The Varsity Reds claimed all 15 first place votes and 150 points to earn top billing for the 13th consecutive week. The Saskatchewan Huskies remained at #2 while McGill and Ryerson flipped positions with the Redmen now 3rd and the Rams 4th. Making up the rest of the top ten are the Acadia Axemen, Alberta Golden Bears, Concordia Stingers, Calgary Dinos, Queen's Golden Gaels, and York Lions. St. FX was the only other AUS team to receive votes.

- Cameron Cricthlow has been named the latest recipient of the UNB Varsity Reds/Papa John's Pizza male Athlete of the Week after arguably his best weekend of the season. On Friday night the V-Reds captain had two assists, including helping set up the eventual game winning goal, in a 5-3 win over St. FX and then he netted his 3rd goal of the season in Saturday's 6-4 victory against Dalhousie.

- Philippe Maillet was announced as the UNB Varsity Reds/Valley Graphics male Athlete of the Month for January. The V-Reds went 7-0-1 in the month thanks in large part to Maillet's 4 goals and 11 assists. The 4th year native of Terrebonne, Quebec continues to lead the country in scoring by a considerable margin as his 53 points are 12 more than Hunter Garlent (Saint Mary's) and Anthony De Luca (Concordia).

- It has been announced that the 2006-2007 CIS championship team will be honoured during this year's University Cup. Several members of that team - who helped bring home UNB's second national title with a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over Moncton - will return to Fredericton and be on hand for an on-ice ceremony in between periods of the evening game on Thursday, March 16th.  

- Victor Findlay talks U Sports playoffs in his latest edition of Tuesday Morning Skate.

- After dropping a 4-1 decision to eventual gold medalists Russia in the semi-finals, Team Canada claimed a bronze medal at the Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan with a 4-3 victory over the Czech Republic this morning.

- The Varsity Reds play their final regular season game this Saturday night against UPEI at the AUC and it is also 'Think Pink' weekend, which helps raise awareness and money for breast cancer. Click here for more information about the events taking place around campus all weekend long.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

V-Reds Escape With Victory

For the third time this season the last place Dalhousie Tigers and the top ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds went down to the wire, and for the third time it was the defending University Cup champions coming out on top, including a 6-4 win tonight in Halifax in a game that was tied in the third period. UNB extends their winning streak to 7 games and are now 22-2-3 on the season while the Tigers remain two points behind Moncton for the last playoff spot with a record of 8-17-3.

UNB jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first half of the 1st period thanks to goals by Cam Braes (Maillet, Petgrave) on a tip-in at 5:16 and Stephen Anderson (Caissy, Boudens), with a wrist shot from the slot, at 9:35, but the Tigers would convert on each of their first two power play opportunities - at 11:08 and 17:44 - to square things back up before the end of the frame.

In the 2nd period the V-Reds once again took a two goal lead. Maillet (Braes, Clapperton) finished off a 3-on-2 rush to make it 3-2 at 5:36 and Mark Simpson (Braes, Maillet) deflected in a power play marker at 15:22. It looked like UNB had complete control of the game when they received a power play shortly after making it 4-2, however it was the Tigers who grabbed the momentum with a shorthanded goal at 16:59 to head into the dressing room down only a goal.

Dalhousie completed their second two goal comeback of the game just 1:51 into the 3rd period to knot the game at 4-4. Philippe Halley (Mignardi, Gazzola) would then score what proved to be the game-winning tally at 12:41 - just 20 seconds after he came out of the penalty box - when he got the puck all alone in front of the net and snapped a quick shot past goaltender Joe Gladnick. Cameron Critchlow (Gazzola) capped what was a very productive weekend for him with the game-sealing, empty net goal at 18:57.

- UNB went with the same line-up as last night, meaning Francis Beauvillier, Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were all out.

- Cameron Brace left the game with what looked to be a lower body injury and never returned.

- Shots in the game were 40-23 for the V-Reds. Period totals were 14-9, 14-7, and 12-7.

- Etienne Marcoux was back in net, stopping 19 out of 23 shots.

- The Varsity Reds had an uncharacteristically bad night on special teams. They went 1 for 6 with the man advantage, gave up two power goals in five chances, and surrendered their first shorthanded goal of the season.

- The game's three stars were Fabian Walsh, Maillet, and Phil Gadoury.

- UNB won 43 out of 76 face-offs.

- Attendance was 200.

- Halley's goal was his first in 8 games.

- UNB won all five match-ups with Dalhousie this season and are currently on a 22 game winning streak over the Tigers.

- The V-Reds have given up 4 goals only 6 times this season and half of those have been against Dalhousie. The Tigers scored 14 goals against UNB this season, more than any other team thus far. This despite ranking last in the conference in scoring with 66 goals, 14 behind the next lowest team.

- After giving up only 11 goals in the first 7 games of the 2nd half, UNB has now given up 10 in their last 3 games.

- In other AUS action Sam Fioretti scored a natural hat-trick to lead Acadia over visiting Moncton 4-1 as the Axemen clinched a first round playoff bye and St. FX doubled up UPEI 4-2 in Antigonish.

