Saturday, March 18, 2017

V-Reds Shut Down Axemen, Earn Finals Berth

The University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds scored a goal in each period and a rode a second consecutive semi-final shut-out by Etienne Marcoux to defeat the Acadia Axemen 3-0 and advance to their third straight championship game.

- The Varsity Reds jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead after some nifty passing with Francis Beauvillier finding Chris Caissy, who then fed Stephen Anderson a cross-ice pass at the side of the net for a wrist shot into a wide open net. The goal came at 4:28 of the first period and proved to be the only goal UNB would need.

- The Axemen thought they had the tying goal with 7:07 remaining in the period, but the goal was quickly waved off without much argument after it was ruled Brett Thompson was in the crease and interfered with goaltender Etienne Marcoux.

- The V-Reds were finally able to add to their lead at 16:57 of the second period when their struggling power play, as well as Jordan Murray, both snapped out of their recent funks. With the man advantage Murray (Maillet, Braes) let go of a wrist shot from the point that skipped past goaltender Robert Steeves and into the corner of the net for a 2-0 advantage.

- The Axemen had a golden opportunity to get back into the game early in the 3rd period as Mike Thomas was assessed a 5-minute major penalty and a game misconduct for charging 3:43 into the frame. However, as they have done all season long, the V-Reds penalty kill stepped up in a huge way, limiting the Axemen to only 3 shots during the power play.

- UNB put the game away at 18:47 with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker. Philippe Maillet (Clapperton, McIvor) chased down a loose puck deep into the Axemen zone, cut towards the slot, and found the empty net to make it 3-0.

- Mike Thomas replaced Cameron Critchlow in the line-up. Cameron Brace, Oliver Cooper, and Peter Trainor all remained out.

- Shots in the game were 30-20 for the V-Reds with period totals of 5-6, 14-7, and 11-7.

- UNB went 1 for 4 on the power play, but the story of the game was their penalty killing. They held the Axemen scoreless on 7 opportunities and over 16 minutes of power play time.

- Etienne Marcoux had his best game of the postseason as he recorded his second career University Cup shut-out, previously turning the trick against Saint Mary's in last year's semi-finals. He improves to 5-0 with a 0.60 GAA  in his career at the University Cup.

- Marcoux and Axemen defenceman Geoff Schemitsch were named the player's of the game.

- The V-Reds dominated the face-off circle, winning 47 out of 72 draws. Dylan Willick (15 out of 21) and Mark Simpson (13 out of 18) both not only had big nights in the face-off dot, but also did yeoman's work while shorthanded, along with Philippe Halley and the rest of the penalty killers, in keeping the Axemen off the board.

- Attendance was a sell-out of 3374.

- With two more points today Philippe Maillet has tied Philippe Halley and Kyle Bailey for the most University Cup points in school history with 13. His 8 career assists are also tied for most all-time (with Bailey and Ryan Lindsay).

- Murray's goal was his first point of the postseason. He was held off the score sheet in four conference playoff games and in Thursday's game against Queen's. He was also held scoreless in 3 out his last 4 regular season games.

- UNB's power play had been 2 for their previous 45 prior to Murray's goal.

- This was only the second meeting between the two schools at the University Cup. UNB defeated Acadia 6-3 for their first National Championship in 1998.

- The Varsity Reds will have chance to defend their 2016 title on home-ice Sunday afternoon when they face the winner of the upcoming St. FX/Saskatchewan semi-final. Game time is scheduled for 1PM and can be seen live on Sportsnet 360. The Axemen will face the loser in the bronze medal game at 9:30AM.