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.