- The Varsity Reds are back on the road on Wednesday night when they travel to Moncton for a date with the Aigles Bleus. They are back on home ice next Saturday when they wrap up the regular season with a game against UPEI. Game time for both is set for 7PM.

Friday, February 3, 2017

UNB Fends Off X-Men

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds used a balanced attack and contributions from all four lines to wear down the St. FX X-Men in a gritty 5-3 road win tonight in Antigonish. The V-Reds 6th straight victory moves them to 22-2-3 on the season while the X-Men fall to 14-11-2 on the year.

The game could not have started any better for the Varsity Reds as Chris Caissy (Gazzola, Cricthlow) picked up a loose puck along the boards just inside the X-Men zone and found himself with a clear path to the net. Caissy broke in alone on goaltender Chase Marchand and backhanded a low shot into the far corner to give the visitors the lead just 14 seconds into the game. The game would grind to a screeching halt shortly after as the penalties started to mount. After five penalties within a 15 second span put the teams four-on-four St. FX responded to tie the game - on a delayed penalty, naturally - when Michael Clarke one-timed a cross-slot pass from just below the face-off circle that beat Alex Dubeau glove side. Just 81 seconds, with the teams still playing four players aside, the X-Men struck again when the reigning AUS player of the year Eric Locke took a centering pass from behind the net and got a couple of whacks at the puck from the lip of the crease before finally getting it past Dubeau. A potential turning point in the game came at 8:56 of the period when UNB took two penalties on the same play, giving St. FX a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. The V-Reds escaped with the one goal deficit intact and at 13:06 they were awarded a power play of their own. It only took 30 seconds to tie the game as Cam Braes rang the puck off the red iron from the slot, only to have Philippe Maillet fire in the rebound for his 21st goal and 50th point of the season. The game would remain deadlocked at two through the first twenty minutes with UNB holding an 11-9 shot advantage.

The V-Reds would get a great chance to take the lead in the latter part of the second period as they were awarded a two man advantage for 74 seconds, but they failed to generate anything significant on the power play. They did eventually regain the lead at 18:05 after a great forechecking shift to keep the puck in the offensive zone resulted in Mark Simpson batting a Dylan Willick rebound out of the air from in in close. UNB took a 3-2 lead into the intermission as both teams had 8 shots on goal in the period.

Like usual, the X-Men would not go away quietly and they tied the game back up three minutes into the 3rd period on the power play. Cameron Brace was sent off for a questionable penalty after an X-Men defender lost his balance and went hard into the boards and just 12 seconds later freshman forward Matt Needham took a nice cross-ice pass and made no mistake in roofing it up and over and sliding Dubeau. The V-Reds responded 2:32 later after some nice work down low. Cameron Critchlow dug the puck out from behind the net, spun around a defender, and found Rob Mignardi in the slot. Mignardi's shot was stopped by Marchand, but Dylan Willick was on the doorstep to bang home the rebound. UNB killed off a penalty just after the goal and then started to assert themselves the rest of the game, really taking it to the home side and controlling the play. Christopher Clapperton supplied the dagger at 17:27 after it looked the puck was going to be cleared, only to have it bounce off an X-Men player and back into the high slot where Clapperton wasted no time in spinning around and firing it past an off-guard Marchand. The X-Men pulled their goalie immediately after the goal and then received a power play with 1:36 to play, but with the exception of a great post to post save by Dubeau on the delayed penalty they weren't able to generate much until time expired. Shots in the period were 16-7 for the V-Reds.

- Cameron Brace returned from his suspension and was back in the line-up. Francis Beauvillier, Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor were scratched.

- UNB received a major scare in the first period when Jordan Murray had to be helped off the ice with what appeared to be a lower body injury after he got tied up with an X-Men player and went down awkwardly into the boards. He would later return and played the rest of the game without issue.

- Shots were 35-24 in the game for UNB.

- Alex Dubeau started his second straight game in goal and turned in a solid performance after giving up two quick goals. He is now 9-1-2 on the season with a 2.41 GAA and 0.886 save percentage.

- Both teams went 1 for 7 on the power play.

- UNB won 36 out of 68 face-offs.

- Mignardi, Michael Clarke, and Willick were named the game's three stars.

- Maillet becomes the 10th different player in UNB history to hit the 50 point plateau. It has been done 12 times previously with Hunter Tremblay turning the trick on three occasions, including being the last V-Red to do it when he notched 57 points in 2009-2010.

- The Varsity Reds went 4-0-1 against St. FX this season.

- Attendance was 867.

- The UPEI Panthers dealt Dalhousie a big blow to their playoff hopes with a 6-2 victory over the
 Tigers in Halifax. Dalhousie remains two points behind Moncton with UNB coming to town for a 7PM puck drop tonight.

- At the Winter Universiade Team Canada has moved on to the semi-finals after a 5-2 victory over Latvia this morning. They will now face Russia on Tuesday morning with a berth in the Gold Medal game on the line.